Kuhn/Walls Studio: A Love of Color

Two artists in the family. Allegra Kuhn has a long history with fibers and textiles tackling weaving, hooking, knitting, crochet, sewing, and quilting. These days, she is focused on hooking. Peter Walls is a painter who has always experimented with fibers. He has been a decorative painter for 20 years and has done some shibori, rag rug weaving, surface design, fabric manipulation and dyeing. Allegra taught him to weave and he has taken off from there. Lately, he has been painting the weavings. Under the name “Two Itinerant Artisans,” they continue a long tradition in Maine traveling to clients’ homes to paint walls, furniture, or household items with murals and hand painted decorative finishes.

They have a mutual love of color, believing color “makes things come alive.”

The couple recently moved from Vermont deciding to “do something” with the old Customs House in Stockton Springs that was acquired years ago. Now, they are working to revive the building and the very town through the arts: their own, the work of others, and the work of artists they are discovering in Maine.

The building—currently referred to as “The Gallery at 189 Main”—hosts their studios and home upstairs, and a gallery with studio downstairs. Because the building is hard to heat, they have summer/winter studios. Upstairs, the rooms are filled with his paintings of birds, skies, fish, and the natural world along with her fabrics, yarns, sewing and cutting machines, and works-in-progress. His counter is full of paints and brushes; hers, textiles and the occasional cat.

Downstairs, I saw the last of a “pop-up” show. The gallery was open for a few weeks showing their own work and the work of others, and a lively party was thrown to entice the community. They have befriended the chef/owners of The Hichborn, a nearby restaurant who catered the event and exhibited some of his own paintings.

This year, the couple will be busy getting work out there! They will participate in group and solo shows at Leslie Curtis Designs, in Camden; Local Color, Belfast; Maine Farmland Trust, Belfast; Sam Shaw Gallery, Northeast Harbor; The University of Maine Hutchinson Center Fiber Show; Maine Fiberarts, Fall 2019; and Betts Gallery, Belfast. They will also take part in Makers’ Market studio shop, a curated collection of locally-produced craft and fine art in Brooksville open from May through October.

Apart from this, Allegra is coordinating the Harvest Hook-in to be held this September 21-22 in Brewer. At this event, rug hookers and fiber enthusiasts converge for conversation, vendors, a special luncheon, and a slide talk by Maine Fiberarts’ director on “Art Studios and Hooking in Maine.”

The couple intends to launch classes in rug hooking, decorative painting, weaving and more in the months ahead and to occasionally host guest artists teaching. Stop by if you’re heading through Stockton Springs. A visual feast awaits you.

—photography and text, Christine Macchi

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