A multitude of friends, artists and family gathered at Archway Gallery on June 18 to celebrate the life of Peggy Sexton who died unexpectedly after surgery in April. Peggy was a long-time WiVLA member, twice a member artist at Archway Gallery, and a member of the Houston Area Fiber Artists and the Surface Design Association. As we entered Archway, there was a table of Peggy’s fabrics with the note from Alice, Peggy’s daughter:
“As many of you know Mom loved to collaborate with other artists, writers and performers of all stripes. We’ve put together a table of pieces, parts, scraps, and even rejects from her studio. We encourage you to sort through and take something to incorporate into your own pieces, therefore continuing the fine art of collaboration.”
Throughout the gallery were pieces of her magical and whimsical mixed media fiber art – a present reminder of Peggy’s wit, good humor, and professionalism. All around us were memories of Peggy – her family, her friends, and her precious work.
Many of us own pieces of Peggy’s work – boogle houses, kimonos, fiber art – and at least two WiVLA members, Cookie Wells and Jo Zider, came to the memorial celebration wearing Sexton creations. It is easy to remember her recent works in the WiVLA “Inspired by Her Quote” exhibition in March 2016 entitled “Let Them Eat Cake” with the luscious slice of fabric cake and the gorgeous white slipper reminiscent of Marie Antoinette – and once again Peggy’s fine sense of irony and humor. We also remember the dolls from the exhibition “Windows” done in collaboration with Diana Weeks and entitled “Mothers, Daughters & Dates.”
Let Them Eat Cake
Peggy had just submitted the collaboration “Natural Diversity” that she, Maggie Baldwin, and Shirl Riccetti created. Maggie said recently, “As much as Peggy enjoyed collaborating with others and making her art, she truly believed in supporting other artists’ endeavors and shows. One of our last conversations centered on that [topic], and she was hoping to see more of this by the members of WIVLA. So, please, whenever you can, be present at a show for your friends and fellow artists!”
It is impossible to think of Peggy without mentioning her service to WiVLA. She served on the boards of four WiVLA presidents and during 2015-2016 served as Visual Arts Co-Chair with Jo Zider. She was often a thoughtful listener, and we learned quickly that when she spoke, her wisdom and professionalism were something we should heed. She always urged us to take a harder look at what we wanted to accomplish and to create a higher standard for the organization.
There was also the intrepid Peggy running about in her red Miata never complaining about her trek from her home and studio in Rosharon. Several times annually she and her Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Natalie, would drive to Georgia to see her daughter Alice often stopping on the way to attend shows (like the detour to one in New Jersey!) before arriving in Georgia. When Alice broke her leg several years ago, Peggy dropped everything and was on the road to help as long as she was needed. In the summer of 2007 she attended the Women’s International Motorcycle Association in Turingen, East Germany, sharing the trip with Alice who was president of the USA division. On her return she regaled us with stories of riding through Germany on her motorcycle.
The descriptions of Peggy are all in the same vein: “thoughtful, gracious, kind, sweet” and, “always left me with fond feelings,” and finally from Jo Zider who declares, “How much admiration I have for Peggy’s joy of life and creativity!” Our loss is profound. We offer our sympathy to her daughter Alice Sexton, her son, James (Bucky) Sexton and to Frank Williams. We will remember Peggy’s deep and welcoming heart and sweet spirit as long as we have memory.
Read about our past featured member Jo Zider.