​​​​​Artists at Work in the Heart of Matlacha


Gayle McGrath

Barn Quilts, Scrimshaw

©2022 WildChild Art Gallery All Rights Reserved


​Barn Quilts

 Gayle is originally from St. Louis, MO but has lived in Cape Coral for 40+ years. She married her high school love, Kevin, and has two sons who were born and raised in Cape Coral. She has a Commercial Art Degree and has always used her art skills in all aspects of their life and business. These days, Kevin and Gayle enjoy boating, traveling, and having their 5 grandchildren living nearby, which means of course there are always art projects in the craft room!​ 

Traveling in the Midwest, Gayle fell in love with ‘barn quilts’.  The bold geometric designs decorate the exterior of a barn and gives character to the building. Most northern barn quilts are painted on wood.  However, living in Florida and understanding the harsh humid environment, she chooses to hand paint her designs on polymetal to withstand the harsh FL elements.  What started as a hobby has now become her newest passion.  Her artwork can enhance any outdoor (or indoor) space - adding spark to a lanai, poolside, or home front.  Whether a customer prefers a tropical décor, a patriotic décor, or rustic she is determined to help them visualize the perfect sign to

represent their life! 

Gayle and her husband Kevin started traveling with their jewelry business in 1976.  They sold Indian Jewelry and Gayle’s hand etched ‘Scrimshaw’ at events around the country. 

Scrimshaw is an art developed by whalers over 150 years ago.  Whaling ships leaving New England would be at sea for months at a time.  The Seamen would spend their idle time etching scenes of their ships on discarded whales teeth.  

The art has almost disappeared. Gayle does the work by hand in it’s ancient tradition. Through the 1980’s and 90’s Gayle created 100’s of pieces of Scrimshaw. The ivory would be fashioned into earrings, necklace charms, knife handle, etc.  She was written up in ‘Knives 87-94’ and has received awards for work done on custom knives.  The work was all done on pre-ban, legally imported elephant ivory or fossilized walrus ivory.