Beth Markel

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I am a fifth generation quilter, and have a deep love and respect for the art of quilting, whether it is traditional, paper piecing, appliqué, contemporary or whole cloth designs. That being said, however, I am also a textile and fabric artist, engaged in dying my own fabric, painting on fabric, beading, adding antique buttons, pieces of old lace, felt, tulle, photos, and even bits of an old tape measure that belonged to my Grandma Broyles. Recently, I have experimented with gel glue resist, discharge paste, and glorious vats of indigo.  I have a background in photography, but my first love was pottery/clay.  Consequently, I believe the textile arts are a happy marriage of visual and tactile.  Art should appeal to more than just one of our senses.

When I work, I often let the fabric “speak” to me and make choices and follow ideas in a completely intuitive manner. Sometimes I work with an idea of what I want the finished piece to say or to represent, and use fabric to reach that goal.  I look more and more each day for what inspires creativity, not only in myself, but in others as well.  Since I am not locked into a style, but rather have a voice, I can experiment and expand as I wish, without preconceived expectations. This allows me great freedom to create!  I also like to be challenged, so am always looking for new ways to express myself with fabric, whether my own hand-dyes, commercial cottons, batiks, or African flat folds which hold glorious color and designs of their own.

In Vino Veritas, Leslie Patterson Award for Best Use of Color, Art Quilt Elements 2014

In Vino Veritas, Leslie Patterson Award for Best Use of Color, Art Quilt Elements 2014

          As with most artists, I would like my art to reflect my emotions and experiences, but also be evocative to the viewer, that they might explore their own emotions or experiences with a different perspective. The longer I work with fabric and textiles, the more I believe there is something so elemental in being able to touch, feel, express, and create with your hands.  It’s a true expression of who we are as individuals.  Elements of early work are based on the journal I kept while my sister was doing battle with leukemia, so there are elements of hope, sadness, anger, and grief, all of which were necessary for me to work through as an artist.

My quilts are bold, whimsical, colorful, funny, and eclectic.  They have been published and exhibited nationally and internationally, for which I am both humbled and grateful.

I also teach a number of classes, from Beginning Quilting to Art Journaling, so feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this further.  Few things are more exciting than to see someone’s creativity spark to life for the very first time!