Beth Markel

Autumn Inspiration Continues…

Posted on September 17, 2012 by Beth Markel

As the cool night air becomes more distinctly brisk, I continue to ponder what inspires me.  Perhaps it’s because Michigan winters tend to be very long, and very gray, just downright dreary in fact, but I like to have new and/or inspirational things on my design wall to keep me motivated.  It’s easy to fall into a rut, just do what’s “comfortable” to do, and not challenge yourself.  One of the reasons I broke away from patterns was simply that I did NOT want to do another 9-patch, Ohio Star, or New York Beauty, as beautiful as those quilts can be.  I may use patterns in a piece, but I am not locked into using them.  As an artist, a teacher, a wife, and a mother, I never want to become stagnant!  I want to think about the work I’m doing – the art I’m creating – and what it means to me.

Learning to work in a series has been truly eye-opening for me, and going into fall/winter with lots of ideas to expand the line series opens doors in my imagination.  It is important for each of us, wherever we are on our artist journey, to either push ourselves or remain undeveloped, expansion of ideas vs. contraction of new work, inspiration vs. ennui.

Long, long before I began sewing, I was a gardener and photographer, so it’s pretty easy to see from whence my inspiration often comes.  There’s an old hymn called “In the Garden,” and I often sing or hum it when I’m working, especially puttering around the garden as it gets ready to rest for the winter.  My Grandma Broyles often hummed ‘The Old, Rugged Cross” when quilting, so I come by this honestly!  These are some of the last blooms around my house, unless we have a remarkably warm September or October.  The grapes are at a family friend’s house, and I love their color, shape, and texture.  What inspires you?  Color, whether subtle or bold?  Texture?  Lines, like the vines around the grapes themselves; or Shapes, like the curves in the grapes or last blog’s blueberries?  What inspires you?



 White Moonflowers begin to bloom as the evening approaches – just the opposite of Morning Glories… their creamy, white, velvety texture against the lush green leaves inspires me.  What inspires you?


I will cut the Hydrangea blooms and dry them for my dining room table all winter long… What inspires you?


Love the bright pinks, and pink/purples – hanging Fuschias are Hummingbird favorites… What inspires you?


Happy Sewing!




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