Beth Markel

Community Art Project

Posted on July 17, 2014 by Beth Markel

Not all art that I do is with textiles.  That’s probably true for all of us.  How many of us started off with watercolors, oil paint, a camera, or a 9” metal loom for making hot pads?  Well this has been a week of working way outside my comfort zone and using a 2’ x 2’ wooden square to become part of a community art project, an outdoor “quilt” that will be 12’W x 16’H.  The parameters were fairly broad, as it could be anything from traditional quilt patterns, to whatever you wanted to paint that represents our little hamlet.

I chose a gnarled tree because our property, neighborhood, and even parks have really beautiful, mature trees.  As a kid, I spent a lot of time climbing trees, proving to my brothers that I wasn’t a sissy.  As an adult, I think it’s entirely possible that Treebeard lives about a mile from my house.  As a community, we planted 3 Dawn Redwoods at our municipal building last fall, and while never getting quite as large as the California Sequoia Redwoods, these will be 3 large, gorgeous trees with undulating trunks and branches that grow practically horizontally from the curvy trunk.  I wish they had been planted 20 years ago!

The medium is acrylic paint, something I have very little experience with – obviously!  The block isn’t quite done, as I free-handed the lettering and have touch-up to do, along with something in the bottom half of the white circle, but here it is so far…


In the word-herding process, I also collected words from a couple of the township meetings, and included 3 in the square…family, community, history.

Speaking of word-herding, I’ve also had other quilters send me their “words of the day” in their own art journey, and it’s been a lot of fun finding out what other words jump out at people…


Catapult           equinox            gospel              inspiring

Bloom              Gravity             Movement                Dahlias

Substantially   microfiber        tuberous begonia

Sunshine         tribal                precious           memorabilia

Biblical            sympathy         chartreuse       vermillion

I think what continues to be the most important discovery for me in word-herding throughout the days and weeks is living totally in the moment.  Listen.  Paying attention, close attention, to what others say has led to some really remarkable, heartfelt and interesting discussions.  If you haven’t tried it yet, just tuck a piece of paper or your phone in your pocket, then jot down/record words that jump out at your as you go through your day.  In doing so, you might find, like I am, that being very present in the moment, life is enriched.

I’ll take a photo and post when the wooden “quilt” is together~ really looking forward to seeing the variety of blocks that will be coming together!

 Live in the moment.  Think outside the box.






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