Beth Markel

Welcome to my Blog

Posted on June 2, 2012 by Beth Markel

Welcome fellow quilters,

I am new to blogging, but have been reading & writing a long time, so hope this goes well!  As you may know, I’m an avid quilter and love all things fabric…I’m very blessed to have a dozen of my Grandma Broyles’ quilts, which are true works of art.  She was always cutting one quilt, piecing another, and quilting a third.  She was having an off-day if she was getting fewer than 16 stitches-per-inch.  I also have extremely consistent stitches…thanks to my sewing machine!  While I greatly admire those who quilt by hand, if I did so, I would only finish about 1 quilt every two years.  I have finished 13 quilts in the past year, two of which are major works, the Joie De Vivre at approximately 5’ square (quilted by the lovely and talented Ruth McCormick), and the Moments of Clarity piece at 74”w x 55” h.  The Moments of Clarity piece weighs a ton, and quilting it on my home machine was a little like what wrestling a bear must be – fun, but I wouldn’t want to do it everyday!  I am working on the second in this series, blocks of color with large, calm, contemplative spaces with very dense quilting.

For me, working on a series has clarified my understanding of how to study a topic in quilting.  My line studies continue as I explore “lines,” much like a painter studies their line work when learning to draw.  I do not use rulers when doing these line studies, as I was truly inspired by the Gee’s Bend quilters, and find I like the “organic” feel of these quilts.  My line studies also have no boundaries as far as fabrics, pattern, size, or what I want my finished piece to look like.  What this means is that I can walk into my sewing room, being strip-piecing fabrics that are pleasing together, and just begin sewing and cutting until I see something I like… I started by using scraps from other quilts…and since I was just following my own eye, what happened for me was FREEDOM.

Will I continue to use patterns – YES, as it keeps my precision piecing strong, but I am not locked into using a  pattern, which frees up my creativity…and that I like very much.  I am also studying with the extraordinary Nancy Crow, and have completed the first four of her 13 classes.  A workshop with Nancy is a must if you want to really learn about art, fine art, line & shape, figure and ground.  I have a link to Nancy on the contact page if you are unfamiliar with her work or her achievements.

The 2 photos are pretty obvious, I hope:  the NY beauty is made with shades of black or black patterned fabric, a mix of colored prints, and Cherrywood Fabrics, which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE – and the line study is pieces from my studio stash.

I look forward to comments and dialogue with fellow quilters, art quilters, textile artists, and surface design artists alike, in a safe and encouraging environment.




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