SAQA Benefit Auction Stories—Beth Blankenship

We always love hearing about how our members are inspired to create their piece for our annual Benefit Auction. Beth Blankenship is a first time donor and shared her story with us.

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Beth’s Story

I was introduced to SAQA in 2016 by Maria Shell. I’d long admired Maria’s quilts but we weren’t acquainted until we both had the good fortune to be accepted into Fiber Art International 2016. Maria encouraged me to come to a SAQA Alaska meeting and I immediately felt at home with this group of warm and inviting artists. SAQA’s broad definition of an art quilt means that even I, a fiber artist who occasionally quilts, am encouraged in my artistic endeavors.

Beth Blankenships’s peice Spill, Baby, Spill (baby belt) at Fiberart International 2016

My Benefit Auction quilt, How Does You Garden Grow? is a tribute to all the hard working earthworms out there; eating their little hearts out, chewing through and aerating the soil—thank you little guys!

The quilt came together in an unusual way. Objects hang out my studio waiting for their time to arrive—sometimes for decades. The green leaf fabric was screen printed in 1993 at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine during a Surface Design workshop.

The brown border fabric was a shirt I brought back from Singapore for my husband when I took a tour of Asia with our daughter. It was the wrong size—sorry about that honey! The earthworms were created in 2005 as a set of bracelets (sometimes I get crazy ideas). They were made by stitching tiny seed beads onto a fiber base. Bead embroidery is something I’ve been in love with for the past 18 years.

When the request for Benefit Auction quilts came, I went into the studio and looked around. These three things called to me. “It’s our time,” they said and How Does Your Garden Grow? blossomed.

About Beth

Beth often uses machine embroidery, hand-stitched beadembroidery, and sculptural peyote to create her art. She has lived in Anchorage, Alaska for over 30 years but grew up in a little town on the Puget Sound where she cultivated her great affection for things that live in and around our oceans and streams. You can learn more about Beth and her work by visiting her website.

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