As my mom, Rebekah, and I sat in our open air office (otherwise known as her backyard), we were brainstorming. I made the observation that many of her floral design inspirations come from summer flowers. Sunflowers, goldenrod, thistles, black-eyed Susans, zinnias...and the list goes on. While neither of us are fond of the heat and humidity Great Lakes summers bring, we are always delighted by the flowers which adorn this season of the year. So full of color, these flowers, and how they fill the midwestern fields and gardens amongst which we tread.
As always, Rebekah takes inspiration and puts her own folk art twist on it. Let's take a look at some of the designs inspired by summer blooms.
I can't tell you how many designs Rebekah has created that take inspiration from sunflowers. They are certainly one of her favorites. These three pieces are currently on the workshop list, which means she teaches them in her travels (no patterns available outside workshops yet). The table mat, pictured on the seat of the chair, was originally designed for a dye workshop held with Donna Bennett of Crows on the Ledge. The students would dye their wool on day one, and then stitch with it on day two. The sewing caddies began as a finished piece which Rebekah sold early on. We had so many requests for that one, that she decided to make a variation of it as a class project. And who wouldn't want a little sunshine to add to their home?
The Thistles Table Runner is possibly one of the most popular of Rebekah's designs. I have to admit, it's one of my very favorites. Thistles come in so many shapes and sizes, and though they are often considered a prickly weed in one's yard, they can be quite beautiful. This motif appears often in early American folk art. Though the past is inspiring, Rebekah loves to see these things in our own time. We often walk through grassy parks and admire the brilliantly-colored blooms which come in many different shapes and sizes, and nearly every shade between pink and purple. Thistles grow nearly anywhere, and we even saw some amazing ones (like the one above) on a recent vacation to Montana. Even a weed can be beautiful!
Next week, Rebekah is headed off to the ATHA Biennial in Denver, Colorado. She will be teaching a unique class. Sometimes a little research is involved, and Rebekah took the time to find out what flowers grow in the alpine (high-altitude) regions of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Inspired by these tiny, but tenacious, flowers, she created this piece to showcase the beauty of mountain flora. Stitched on a black linen background, the flowers take center stage in this fun little project. As an added touch, each of the flower names are written on the twill tape which crisscrosses the background of the piece.
There are so many kinds of flowers Rebekah uses, but this is just a taste of how she finds inspiration for her work. What flowers inspire your creativity? Share in the comments below!