An Inquisitive Nature
Written by Linzee Kull McCray
Imagine a sewing room with natural light from windows on three sides. In summer, one window looks out onto flower gardens and another onto a prairie of purple coneflowers and 8-foot-tall big bluestem grasses. In winter, the place stays cozy by the heat of a wood-burning stove. Sound idyllic? Its occupant, designer Mabeth Oxenreider, agrees.
“It’s a wonderful place; everything’s handy and it’s nice and quiet,” she says. “I’d like a larger design wall, but I won’t remove a window in order to get one—I like the views too much.”
With a workroom like this, it wouldn’t be surprising to find Mabeth here 24-7. After all, she’s one of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine’s most prolific designers: the magazine has published nearly two dozen of her quilt designs. But Mabeth is a woman with lots of interests—the flower gardens and prairie out her windows are of her own making. She’s a collector and rug hooker and on a recent spring day she was hunting morel mushrooms at the lake cabin south of Des Moines that she shares with her husband. Would she call herself a free spirit?
“Maybe I should say I have attention deficit disorder,” she says with a laugh. “I guess I’m just very inquisitive.”
That inquisitiveness has led to a career that encompasses a wide range of quilt designs, from those featuring large, simple blocks that highlight elegant fabric to scrappy, rambunctious riots of color. There’s no single “look” to Mabeth’s work, and she likes it that way.
“I can’t imagine doing the same thing over and over,” she says. “I love solving a problem and learning how to do things I don’t know about.”
Continued on Page 2:
More to check out: