Cynthia St. Charles Store

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Traveling Journal # 2557


This is was started by Someguy in San Francisco, who decided to distribute 1000 blank journals in various locations, hoping people would add to them and pass them on.

A website for all the scanned images of journal entries was established. You can visit that website here.

There has been a book released - called "The 1000 Journals Project", which contains excerpts from those first 1000 journals. I ordered a copy from Amazon. I will be giving that copy to my step-daughter, Erin for Christmas.

I decided I would also like to give her a blank journal, which I have registered with the 1001 Journals Project. This journal is for her to write in, and then send off into the world, hoping that it will find its way back someday.

I decorated the cover and added an entry to several pages, which I have scanned and added to the 1001 Journals website.

The journal has been assigned # 2557, so anytime, it will be possible to view pages that have been scanned and uploaded - even before the journal comes back home!
This is the cover art I did.

Here's what it looks like inside the jacket.

The first , second, third, and fourth pages are shown here.


This is inside the back jacket. I used computer printing, magazine cut outs, screen printing, block printing, sponge painting and paint sticks on the artwork in the journal.

Now I need to go get it wrapped up!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stitching by Hand

It's winter. Short days. Chilly outside. Drafty in my basement studio. Being cold natured, I am not comfortable this time of year. It seems like no amount of clothing can compensate for the fact that it everything outside is frozen.

It is a transitional time for me. I've spent the past year renovating our commercial properties and that will be winding up shortly. This has been a week for medical stuff - other people - with me in the support role. I've been knitting to fill the time . . . a soothing repetitive, mindless task. A good thing to do in the waiting room, etc. But (hopefully) I am about done with waiting rooms and hospital rooms for a while.

All that time and energy spent on other things . . . It is time for me to begin some new work in the studio, but I am undecided about where or how to begin. I am yearning to do hand work - embroidery. The last piece I did with a lot of embroidery, Primitive Hearts (see it here) and hand work, and buttons was very satisfying and I know I want to do more along those lines.

With a little downtime, I found myself reading blogs this morning. I really enjoy Judy Martin's blog. She recently posted a wonderful entry about hand stitching that spoke to me. She was able to beautifully articulate the appeal of sewing by hand. Of hand stitching, Judy Martin wrote, " It's thoughtful. It's a repeated caress. It’s visible time." I know this is why I feel so compelled to take up the needle. I need the tactile time - and need to make it visible. It isn't just the fact that it is cold outside! Here is a link to Judy's entry related to hand stitching.

I have also been thumbing through Stitch Magic, with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. These two people always produce intriguing work that inspires thought. Here is a link to the book on Amazon. While I admire this type of work, I don't think I am up to the densely stitched work usually done by these two. I don't see myself as an embroiderer. Rather, I think of embroidery as a layer of embellishment on my textile art.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Nature is the Art of God


I did several more journal covers using gelatin plate prints, stitched Tyvek leaves, and hand stamped fabrics. The one pictured above has already sold.

I've been away for a week. My father had shoulder replacement surgery on Monday, and I've spent the past week with him and my mother. The surgery was here in Billings, and I drove them home when he was released from St Vincents Hospital on Wednesday. Then, I stayed with them until Saturday, when I was the "guest artist" at Prairie Collections gallery in Stanford, MT during the Christmas Stroll.

I am seriously considering opening an Etsy store to sell these journal / sketch books, and other small items. I looked for journals on Etsy last week when I was trying to decide how to price these. I realized there is nothing like this available anywhere - at least I couldn't find them!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

More Journal / Sketchbooks - Trees


I've had a little time in the studio this week and elected to use it putting a few gift items together. I liked the idea of creating journal / sketchbooks using screen prints from trees I've photographed throughout Montana.

All of the covers are quilted fabric. I hand painted and/or hand dyed all of the fabrics.

These larger books are 8 1/2 by 11".
About every 5 pages, I screen printed a tree image. I love the way the pages look and think I will enjoy writing and sketching in these books - coming to a page with a screen printed tree will be a nice surprise.

My favorite size is this smaller size - 6 x 9 1/2". I combined the screen printed fabrics with some hand stamped fabrics made with my own hand cut stamps on these smaller pieces. I liked the way these turned out - the two fabric types seem to really compliment each other.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Trees as Insiration

"Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven."
RABINDRATNATH TAGORE

This is the quote that inspired this small series, which will become holiday gifts. I started with this sketch book. All the screen prints are from photos I took of trees. I first screen printed about 1/4 of the pages with various images of trees.

The screen printed trees on the cover of the sketch book are from a photo I took along the Musselshell River last fall. Here is the original photo. I set my camera on black and white in anticipation that I would be making thermofax screens from my photos.


The evergreen cluster on this page is a photo I took this past summer in the Beartooth Mountains during the llama trek with three other quilters. Here is the original photo - a sunset on a smoky evening (forest fires).


Several pages were embellished with scraps of gelatin plate prints of leaves and decorative stitching was added to the page.

There were several small pieces left over, so I used them to make several post cards and a couple of note cards.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ginko Leaves in Tyvek


I feel like I am wandering aimlessly in the studio these past couple of days. All the backlog has been taken care of and now is the time to launch something new. Yet, I really can't devote my full attention to anything creative, as there are many distractions so my focus is really off. The apartment renovation is coming along nicely and now that the floor refinishing crew is there, I have a couple of days off, but we have had a houseful of people coming and going these past several days, as well. Since studio time is so precious, I hate to squander it on something mediocre, but maybe that is just part of the process.

Lacking other inspiration, I decided to begin making samples of small quilts incorporating gelatin prints with Tyvek in the theme of leaves.
This is the piece I did yesterday. I am not thrilled with it, but it isn't finished, so I know I need to be patient. The full piece just looks kind of messy to me right now. Maybe this one needs to be cut into small postcard sized pieces.

Here is the sheet of painted Tyvek before I cut the leaves from it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wildlife Views

On Monday, Airus looked out the window and said, "deer". We looked and there was a nice buck grazing in the yard. A few minutes later, another buck joined him.

Later in the day, Elizabeth was planning to give Airus a ride in the wheelbarrow, but when she turned it over, there was already somebody in it. This big fat Black Widow spider!
I gave the spider a ride far from the house and swept her from the wheelbarrow with a pine branch.

Yesterday, it started snowing and it snowed again today. We've probably accumulated 6 to 7 inches at this point. I can't bear to take a picture of it. Maybe later, when Airus goes out to play in it or something. It is supposed to reach 5 degrees tonight.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Great Grandparents Visit


My parents came to town on Tuesday. Dad (known as Pa to the grandkids) needed a preliminary physical exam for shoulder replacement surgery he has scheduled for December 3. They had not seen Airus for several months. They stopped by for lunch and a visit with Airus, who is talking a lot these days.

Airus loves looking at the newspaper, magazines, and especially sales flyers from hardware stores. Grandma and Pa had a chance to see that he is able to identify and name most everything he sees pictured. He is especially fond of pictures of tools and kitchen equipment!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bit by Bit


Mexican Fishing Village. Painted whole cloth.
I am not getting much done in the studio these days. I've spent the past couple of months focused on renovating a downtown apartment we own. The building was built in 1925, very run down, and we have gutted the kitchen, bathroom and utility room. I've spent the past several weeks prepping the walls for painting and finally got started painting 10 days ago. It is still not finished in spite of my working there every day along with some help from daughter Michelle and her boyfriend, Caleb.

I usually spend about 6 hours each day. That is about as much as I can take of the paint fumes, standing on a ladder and contorting my body to reach awkward places with paint. It is a large apartment - three bedrooms, lots of windows, and it is taking two coats and it feels like forever . . . . .

We are on a time crunch, because I want to be done with the painting so the floor refinisher can come in next Monday and start sanding. I don't want to risk getting paint on newly finished wood floors, so I am trying to get the painting done now. But I must also allow time for removing the carpet, which has been glued down with a very sticky adhesive. Yuck. I am really dreading that!

By the time I get home each day, I have barely enough energy for dinner, let alone studio work. I have been trying to get a little done at the sewing machine each morning while I drink my cup of tea. It is kind of like a morning meditation for me. It might be the only thing keeping me sane right now.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fabric Giveaway Jacket Preview


My friend, Brooke Atherton is hosting a fabric giveaway. A clothing manufacturer has gifted her with a ton of color sample pieces of 100% cotton knit, the type used for T shirts.
She, in turn, is distributing it to artists and is calling for creative projects to be submitted to her for publication. You can learn more by checking out the Fabric Giveaway blog. She still has fabric and is looking for interested artists.

I've been working on a jacket made of habotai silk layered with overdyed cotton knit.
I stitched an organic pattern in white cotton thread, then cut away some areas of the cotton knit to reveal the silk underneath. (shown above)

Next, I overdyed the whole thing. The silk and white cotton thread took the scarlet and lemon yellow dye, and the blue shifted to a darker shade of purple. There are long strings from serging the edges hanging off the bottom and I plan to string beads on these. Then, I will add a few more beads and some kind of closure.

Elizabeth spotted it in my studio yesterday and asked to try it on. She loves it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More Quilts from the International Quilt Festival


"Leaves and Twigs" was juried into the "Quilts, A World of Beauty" judged show. It is constructed of gelatin plate leaf prints with a hand dyed border.

The surface was embellished with Tyvek leaves. They were painted, then stitched in place.

This is what the leaves looked like after stitching, but before heating with an iron.

I also sent along this little practice piece. I used this small quilt to work out my design process and decided to donate it to the IQA silent auction.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

2007 Journal Quilt - Medicine Wheel

Each year, I try to make a pilgrimage to an ancient spiritual site called Medicine Wheel. Located at nearly 10,000 feet in the Bighorn Mountains, it is an 800 year old construction made of flat rocks that have been stacked in the shape of an enormous wheel with 28 spokes, 80 feet in diameter. Nobody knows who built it or why, but there is speculation that the 28 spokes are linked to the phases of the moon and the number of days in the human reproductive cycle. There is a raised central cairn with several others on the periphery which appear to align with astronomical constellations.
Whatever the actual history or ancient purpose, this place has personal significance to me, as I always feel a deep spiritual stirring each time I visit. I’ve had visions and felt a connection with divine spirits while visiting Medicine Wheel. It is a very powerful place.

Since 2003, the Journal Quilt Project has provided valuable influence on my development as an art quilter. This year, for the culmination of the Journal Quilt Project, I wanted to create a single quilt relating to something personally significant. This spring, I came away from a Medicine Wheel visit committed to creating an image expressing my feelings about this sacred place. Discharged and hand dyed cottons were reverse appliqu├ęd to create the swirling sky background. Painted Tyvek® and stone chips represent the Medicine Wheel in the foreground. Hand dyed couched threads, beads, a dyed silk hankie, and hand made polymer clay faces have been attached to embellish the surface, conveying my personal interpretation of the sacred spiritual connection between heaven and earth at the ancient Medicine Wheel site.

Special Exhibits - International Quilt Festival

The International Quilt Festival in Houston opens today. I have three pieces juried into special exhibits at the show. For more information and to see images of some of the special exhibits follow this link.

"Color Burst" was juried into the "In the American Tradition" Exhibit.


80 x 60"

This was the first quilt I made entirely of fabric I dyed myself. The border fabric was the inspiration, because it was too beautiful to cut up. I pulled colors from it to make the arcs - which were foundation pieced. It took me nearly a year to decide how to do the machine quilting.


"Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire" was juried into The Sky's the Limit Special Exhibit.

“Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire!” evokes a feeling of flaming balls or nebula. The foundation of this piece is discharged black cotton which was overdyed with shades of red to yellow, creating a fiery impression on cloth. Machine quilting was done with a variety of metallic, polyester, and rayon threads. This quilt has been heavily beaded to the point that it is practically a piece of jewelry! The beads add even more fire and sparkle.

It has been previously shown in the following venues:

Spring Festival 2005

Sacred Threads 2007

Published in Quilters Newsletter Magazine June/July 2007

39 x 41”


"City Lights" was juried into the Tactile Architecture Exhibit.

This piece was inspired by the unique style of artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. His use of color and line influenced the development of this image depicting the bright lights of a spring evening in New York City. A plasticized wrapping material called Tyvek® was painted with pigments, cut into shapes and placed on top of the fabric sandwich of hand dyed cotton, and cotton batting. After the building details were stitched by machine with bright polyester and cotton thread, the Tyvek® was melted slightly with an iron to create texture and depth. Fused tulle creates lights beaming across the sky, while hand stamping with metallic paint creates the softly reflective East River in the foreground.

Size: 38.5 inches width x 56.5 inches height

Completed: July 2006

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My Semi-Precious Stone Jewelry


I took a little time out for myself this morning and put together a couple of pendant / earring sets. I am especially attracted to semi-precious stones and am also a big fan of copper findings. Above is a set made from opalized quartz. This set is really luminous, and therefore, seems a lot more dressy than I was originally intending.

This one is Adventurite. This stone is said to bring adventure and fortune. I am going to wear this one a lot, I think - it seems good for everyday wear and I could use the good fortune.

I purchased this citrine pendant at International Quilt Festival in Houston when I attended in 2004. It has been waiting in the bead box until now. The earrings are actually faceted amber, which are about the same color as the citrine. Both of these stones are good for attracting positive energy. I have a lot on my plate these days and I can take all the positive energy I can get!

I am off to paint ductwork and scrub walls so I can begin painting the bedrooms in the apartment.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Small Works Auction


Yesterday, I noticed an article in the newspaper about the upcoming deadline for donations for the Small Art Auction, a fundraiser for Yellowstone Art Museum. I'd intended to contribute something last year, but missed the deadline. They want 9 x 12" pieces of art and they will frame them for the auction.

Earlier in the week, I purchased a tablet of canvas paper in a 9 x 12" size - just a coincidence that it is exactly the size they want for the auction. I bought it because I have been wanting to create mixed media collages combining paper and fabric. I have been looking for something I can paint on without having it go all wonky, but also something thin enough that I can stitch on it. This 136 lb canvas paper, made in France, has a canvas texture, and I discovered, it does not buckle when painted. It is easy to stitch with the machine, and I was able to sew the buttons on by hand, as well. I used some ugly demo fabrics left over from my workshop. The buttons are vintage, from my rejected button collection. I think I am going to call it "Rejects #1" because that is pretty much what it is made of.

The fabrics have been hand painted, sun printed, fused with painted Wonder Under, stamped with one of my latest homemade stamps, and stitched in place on the painted paper background.

I look forward to seeing how it looks in a frame among the other donated art. It may be the only way I will ever have my work shown in the local art museum. Oddly, I have exhibited in many other museums around the state and country, but never here in Billings.