Cynthia St. Charles Store

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.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Windows #3

It has been really great having a couple of weeks in the studio. I've been able to finish a number of projects that were started last spring.

This is the third in my Windows series, and my favorite one so far. It is much larger than the others. 60 x 51". The first 6 hours of quilting were unpleasant, as I was not pleased with the way it was turning out, but that changed about half way through the process, and I began to enjoy it as it came together. Now I really like it. I had to wash it to remove the Crayola Washable Marker I used to mark it with and I think that improved it even more- the quilting really pops now!

I've had this extra time in the studio while we've waited for workmen to finish some things in the apartment we are renovating. Now that the workmen are clearing out, I will have to go to work. There is a gutted bathroom and kitchen to deal with, a lot of painting, and wood floors to refinish. I expect it will occupy all my time and suck up all my energy for the next couple of months.

Next week, after International Quilt Festival opens, I will post my 2007 Journal quilt, as well as my other pieces in the show.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quilts:Fiber for Thought, Plains Art Museum

I just received a letter from the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota announcing the opening of a new quilt exhibition.

The show is called "Quilts: Fiber for Thought" and
is curated by Kim Baird and Kimberlee Madsen. See more details about this event here.

The show opens on October 25 - that's tomorrow. The reception is on Saturday, November 10 at 7 pm. The show closes on January 13, 2008.

My piece in the exhibition is "All Alone and Blue"
This piece was inspired by the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

It has been constructed of pigment painted Tyvek, which was cut, stitched to black cotton, then melted. "All Alone and Blue" is my interpretation of the feeling of isolation created by those suffering from depression. To learn more about this piece, as well as my other works, visit my website.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Primitive Hearts - Finally Done Sewing Buttons!

This is a whole cloth quilt. I scrawled out the primitive design with Elmers Glue Gel, then painted it with primary colors. I carved a special heart stamp, and stamped randomly with Lumiere paints. I printed out 1Corinthians 13, a love poem in Japanese, and the four types of love in Greek and made them into screens, which I printed in white.

Hand embroidery and buttons provide the final embellishments.

This quilt is unlike anything else I have ever made. In retrospect, I wish I had put a bit of planning into it. It might have turned out better, but at the same time, I really love working intuitively and wanted it to appear primitive and unplanned. I certainly accomplished that!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Co-op Gallery Location

2914 First Avenue North is the future home of an arts and fine crafts cooperative gallery and studio.

The entire space is approximately 1000 square feet. This is the view from the front door. This portion of the space will be the gallery and it is approximately 650 square feet. We plan to install track lighting.

There is excellent street exposure. First Avenue North is a one way street and 2914 has corner windows on the alley side, so street traffic can see in the window from half a block away. I have been told that 20,000 vehicles drive this street each day. There are restaurants on either side of the space. Cham Thai is to the west and Sweet Grass is to the east. There are a number of other restaurants and coffee shops within a block or two.
I am hoping there will be an artist interested in setting up a to work in the window.

The studio space is in the back with access to the restrooms (shared with the Thai restaurant). This space contains a single basin sink and there is room for a refrigerator and microwave on the counter. Work space for the member artists will be snug - about the size of a cubicle in an office. I plan to set up a design wall and work table in this space, and hope for 4 or 5 other artists to join me here.

The view of the entire building from across the street. This building has a full basement with lots of storage space.

Please contact me through a blog comment if you are interested.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Oracle Card - Hathor

From Wikipedia:
Hathor (Egyptian for house of Horus) was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was seen as the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow. Hathor was an ancient goddess, and was worshipped as a cow-deity from at least 2700 BC.

Another interpretation of the Milky Way was that it was the primal snake, Wadjet, the protector of Egypt who was closely associated with Hathor and other early deities among the various aspects of the great mother goddess.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Oracle Card - Yemanja / Yemanya / Iemanja/Yemoja

From Wikipedia:
Yemaja is an orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many Afro-American religions. Africans from what is now called Yorubaland brought Yemaya and a host of other deities/energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a protector of children.

The goddess is known as Yemanjá or Iemanjá in Brazil.

Every February 2 in Salvador, Bahia, there is a celebration of Iemanjá, which involves thousands of people lining up at dawn to leave their offerings at her shrine in Rio Vermelho. Presents for Iemanjá usually include flowers, perfume, and objects of female vanity (jewelry, combs, mirrors). These are gathered in large baskets and taken out to the sea by local fishermen. Afterwards a massive street party ensues.

In Rio de Janeiro, Iemanjá is celebrated on New Year's Eve, when millions of cariocas dressed in white gather on Copacabana beach to greet the New Year, watch fireworks, and throw flowers and other offerings into the sea for the goddess in the hopes that she will grant them their requests for the coming year. Paintings of Iemanjá are for sale in Rio shops, next to painting of Jesus etc. They portray her as a woman rising out of the sea. Small offerings of flowers and floating candles are left in the sea on many nights at Copacabana.

In the Umbanda religion, Yemoja is a goddess of the ocean and patron deity of the survivors of shipwrecks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Abundantia - Oracle Card

Abundantia (ah-boon-DAN-shee-ah) The Roman goddess of good fortune, abundance and prosperity.

From Wikipedia:

Within Roman Mythology, the figure of Abundantia (also known as Annona) was considered to be only a minor deity: the personification of luck, abundance and prosperity, and was also the guardian of the cornucopia - the horn of plenty. It was with this that she distributed food and money. The main version of the origin of the cornucopia is similar in both the Greek and the Roman mythology, in which the king of the gods, having accidentally broken the horn of the mystical goat in play, promised that the horn would never run empty the fruits of her desire. The horn was then later to be passed into the keeping of Abundantia.

While there are few temples or signs of worship for Abudantia to be found within Rome, she has also been described in the past as 'the beautiful maiden of success', and as such is largely featured in art. Often portrayed as holding the cornicopia and sheaves of corn, while allowing the contents to fall to the ground, Abundantia's form has graced Roman coins in ages past.

Abudantia has withstood the tests of time, taking on the form of the French 'Olde Dame Habonde; also known as Domina Abundia, and Notre Dame d'Abondance', a beneficial fairy figure found throughout Teutonic Mythology, and poetry of the Middle Ages. Within texts related to this figure it is said that she would bestow the gift of plenty and of good fortune to those she visits, and in modern society is the patron of gamblers - the revered Lady Fortune.

I loved the way this one looked in my sketch, but I had to condense it a bit to fit my card size. The wings are supposed to appear to be her arms and the breasts and swollen belly are supposed to relate to her life giving abundance. After I had to condense the image, it looks to me like her wing/arms are really more like a head dress or elaborate collar. 18 month old grandson, Airus says, "Buddah" when he sees it. I guess it does look like a Buddah!

I am also trying to work out a good way to label these cards with text. I made screens, but they did not work well on the cards. I tried just writing on the cards and I don't like the way that looks, either. I think I will try printing text on fabric and attaching it. There is already text on the back of the cards, so maybe that is adequate.

Oracle Card - Butterfly Maiden

Butterfly Maiden is a Hopi Native American kachina (spirit dancer) who ensures that crops yield healthy and bountiful harvests. As an oracle, she can guide you through life's transitions and help you spread your wings.

I've made my Butterfly Maiden with a scrap of Arishi shibori I dyed several years ago. Now that I see her on the computer screen, I am thinking she is going to need some beads to wear!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sarasvati - Oracle Card

Sarasvati, a Hindu goddess of the arts and creation.

From Wikipedia:
In Hinduism, Saraswati (Sanskrit सरस्वती sarasvatī) is one of the goddesses, the other two being Lakshmi and Durga, that form the female counterpart of the Trimurti. Saraswati has been regarded as a river goddess and in recent times a goddess of knowledge, music and the arts. She is the consort of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mawu - Mother Earth Oracle Card

This Goddess, Mawa comes from West African folklore and is said to have created the earth with her partner, the sun (Liza).

From Wikipedia:

Mawu (alternately: Mahu) is a creator goddess, associated with the sun and moon. In some myths, she is the twin sister-wife of the male god Lisa; in others, both deities are aspects of the same androgynous or hermaphroditic deity, Mawu-Lisa.

After creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, she became concerned that it might be too heavy, so she asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and hold it up in the sky. When she asked Awe, a monkey she had also created, to help out and make some more animals out of clay, he boasted to the other animals and challenged Mawu. Gbadu, the first woman Mawu had created, saw all the chaos on earth and told her children to go out among the people and remind them that only Mawu can give Sekpoli - the breath of life. Gbadu instructed her daughter, Minona, to go out among the people and teach them about the use of palm kernels as omens from Mawu. When Awe, the arrogant monkey climbed up to the heavens to try to show Mawu that he too could give life, he failed miserably. Mawu made him a bowl of porridge with the seed of death in it and reminded him that only she could give life and that she could also take it away.

Oracle Cards

Last winter, I spent an entertaining morning forming faces out of polymer clay. Ever since then, I have been conjuring up various ideas for including them in my creations. I used quite a few of these faces in my 2007 Journal quilt, but can't unveil it until after the opening of the International Quilt Festival in Houston later this month.

In the meantime, I started a series of Oracle cards, each one depicting a different spiritual icon. I did a bit of online research to help establish this series based on spiritual mythology from around the world. My Wikipedia research found this information:

An oracle is a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority, usually spiritual in nature. It can also be a prediction of the future, from deities, that is spoken through another object or life-form. In the ancient world many sites gained a reputation for the dispensing of oracular wisdom: they too became known as "oracles".
Isis is a goddess in Egyptian mythology. She was most prominent mythologically as the wife and sister of Osiris and mother of Horus, and was worshipped as the archetypal wife and mother.

I began my series with a group of sketches on 8 x 5 inch index cards, which provide good ratio of proportion for the size of my polymer clay faces. Initially, I planned to make a folded book from a single sheet of background fabric, so I planned a layout accordingly.

I painted a single piece of fabric in a neutral shade,
Then, I fused the background fabrics into position.

To be continued . . . .

Monday, October 15, 2007

Emerald Hills Fire

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day. Joe and I had time for a hike. Our usual route passes through the wildfire area.

We've had quite a lot of rain this fall and things are already greening up!

The grassy areas that were black a few weeks ago are now a vivid green.

Even the yucca is greening up.

Some of the neighbors have already had crews in to start removing standing dead trees.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Windows #1- Blue Skies

This piece has been folded up in my studio since April . . . until yesterday, when I pulled it out and started quilting it. I had some time this morning for the final quilting and now I will bind it with a faced binding, which I expect to stitch by hand this evening.

So nice to finish something. So many distractions and stresses lately. This time in the studio has been a blessing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Artist Cooperative Gallery and Studio Idea

I've had an idea incubating the past couple of years and I think I have come close to solving the logistical problems involved. I would love feedback on this idea . . . . (just in case I am overlooking something significant).

I have long yearned for an appropriate local gallery space for my art as well as some kind of collaborative community for artists.

I happen to own an old brick building in a high traffic area of downtown that contains a vacant retail space of about 1000 square feet. It has been newly renovated with new paint and carpeting, etc. I am contemplating opening a cooperative gallery / studio. The front 2/3 would be the gallery, and the back 1/3 (divided by a wall) would serve a communal studio space for member artists. Member artists would pay monthly rent for use of their designated portion of the studio work space and gallery display area and would be required to staff the gallery one day per week, but would retain 100% of sales of their work.

I would like member artists to commit to a six month contract (converting to month to month thereafter) and to further agree to participate in regular organizational sessions for the purposes of problem solving, setting up displays, and light housekeeping.

My role would be to oversee the business of the gallery and I would plan to set up a work station in the studio area, with regular hours, in order to participate in the communal artistic process. I would need to establish and enforce protocol for shared studio space, and manage the other gallery consignments (60 / 40% for non-member artists).

I thought I would implement an application process for members requiring art samples, an artist bio, statement, references, and an interview. I would be seeking two to five compatible individuals who demonstrate a dedication to their art, are congenial and cooperative with others, reliable, and enthusiastic about presenting their work to the public. I would be most interested in finding artists working with textiles, jewelry, ceramics, assemblage, ceramics or collage, etc. These medium are not well represented in galleries in this area, currently (most galleries have western and wildlife art, bronzes and the like).

No name yet for this venture. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Surface Design at Montana Art Quilt Retreat - Fall 2007

One of the techniques included in the workshop is cutting rubber stamps from plumbers rubber gasket material. Here is Darleen cutting her stamps. Behind her on the wall are some of her pieces from the previous two days work.

This orange piece is Darleen's Setacolor painted Habotai silk that was placed over bubble wrap to dry.

Darleen stamped foil adhesive onto a hand dyed piece to obtain this lovely fabric.

Darleen's mulit-colored piece - many techniques were included on this complex piece.

Emilie's Habotai silk green piece was painted with Lumiere and Setacolor paints. She placed plastic lids on the surface, creating these wonderful circles.

Emilie's work, and a bit of Darleen's is hanging on the wall in the background here.

There was a lot of texture created on this piece due to the slow rate of drying and the amount of water on the fabric. Emilie had her fabric very wet, and it was chilly and damp the day she painted this piece.

Above, Emilie painted on cotton canvas, then followed with stamping.

Emilie painted this piece, then followed with screen printing.

This piece was painted with transparent paints, followed by stamping with Lumiere paints - done by Emilie

Phyllis painted on raw silk, then applied rock salt to achieve this lovely texture.

Plyllis used a variety of techniques on this piece including glue gel resist, cassava root resist, and stamping with an onion.

This lovely mulit-colored piece was painted with transparent paints, manipulated and salted. Done by Phyllis.

Gelatin Plate Printing at the Fall Retreat

The grand finale of the Montana Art Quilt Retreat was Gelatin Plate Printing. This is technique that was used to create homemade posters, etc. back before mechanical photocopying was invented. It is now used by artists to create mono prints.

Above, you can see that the gelatin was poured into a foil pan, forming a layer about 1/4 inch thick. After the gelatin set up (takes about an hour), the sides of the pan were folded back to form a clean edge and a smooth surface for the application of the paint, followed by the print material. In our case, we used mostly plant material, as it was readily available.

Here is Darleen, looking over some of her gelatin prints. Behind her, you can see some of her pieces from the three day workshop.

Emilie and Phyllis admiring some of Emilie's prints.

Emilie worked in series, enjoying the unique textures created as the gelatin began to degrade and fall apart.

The first step is applying the paint to the gelatin surface, as you can see Phyllis doing in the picture above. Next, a resist is created as you place something over the painted surface of the gelatin. In this case, Phyllis was using a bunch of flax stems.
The fabric is carefully placed over the prepared gelatin plate. Gentle, but firm pressure is applied to ensure good transfer of the image.

Phyllis shows off the first print from this series. You can see some of her other prints spread out in front of her, as well. Behind her on the wall, are her pieces from the three day workshop. She commented that she had never taken a more productive workshop with so many samples to take home.

The second print (usually my favorite of the series), after the first layer of paint and the print material is removed, will reveal the delicate impression left by the plant matter.

Emilie's series using the same bunch of flowers and similar colors.
We used Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Paints and Jacquard Lumiere Paints for all our gelatin prints in this workshop.