Cynthia St. Charles Store

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cyber Fyber Postcard Exhibition

The Cyber Fyber Exhibition
is being organized by Susan Lenz. In January 2009, the exhibit will be displayed at Vista Studios in Columbia, South Carolina.

Susan has created a series of blogs in anticipation of this exhibition. She has created hundreds of fiberart postcards and trading cards, which she has posted on the blog. She is trading them with other artists. The traded fiberart make up the 2009 Cyber Fyber Exhibit.

So, I got busy on some postcards - a good diversion from some of the other more mundane projects I am in the midst of.
The Crow postcard series is created from a gelatin plate print that has been embellished with screen printed birds, paintstick rubbings, and machine stitching. Then, I did some primitive embroidery.

The Organism postcard series has a foundation of hand painted fabric, which has been stamped with one of my hand cut rubber stamps and screen printed with a cellular organism (which actually looks rather flower-like) and a shadowy chicadee. Seed stitching by hand and machine stitching followed by a beaded finish.

The city postcard series is a screen print made from a picture of New York City that I took from the Empire State Building. The underlying fabric is hand painted and hand stamped with one of my handcut rubber stamps. A little embroidery finishes it off.
Another crow postcard - I have several of these - probably my favorite series.

This one with the buttons is the one I plan to send to the Cyber Fyber exhibit. Hand dyed fabric has been stamped with a transmission part as well as a hand cut rubber stamp. Machine stitching, buttons and embroidery finish it off.

Here is the postcard I am trading for. This is the one Susan made and sent to me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Artist Trading Cards on Cyber Fyber

Here is my ATC destined for the Cyber Fyber Exibit.
Have you heard about Susan Lenz's Cyber Fyber project? She is curating an exhibit at Vista Studios in Columbia, South Carolina in January 2009.

The exhibit will show hundreds of Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) and Postcards that she has traded with artists around the world.

I visited Susan's Cyber Fyber blog for ATC's
There, I selected one of the ATC's she had made (shown below) and asked to trade for it.

Yesterday, the ATC from Susan arrived in the mail. I just finished sewing buttons on mine last night. It will go out in the mail today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Color Jazzed Winter Day

About this time of year, the lack of color in the landscape really starts getting to me.
I decided to take matters into my own hands with some junk mail, paint, and stamps.

First, I taped 9 pieces of paper to my work table using masking tape. Then, I picked the brightest colors I could find in my paintbox and splashed them around with a big paintbrush. This really lifted my spirits. Notice how the print still shows through in some places in the detail picture below.

After that dried, I chose three of my hand cut rubber stamps and three darker colors - red, purple, and blue for the next layer.
I think I will just enjoy it in this state for a while. Nice and bright and colorful. I usually add another layer or two, but maybe not this time.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Overdyeing and Soy Wax

Sunday's weather was dreary. Half the family was under the weather, down with colds.
I did my best to shrug off their impact and isolated myself in the wet studio.

I've had a box of soy wax on the shelf for a couple of years. Never got around to using it before.
I decided it might work with my stamps, so I opened the package.
It heats up easily in the microwave oven.
The soy wax did not work well with the stamps, however.
It set up before I got get it applied to the fabric.
Instead, I just made some drips and marks using a paintbrush.

This piece was just spattered with the soy wax before dyeing in multi colors.

It made for a pretty good February color fix.

Here is the entire piece. It is about a 36 x 60" Yummy.

Detail of the one I did with charcoal gray.

Here is a picture of half the charcoal piece.

Below is the one I dyed with Bronze dye.
I was not set up for dye painting so did low water immersion dyeing, which caused some cracks in the wax, with the dye penetrating those cracks. Makes for an interesting appearance.I will have to try the soy wax with thickened dye and the rainbow painting process this spring or summer when the weather warms up and I am able to set up in the shop.

I did a long series of gradation dyeing last summer and did three groups of different reds. This resulted in a lot of pink fabrics that I will most likely never use. I overdyed a handful of those pieces. I can't say that I have ever made a pink quilt, but these are colors in my palate. Overdyed with lemon yellow, cobalt blue, bronze, and scarlet to get these luscious colors. They really glow.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Trees Again

This morning I woke up with a new awareness about this ongoing theme of trees in my work.
The loss of a dozen large trees from our landscape really increases my feelings of attachment to trees. On the rugged landscape of eastern Montana, trees are scattered and widely disbursed. They are found in greater numbers along rivers, and in the hills or mountains - and in the cities and towns. When driving across the landscape in this region, the sight of a tree is something to be savored. I especially love the look of naked trees against the winter sky.

My current quilting project is an ambitious one - something I will be working on for a month or so. I am quilting a silk garment and the image on it is a gigantic deciduous tree. So far, I have only worked at putting the tree trunk, branches, and roots in place. The lining and exterior of this garment are made of 6 yards each of green and burgundy hand dyed habotai silk. The batting is Thermore ultra thin and although it is huge, this garment is remarkably light and not at all bulky. I thought I would hate working on it on account of the slipperyness of the fabric and the size of the piece, but it is actually going quite well so far. The weight and sheen of the silk make the quilting very dimensional.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A New Landscape

The wildfire fuels reduction crew arrived yesterday morning. They quickly went to work cutting down all the junipers and cedar trees and shredding them.

Airus said they were "scary" with their loud equipment.

Joe and I worked in the backyard removing dead wood and the smaller junipers. One of the conditions of the grant is that the owners contribute 20% of the fuels removal. We opted to contribute with our labor rather than $$. We wanted to take advantage of the wood chipper that is here - otherwise we would have a disposal challenge. I was running the electric saw for several hours and my arm is kind of sore due to the weight and vibration.

This area is so open now . . . providing a clean slate for some new landscaping. It is going to take some time to get used to this view out the front windows.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February Frost and Farewell to the Cedars

Yesterday the temperatures here in Billings, Montana climbed to about 58 degrees. Last night the temperature dropped to 16. This morning there was a lot of frost. I noticed these sparkling pine needles on my way out to the garbage bin this morning.

I found the texture of the frozen mud on the driveway quite captivating.

I realized I needed to get a picture of the cedar trees and juniper bushes around our house.
We were fortunate to escape the surging wildfires that swept through our neighborhood last summer. We've applied for a grant for "fuels reduction". From our consultations with the pros, we have learned that the cedar trees and junipers are real fire hazards. Apparently, they burn hot and fast and the flames will flare up very high putting everything within 100 feet at risk.

Tomorrow, the fuels reduction crew will arrive and many of the trees you see here will be cut down and then shredded. The tall pines will stay, although their lower branches will be trimmed. The smaller pines will need to be removed (not pictured)

Our landscape will be significantly altered, but our house will be safe if a fire ever does make it into our little box canyon. I've been planning some renovations to our place, including the landscaping, so this is a good thing in many ways. Still, the idea of removing so many trees is daunting. I know I will feel sad.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Journal Pages - Recycled Paper

I've registered my personal journal with the 1001 Journals Project. You can view it at this address:

For some reason, the link above does not appear to be working properly.

Try going to the web page for 1001 journals . The address is:

My journal is registered as #2623. If you enter that number in the search, my journal will come up.Here are a few new pages.

I am really loving the paper art I am doing in this journal.

All the papers are "trash" - either junk mail or pages I printed on my computer printer but no longer need.

I have been taping the recycled paper to my work surface with masking tape.
Then, I am covering it with a wash of leftover MX dye.
The next step is to stamp with some of my handcut rubber stamps.
The final step is to screen print. In some cases, I am writing on the pages afterward, but sometimes I just let it be art.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Another one Finished

I found enough vintage buttons from my stash for the center of each square, but after those were sewn in place, I thought . . . .more.

There were plenty of brightly colored buttons in the bags I bought at Michaels to jazz it up a bit more.
Little Airus (20 month old grandson) was so attracted to this while I was adding the buttons. He spent a lot of time sprawled across the quilt fondling the buttons and telling me what color they were (he doesn't have his colors straight yet even though he knows all the color names. I am starting to wonder if he might have inherited the colorblindness which does run on his maternal grandfather's side.)

Looking at this quilt on the computer screen, I would have to say I think it looks much better in person. It is interesting - the effect of the stamping on each block. I did them in various colors and this really lends some depth and sparkle bringing some of the blocks to the front, while others recede.
Below is a picture I took after I pulled it out of the UFO drawer and stamped a couple of the blocks.

One World One Heart Winners Announced

Hello all,

This morning, I used the Random Number Generator to select the winners for the One World One Heart Drawing.

The winning six have already given me their mailing addresses and their items are already in the mail.

Karen will receive the journal (an interesting coincidence because I was inspired by one of her blog entries to try my hand at adding a cover to a spiral bound sketchbook).

Jill will receive the collage (shipped to the UK)
Kathy will receive postcard #1 (Kathy is in Iowa)

Nancy will receive postcard #2 (Nancy already has two of my pieces in her collection that I am aware of! She is in California)

Bethany will receive postcard #3 (mailed to Canada!)

Donata will receive the notecards. (she is in the Netherlands!)

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all who took the time to visit my blog and leave a comment. This has been fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More buttons

During my quest for brightly colored buttons, I discovered 4 oz bags of Vintage buttons were also available at Michaels. Printed on the package,

"Most of these buttons were made many years ago in the USA. Some of these buttons were gathered from high end NYC suppliers who distributed buttons from Italy and Holland. These buttons were discovered in basements and in sub basements in the old garment center of New York City, Soho." according to Jesse James Co. in Allentown, PA

Most of these buttons are black or white or metallic. I am happy to have them to add to my stash.

Bright Buttons

I've been embellishing my quilts with buttons lately and have seriously depleted my stash.
Yesterday, I looked all over town for reasonably priced brightly colored buttons that I need for two works in progress.

I finally struck gold at Michaels (my fifth stop). They have bags of buttons, and I bought 4 sandwich sized bags full for less than $20. They appear to be collections of factory surplus buttons. Perfect! I can hardly wait to sew them on!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

ONE World ONE Heart

I've chosen six items to give away on Valentine's Day (shown below). If you'd like a chance to receive one of these items, add a comment, including your email address. If your name/email address is drawn, I will contact you on Thursday, February 14 to obtain your mailing address. I will wait 3 days before drawing another name if I do not receive a reply.

This sketchbook / journal has 60 blank pages. It measures 9 x 6 and the cover is a recycled catalog screen printed collage signed by the artist.

This collage was a 2007 calendar page that was dyed, stamped and screen printed. The actual image measures 5x6 and is mounted on an 8x10 backer board and is ready for framing. Signed by the artist.

This 4x6 fiberart postcard is a gelatin plate monoprint that has been machine stitched and embellished with beads. Signed by the artist on the back.

This 4x6 fiberart postcard is a gelatin plate monoprint machine stitched and overlaid with a sheer that has a leaf rubbing done with a paintstick. It has been hand stitched. Signed on the back by the artist.

This fiberart postcard measures 4x6. It has been hand dyed and screen printed with images from the artist's digital photos. Machine stitched. Signed on the back by the artist.

This is a group of four 4 x 5 notecards. Each one is a different piece of collage art. I recycle papers destined for the garbage i.e. sales flyers, catalogs, etc. These papers are dyed, stamped with original handcut rubber stamps and screen. Each card is signed by the artist.

Be sure to leave a comment that includes your email address so I can contact you if your name is drawn on February 14.

New Stamps

I cut a couple of new stamps this week, and am really happy with them.
The one above is similar to a smaller one that I've used quite a bit. I stamped some hand dyed strips of fabric leftover from a couple of previous projects. I was going for a bark like look. I stamped first in a dark transparent paint, then went back in with a lighter opaque mix of fabric paint.

I really like this one. I especially like the texture in the background. I think I will use this one for my next winter birds piece.

I really love this one, as well. Earlier this week, I used it for some paper art which ended up on some Valentine Cards I plan to send out to nieces and nephews.

I think this design lends itself to sky or water. It is a lot like a quilting design I like to do.

Friday, February 8, 2008

For the Birds

What a difference the finishing touches make! I am pleased with the final result on this piece - which is actually a trial for a much larger piece.

This piece was under threat of being sent to the scrap bin, but I decided to try and salvage it.

By sewing a single line of stitching around the screen printed birds, the birds kind of puff up and appear to be appliqued. I find I love the effect of the stamping on the background fabric and the way the shadow of that texture is revealed through the screen printed bird images. I really like the juxtaposition of the abstract representation of the branches and twigs via the stamped fabric in the background contrasted with the very realistic silhouettes of the birds - which are in fact, screens made from photos I took of the birds at my birdfeeder.

While I was quilting, I had the idea of adding some beads on the branches to indicate frost or snow. Not sure I will do that now. Beads might seem too glitzy for this very subdued color palate - unless I can track down some tiny clear faceted beads that will reflect light but not add color.

The quilt measures 27 x 40".