Cynthia St. Charles Store

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Painted Canvas

Yesterday, I took a little break from my labors at the sewing machine (big quilting project) to splash some bright colors on a couple of pre-stretched canvases. I wanted to determine whether or not my hand cut stamps and screen print techniques would be effective on a premade canvas.

I was satisfied with this experiment. I think they might be worth a try in the gallery, if I do a series - maybe in a 12 x 12 size so they could be hung together in different configurations. I want to be able to provide some affordable fine art. This community is notoriously tight.

Yesterday, I met with one of my favorite ceramic artists at the location of my intended gallery. She and I discussed becoming partners in the venture. She was very enthusiastic and encouraging. She cannot give me a firm answer until May, but I feel certain she will be a mentor if not a partner. She has had a gallery in town for at least 20 years, but is currently in transition and is working to get ready for a big show in the midwest. She has asked if she can begin sending artists my way, as she has a lot of connections. Very exciting! Today, Joe and I will go hang the track lighting in the gallery.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Between tax season and all our recent entertaining, it seems like progress in the studio has slowed to a crawl. I did manage to finish the quilting on this piece - the second in my birds series.
I was problem solving with this piece - gearing up for a much larger one with three panels.

When I decided this piece needed a border, I found I didn't have anything I thought was suitable, so I took the leftover fabric from the center and painted over it with very diluted brown Setacolor paints. It had already been stamped, giving it a nice subtle texture. I magnified the branchlike appearance by crumpling the wet painted fabric and allowing it to dry in the crumpled state. This causes the paint to be drawn toward the folds as it dries, creating additional branchlike but very subtle texture.

My plan is to gallery wrap this piece, as I doubt I will enter it into any quilt shows. Instead, it is destined for a gallery, and I find things sell a bit better when wrapped on stretcher bars. The finished size will be a bit smaller after I wrap it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Potholders

I wasn't planning to do any Easter baskets this year. All three of our daughters are living independently, but all three have made that transition recently. They will all be coming for Easter brunch.

I came across some really cool folding baskets in a knitting store earlier in the week, and I decided to get one for each of the girls as their Easter basket. I wasn't necessarily planning to put anything in the baskets, but I was cleaning out my studio recently, and came across some old inventory of tie dyed socks. I decided to add them to the Easter baskets.

Then, last week, as Elizabeth was moving out, she asked if she could take some of my potholders. I allowed her to have a couple, but I miss them. Hmmm. I decided to take some time last evening to see how many scrap bag potholders I could put together. I did well. I have enough for each basket and a few more for myself or to set aside for future gifts.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Using up the Dye

I had some dye leftover from the tie dye projects with our houseguests.
My dyed scarf inventory is very depleted, as well, so I took a little time to remedy that situation.
This ori-nui shibori pattern is a favorite, and I enjoy mixing colors directly on the silk. It is a bit tedious, but I think it is worth the extra effort.

These scarves sell for $50. Just last week, I got a phone call from a regular customer who lives about 150 miles away. I selected several I thought might work for her and sent them off via snail mail. She will shop at home and send them back with a check for those she decides to keep. She wanted something specific for a banquet she will be attending next weekend.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Connecticut Cousins Come to Visit

We had a wonderful 4 day visit from my sister, Becky and her delightful family.

Airus, age 22 months and Diego, aged 17 months enjoyed the same toys (they almost look like twins - or at least siblings!)

We had fun tie dyeing shirts, shorts and socks for all the kids. Liliana (3) and Pablo (7) helped me make decisions about colors and patterns, and they did the application of the dyes.

Here they are modeling the first group of warm colored garments. I didn't get photos of the cool colored batch, but they came out just as nicely.

Pablo really enjoyed having lots of time for shooting arrows. He enjoyed shooting at a target near the house. One afternoon, Joe took him on a hike in the woods to see if he could find a deer or wild turkey. No luck.

We had wonderful weather. Sunny with temperatures in the 40's and 50's. There was plenty of opportunity to explore the great outdoors.

The kids played well together and were spontaneously affectionate with each other.

Airus loved getting acquainted with his Uncle Jorge.

We had a sushi feast on our final night together. Above, Jorge, Elizabeth and I are all assembling sushi rolls like mad. It was a fabulous feast enjoyed by all our kids and their significant others.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


In January, I was so inspired by the beauty of the naked branches juxtaposed against the bright white snow. I took a lot of photos of branches and converted several into silk screens, which I printed in winter colors ranging from white to black. While I was printing, I had a vague idea that these would be backgrounds for a pieced image that continued the branch theme. These pieces have been out ever since I printed them.

Sometimes my ideas are not fully developed when I begin. When that is the case, the design wall is a very important tool for my process. Often, when I hang components on the wall and just live with them for a while, the design idea seems to appear in my mind later at some random point in time. Maybe I will suddenly know what I want to do next in the midst of some other project - or I might wake up one morning with a complete vision. The best revelations come when I am not consciously seeking them - when they seem to come from the unconscious.

I've also cut several new stamps, and these two newly printed fabrics are also hanging on my design wall. Waiting for a clearer mental image before I cut into them.

I've been pretty much laid up with a very bad virus. It has really knocked me out and I am not recovering very quickly. I've not gotten much done in the studio recently.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Project Runway at Home

Do not try this at home!

If they offered this warning on one of my favorite TV programs - Project Runway - I missed it.
How unfortunate for me. Maybe I could have saved myself a lot of frustration. My 21 year old daughter, Michelle and I began collaborating on this outfit a while back. The dress was put together previously, but I have always wanted to make it a complete ensemble by adding some sort of jacket or coat. I've had about a dozen strong ideas, but finally opted for a very long, dramatic quilted coat of Habotai silk. The colors are her choice - not mine - offering a unique challenge ( I would probably never put these colors together otherwise!).

I want the finished piece to be worthy of entering in a couple of specific shows I have in mind, so I am taking extra pains with it.

I had to modify my original design on account of a fabric shortage. It is taking flippin' forever to quilt. The thread I started with is no longer available in town, so I have had to alter my quilting and design plan accordingly. And yes, I am working under some time constraints. There will be beading, too!