Cynthia St. Charles Store

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pueblo Pesquero Mexicano

Pueblo Pesquero Mexicano
This piece is now showing at the Fall International Quilt Festival in Houston. It measures 48" x 57" and is a hand painted glue gel resisted whole cloth quilt. It is part of the Festival Gallery of Quilt Art: Town and Country. As part of this exhibit, it will be shown in various venues over the next three years. There is also a CD catalog of the exhibit being sold. I had a preview of the CD and it is phenomenal. I feel so honored to be included in the exhibit.

The imagery on this piece was inspired by a trip to the Mexican fishing village of Puerto Penasco - or Rocky Point. My sister has property there, and we spent Spring Break together there a few years ago. I used my photos of the village as a visual guide for the shapes of the buildings and the color scheme. My photos were taken from the boat as we went out for deep sea fishing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tactile Architecture -

It Takes A VillageI finished this piece during a period of family stress when my daughter and infant grandson lived with us. At that time, I was living the African proverb:
"It takes a village to raise a child". I was very involved in caring for Airus while Elizabeth, as single mother, completed her studies and established her massage therapy practice.

I had a lot of difficulty executing my idea of painting on fabric between the resist lines, which had been done using Elmers blue glue gel. My paints ran and I seriously considered tossing this piece in the trash. Instead, I decided to continue to work with it as an experimental piece, completing it back in March 2007.

I entered it in the Tactile Architecture show that premiers at the 2008 International Quilt Festival in Houston. It was accepted, and has even been featured in several advertisements and the catalog for the International Quilt Festival. I am glad I didn't toss it, and also appreciate the many people who offered suggestions in troubleshooting the quilting, etc.

The success of this piece inspired me to do more pieces in a similar technique, style, and process. This past summer -while the weather was warm, I painted about a dozen different scenes and now they are awaiting the next step in the process. This winter, I will get them quilted and hopefully ready to enter someplace or other!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Journal Quilt Project II: Elements - Earth, Water, Air and Fire

The International Quilt Festival in Houston is opening this week. My entry in the 2008 Journal Quilt Project was accepted, so will be displayed with the others at that show.
We are asked not to show our entries before the show, but now that IQF has opened, it's OK to publish it.

I've been working on a series in which I attempt to use a hand cut rubber stamp to convey an idea or impression when printed on fabric - a very simple idea - rather challenging to execute.

As I thought about the theme - Elements - Earth, Water, Air and Fire - I sketched some lines that might be interesting as a printing block. In doing so, I realized that the same lines could convey each of the elements depending on orientation and color. This particular piece includes only three of the four elements - Fire, Earth, and Water - which is the title of this piece.

My embellishments are meant to continue the idea that where the elements meet - something tangible is created with the two elements. I've stitched stone chips between the fire and earth elements and seashells between the earth and water elements.

I feel very fortunate to have my piece accepted into the exhibit. There were a lot of entries.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wolf Spider

While trying to identify the spider on my front porch, I came across a fabulous website devoted to spiders. Link here:


I sent the website owner my pictures and he identified my big spider as a Wolf Spider.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gigantic Spider

Warning! This image may be disturbing to those who fear spiders.

We get these gigantic spiders at our place. This one was on the exterior wall next to the front door. I've never seen a spider this big anywhere. They don't appear frequently. Perhaps we see one per year near the house. However, this is the third one I've seen this year. I am surprised that it survived our 20 inch snow storm a few weekends ago. It seems quite healthy.

I've looked through all my books repeatedly trying to identify it. The closest I have come is that it appears to be some kind of wolf spider and there are many types of wolf spiders. My book says they don't get bigger than 1 1/4", though. It is plain to see that this creature is significantly larger than that.

Another really remarkable thing about these spiders is their disposition.
Most spiders will flee if you get close to them, but these guys just stay put. I was able to place the ruler right next to it without disturbing it, in fact, it moved closer to the ruler after I put it in place.Anyone know what this spider might be? I'd love to know.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Counting and Stitching

I've spent a good deal of time counting out small items to stitch onto tiny little quilts. There is a method to my madness, but I won't reveal it right now. I've limited myself to scraps for this particular piece, and I am very pleased with the result.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stay at Home Artist Retreat

Joe left on Sunday morning for a week of bird hunting with his brother in central Montana.

This means I have been alone with my art for three days. It has been a very productive time with a good flow of ideas and rapid progress on multiple pieces. No need to stop to cook dinner. I don't even have to think about food if I don't want to. No distractions. Only my own inner voice to listen to - and it seems to want to be heard.

Even NPR has lost its appeal - this week they are fundraising and I can't bear to listen to the announcers ramble aimlessly as they try to attract pledges.

I'm not saying I would want this much quiet in my life always. It is just a really nice autumn respite for me and I am enjoying it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

City Color

I've been doing an extensive series of architectural pieces. This small piece (21 x 20") was a preliminary study for process and design troubleshooting for several much larger pieces in the works.

All this work with architectural imagery is quite an artistic subject diversion for me. I've been pondering the reason for that and have arrived at the conclusion that I am currently in the process of restructuring (rebuilding or constructing) my life.
An empty nest . . . a new business . . . . . very big changes in my identity.
My work has always been an extension of my inner life.

The good news is that my inner life looks pretty darn happy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ancient Graffiti

I've been machine quilting this whole cloth piece - part of an architectural series I have been doing in this technique (Elmers Glue Gel Resist and fabric paint). I screen printed it with images from my photographs of petroglyphs I have visited, as well as some text of ancient languages - Native American, Far Eastern, and Middle Eastern languages.

I am not posting the full image - on the chance that I might be inclined to enter it in a show at some point. Some show sponsors require that the quilt must not have been shown previously - even on your own blog or website!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ready for Quilting

I spent a good portion of a day pinning a bunch of whole cloth hand painted pieces. Nine of them, actually. Some are fairly small, while others are more like 60" - good sized. I have plenty of work ready for machine stitching now, whenever I have the opportunity.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Speaking of Trees . . .

While the trees outside our house are falling down under the weight of an autumn snowstorm, I find myself cozy in my studio building a few new trees of my own!

I hand stamped the background fabric last winter, but a lack of suitable bark fabric caused me to set the project aside. Last week, while the temperatures were in the 80's, I spent a lot of time out in the shop painting large pieces of fabric.

The bark fabric turned out perfect!

It was spatter painted with very dilute Setacolor transparent and opaque paints, then printed with one of my hand cut rubber stamps.

The next step is to screen print the birds in place on the branches.
I am in a bit of a dilemma - debating about whether to print chickadees or blackbirds. Since I've already done one with chickadees, I am leaning toward the blackbirds.
A second dilemma is what season? My original designs were for winter. This is the third in a series and the first two depicted birds in winter. I am contemplating making this one a fall piece by adding some Tyvek leaves. . . stay tuned.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

October Snow

It started snowing on Friday and hasn't stopped (today is Sunday). They are predicting this storm to continue through Monday. So far we've lost two trees (pines) off the back patio. I took the photo above from the back door.

At this point, about 24" have accumulated at our place. Because the storm began as rain, the heavy wet snow has stuck to the trees - weighing them down beyond their capacity. Deciduous trees have not even begun turning color yet, and branches are coming down in a big way. All those leaves covered with snow.

This tree next to the shop was really hanging low when we got up and at mid morning, it snapped - just missing the shop.

So far, no power outages for us yet. I know there have been a lot of problems in the area, though.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Handbags

I am still plugging away on the quilted handbags that I make periodically out of fabric scraps. I store all my scraps in a large plastic tub and when I gets full, I sort them into color families and sew together randomly.

Once I have a big enough rectangle, it is quilted, then I add a pocket, zipper, straps, and lining with a pocket. I make a beaded zipper pull for each one. I don't use a specific pattern. I have just worked out my own through trial and error. No two bags are alike. I just make various sizes and shapes, which helps keep me from getting totally bored with the process (it is still pretty repetitious).
This is the black group. Most of them have been enhanced with stamped fabric paints. I've made about 40 of these so far in the past month. They generate a little income through a couple of different outlets.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall Colors

The fall colors are just starting to change here in Montana. I was inspired to paint a few backgrounds for winter projects.

Here are a couple of detail shots of one piece.

My clothesline is strung between two pine trees behind the house. The chokecherries nearby are starting to show some color.

Friday, October 3, 2008


We live in a rather arid climate here on the hills above Billings, Montana.
I mean, we have scorpions and lizards (neither of which I ever saw growing up in the lush Gallatin Valley near Bozeman, Montana).
We did have a big rain a few weeks ago, though and apparently, some mushroom spores had a chance to take hold on the edge of our driveway.

What a surprise to find such large healthy mushroom specimens in our environment.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Citrus Cooler

Little White Lines SeriesThis piece was painted with thickened MX dyes after the Elmers Glue gel lines dried. I made an effort to mix the colors by painting "outside the lines".

Unintentionally, the colors are very citrus like and thus the name "Citrus Cooler". I really enjoy the hand stitching and embellishing with buttons. This is somehow very satisfying to me.

  • This little piece is only 19 x 18".