Cynthia St. Charles Store

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Glue Gel Resist - A New Series!Recently, I was going through a box of gelatin plate prints and I came across a large piece of white cotton. I had drawn an animal shape on it in glue gel several years ago. For some reason, it had never been painted (I wasn't really doing much with glue gel or paint back then). I liked the way it looked and decided to try painting it first chance I had.

I had to wait for warm weather. It is so large that I would need to use the library tables in the shop for a work surface, and there is no climate control out in the shop.

Finally, some mild weather arrived and I was able to paint it. I never dreamed I would be painting animals, but there is something about this piece that really excites me - and it doesn't even have the glue washed out yet! I think it is going to be stunning when the glue is gone and I get it quilted!

  1. The success of this piece inspired me to try my hand at a couple of others - so now I have a new series in progress!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yellow Pea

The hillside to the east - the one we see out our kitchen / family room windows is covered with this wildflower - the Yellow Pea.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More New Printing Blocks

I have been inspired by my research into the work of Henri Matisse. He was an artist after my own heart! He started out to be a lawyer, but he discovered painting as a pastime during an illness. When he recovered, he decided to become an artist instead of a lawyer.

He worked experimentally throughout his long career. His focus was always on color. He died just a few years before I was born, and was still creating art into his 90's. As he grew older, he found detailed painting a challenge, so he began cutting paper he had painted and pasting bold shapes onto a painted canvas. Also, he started making prints or serigraphs.

Some of his most popular works are these abstract expressionist works done late in life.

These printing blocks were inspired by some of Matisse's later works, which featured free form shapes.
I recently ordered a lot of rubber gasket material online. I was disappointed when it arrived - it is about half as thick as the product I usually use. However, I discovered that it is super easy to cut with scissors - so I've done just that - random primitive shape cutting inspired by Matisse's work.

I dug through my scrap drawer to find a wide variety of fabric colors for backgrounds. Below is a grouping of random individual prints I did. I stuck them up on the design wall. I will have to play around with them for a while to come up with an arrangement I am satisfied with.

I printed enough to do a series! So this is a beginning . . . .
This piece has already been stitched together . . . more will be added later, I am sure - probably a background or border and binding..
Right now this piece measure 15" x 80"!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Daisy Prinitng Blocks

I am enjoying the daisies blooming outside the front door.
I thought I should creates some printing blocks in a flower shape.
Mostly, I just used leftover rubber that had been cut away while creating other blocks. I cut the petals with scissors. I'd already attached double stick carpet tape to the back, so I only had to remove the paper and put the pieces in place on the wood block.

I thought I would give them a try on this piece of hand dyed fabric.

The green leaves kind of disappear . . . but they can be brought to life with stitching. I like these new printing blocks!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Apple Blossoms

Our home is high and dry. We get about 8" of precipitation per year and we don't have a well, so it is difficult to grow anything other than the native plants that are here.

The guy who developed this place 30 years ago told us that he came to our little box canyon for picnics when he was a youngster. I am sure the apple tree that is here was "planted" years ago when someone threw away an apple core after a picnic.

It is some kind of antique variety. The apples are not very good. It only bears fruit on alternating years. Often, we don't have good blossoms because the spring storms destroy the flowers before the bees can pollinate them. This year, though, the tree is covered in blossoms and buzzing with bees.

The deer keep this tree well pruned around the bottom.

I know an apple tree is nothing special to a lot of people, but this tree is something I really enjoy - year round! I am so happy to have a "wild" apple tree just outside my studio door!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dragonfly Colors

I thought I would use orange dragonflies on the Yellow Roses piece. Orange was the color I happened to have on hand. But after looking at it on my design wall for a while, I wondered if another color might be nicer.
So, I made some dragonflies in different colors. The blue ones kind of disappear, but I like them against the yellow flowers.
These red-violet dragonflies are also a bit more subtle. I am leaning towards subtle. I feel like the orange kind of overpowers the very subtle details of the block printing and quilting in the background. Opinions? It is always interesting to hear what others think.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Salvaged Threads Online

The Salvaged Threads show had great success at Toucan Gallery. 6 of the 22 quilts in the show sold! The remaining pieces have been posted on the Salvaged Threads blog, where they are available for sale!

See the Salvaged Threads show online here!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fiber Expressions Curator / WAV gift

Our small art quilt group - WAV has been together since July 2004. Our first official group show was held last January and I acted as curator - organizing all the details. I have also taken a fair amount of responsibility for the group through the years, always making sure there was a meeting place and that everyone was notified in advance.

We met last Sunday, and I received this most precious surprise - a group gift acknowledging my contributions to the success of the group!

I have never seen such an interesting book design before! Beautifully constructed by Kathy Hammond!

Individual pages were created by each person involved with the Fiber Expressions show - including the curator of the gallery! What a treasure!

I had chills when I opened the book to see each unique, personal, and meaningful page!

Isn't this amazing?

Each page is a 6" square.

Here it is all opened up! Isn't it amazing? It measures 84" in length.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stitching added

It has been a busy week with lots of distractions, but I have been intermittently quilting the Yellow Roses piece and now it is finished. This was a lot of fun to quilt, actually. I am considering adding some screen printed butterflies or dragonflies next.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Auditioning Insects

As I proceed with my plans for this piece, I have created special insect screens in the correct proportions.

Not sure . . . I think the fritillaries overpower the fabric.

I like the muted color of the dragonfly better. If I use this insect, I will have to add some highlights with a black fabric marker or touch up with black paint.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yellow Rose Print

I liked the red rose print so well that I decided to try making it again in another colorway. This background was painted with purple, turquoise, and cyan blue.

I am really happy with this piece.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Block Printed Fabric - Leaves

What a difference a leaf makes!

I carved new leaf stamps especially for this piece. I feel like the leaves really bring this piece to life!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Urban Colors

I previously posted an image of this piece -before quilting. I also posted a couple of 12" trial pieces as I attempted to decide on a quilting plan.

One of the things I really love about this piece is the way the colors have blended together. I wanted to create a quilting design that did not detract from the movement of the color from one color block to another.

So, I opted for a very simple grid - and vertical plus horizontal lines.

Above, you can see the entire piece. It measures 34 x 60". I really love the proportions of this piece. However, I am bothered by the big red space in the lower left quarter. I am not sure what happened . . . I must have gotten distracted when I was drawing the design with glue gel, because there is not the detail in this space that the rest of the piece has . . . and I don't know why I chose to paint that big space red! Sigh! I am thinking about cropping away the lower 1/3 of the piece to remove most of the red space.
I am not sure that is a good solution, though, because there isn't really a natural place to crop away the bottom. It looks wrong to me to have just the top of a building showing or to have a door cut in half . . . I have played around with this quite a bit and I am vacillating. I would like to bind it in the next couple of days because I am thinking about entering it in a show with a rapidly approaching deadline.

Impressions? I would love a little input. Thanks!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rose Garden Fabric

Today, I started by painting on natural cotton with Setacolor transparent paints in turquoise, pernod, cobalt and ultramarine.
Below is a detail of the dried fabric.

Next, I block printed with shades of green, using a variety of foliage inspired blocks.

Then, I printed in shades of red and yellow.
I am calling this my rose garden piece.

I probably will screen print some butterflies next - or possibly more leaves in a bolder style - maybe larger or darker . . . . My plan for this piece is for it to become a couple of whole cloth works - perhaps gallery wrapped on stretched canvas.

I am always amazed and delighted with the way the printing transforms the surface of the fabric! At the same time, a part of me grieves the loss of that beautiful underlying fabric I painted in the first step. . . . !

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

April Village Continued

A few weeks ago, I posted images of this piece after I had block printed it. At that time, I was not sure I would like the results.
Yesterday, I washed out the glue gel and this is how it looks now!

I was initially hesitant to add the printing to a piece I already liked a lot, but I am pleased with the results now that the glue gel resist is gone. It seems even more playful! This piece is rather large - about 60" - almost square. I look forward to the quilting, even though it will be a lot of bulk under the machine.

Monday, May 4, 2009


This past week, I have attached labels to 27 quilts! These are pieces of various sizes that have been finished since January 2009. I don't enjoy attaching labels - in part because it involves committing to a name for a piece.

I print my labels on the computer, using fusible computer printer fabric. Then, I hand stitch around the edges with a herringbone stitch.

The labels are really important to help me keep track of my work - when it was made, etc. Now all my finished work is ready for shows or galleries as things come up.