Cynthia St. Charles Store

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gelatin Plate Prints - Sunflowers!

The sunflowers in my yard have been prolific and resilient against the drought and voracious grasshoppers! I decided to try to capture the last few rays of summer with another batch of gelatin plate prints.
The sunflowers were added after the leaves were dry. I need to decide soon if I want flowers printed on the other two leaf prints. Soon the frost will make the sunflowers disappear until next summer!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our Bear Came Back

He was covered with burrs, and still looking for grub.

The newspaper published an article indicating that one of our neighbors shot this bear at 1 a.m. The wounded bear climbed a tree on their property and then a warden from the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks department arrived at 3 am. The warden shot the bear out of the tree and killed it.

I feel very sad about this. The neighbor who shot the bear felt it was a nuisance because it had gotten into their garbage. I don't really understand why they wouldn't just put the garbage inside so the bear would not be tempted!

I was afraid something like this would happen, but I was hoping the bear visiting our place was an isolated incident. We did not see the bear again after the apples were all gone from our tree.

I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe this animal twice from the safety of our home. The newspaper article stated this male bear weighed between 180 and 200 lbs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rust Dyed Placemats

I have been procrastinating about this project for quite a while, but it was really starting to bother me - not having a way to set a nice table that looks like it belongs in my lovely redecorated kitchen and dining room. Besides, the blue and yellow placemats I have been using for the past 15 years are starting to show wear on the binding (I am really amazed by the way they have lasted - they are washed at least once a week!)
I wanted to use up some of my scraps, and wanted to limit myself to using only scraps of fabric that I have dyed or painted or discharged. I wanted to use rust dyed fabric, because that is what I used to make the valance in the kitchen. I wanted to mix in some black because my new china is black. After sorting through the scrap bin, I discovered I did not really have a lot of small scraps of my own hand dyed, printed, discharged fabrics. I started sewing strips together, anyway, and then cut them down to a 3 1/2 inch width and kept sewing, making a long strip. This was pieced into the larger pieces of rust dyed fabric.

Here is the table runner (Above) before quilting.

The quilting was a bit of a dilemma. I knew I would have to use the walking foot and not free motion, because I always have a big problem with thread breakage doing free motion with rust dyed fabrics. I am usually pretty successful with the walking foot on rust dyed fabric, though, so that was the plan. I just opted for doing a variety of channel quilting styles. I knew I should keep it simple and as open as possible so that the texture of the rust dyed fabrics is not overwhelmed. I wanted to use black thread because my dishes are black. I didn't measure or mark for the quilting - just started stitching and I got some kind of wonky results. I don't mind this and by the time they are finished and the table is set, I am hoping they will look funky and contemporary.I have two more placemats and a table runner to finish the quilting on - then I will bind them with solid black - which will look striking with my black dishes, I think.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Extraordinary in the Ordinary Challenge

WAV Challenge

The local art group I participate in has a challenge - the title / theme is "Extraordinary in the Ordinary". The size - it must be mounted on a 2 x 3' stretched canvas. This is the piece (above) I plan to do for the challenge. My gelatin prints are each about 12 x 18", so I needed to add something to the bottom to meet the size requirement. Good thing - I think the strips on the bottom add a lot. I will begin quilting as soon as I finish another little home dec project I am working on.Here is a detail of the screen printed bottom fabric strip. The background was painted with Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints. The Thermofax screen is adapted from a photo I took of a hedge located in Harlotown, MT.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mail Art Project - Week Fifty Two

"Black Cow"
Hand dyed cotton, Thermofax screen printed with a screen created from my photograph of a grazing angus at my parent's ranch. Machine quilted.

Today's Quote:

"I don't believe that you have to be a cow
to know what milk is."
-Ann Landers-

Extra postcards are going out this week to Danna in Syracuse, Kansas; to Mrs. Skauge's 3rd Grade class c/o Abby in Blaine, MN; to Pandy in Goodyear, Arizona and to Darleen in Rigby, Idaho!

If you have not already done so, I invite you to email your full name and mailing address to me at Please put "Mail Art" in the subject line.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Progress with Beet Prints

Several weeks ago, I did a series of gelatin plate prints using beet plants.
I really love the way they turned out and I am motivated to get them into some finished work.
I got the border attached to this group of four and am happy with it so far.

I wish the top right panel was not so light, but I think I can fix this with the quilting lines.

I am mulling how I will quilt this piece - what color thread, etc. I usually use thread that blends, however, I am toying with using black to create an outline. This would be a distinct diversion from my usual.

It seems like a big risk for such a big piece. I might try my idea out first with a smaller piece - like this one (need to add a border first, I think).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

SAQA Online Auction

The Studio Art Quilt Association Online Fundraiser kicked off last week.
I was thrilled that my piece (above) sold the very first day,
earning a generous $750 for the organization!

I was even more thrilled that the buyer is a collector. I have admired her collection for quite a few years - what a thrill to have work in her collection! She purchased this piece anonymously, so I do not think I can reveal the buyer at this time. When she announces it, I will also announce it.

There are two more weeks of opportunities to own a wonderful piece of textile art
in a very popular 12 x 12" size. Here is the link to the auction.

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Backyard Black Bear Pictures

Here is a picture of the bear as we first saw it out the window - raiding the birdfeeders.

The bear then wandered over to the steel bins we store petfood and birdseed in. The bear rolled them across the patio, then proceeded to tip it over and pried the lid off with it's teeth. Pretty impressive.
We tried hazing it away, but it was not very afraid of us. It just looked at us. Hungry, I guess.

By the time the bear wandered out front to the apple tree, it was starting to get pretty dark. I shot these pictures from the veranda with a telephoto lens. Not the best photos, but I love the way it stood to reach the branches.

It also climbed into the tree several times.

We really enjoyed watching the antics of this bear so close to our house!

I had dreams about bears all night long after this bear visit!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Backyard Black Bear

This beautiful black near visited our backyard recently. I was sitting at the kitchen table about 7 PM, when I saw it nearby - out the window. It was standing on it's hind legs, batting at the birdfeeder, which fell to the ground. When the bear was unable to get any seed out of the feeder, it wandered towards the house (only about 15 feet), where it rubbed up against the window as it nudged the bin we use to store birdseed and pet food.

After slobbering on the window, the bear proceeded to tip over the pet food bin and at that point, we decided to try hazing it away.
The bear was not very fearful and even though we shouted and threw things at it, it lingered. Finally it walked away around the house. Later, we discovered it was at the old apple tree out front.
We watched this bear climb the tree several times eating apples. We thought it left after that, but we later discovered it had gotten into our trash bin out in the cul-de-sac (we have never had any creature disturb our trash before! ) Everything is now safely stowed away in the shop under lock and key. This bear may return sometime soon, but we won't have anything for it to eat!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tioga Lake in Yosemite National Park

Tioga Lake is located just east of the Yosemite Park Entrance.
These pictures were taken just after sunrise. Stunning!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ellery Lake

One of the biggest challenges to visiting Yosemite National Park is finding a place to sleep!
This year, many of the campgrounds and even one of the lodges were still closed in July on account of snow! There has also been a big scam with the online booking for campgrounds - someone bought up all the Yosemite campsites within minutes of the website opening - and then they were scalping them at outrageous prices on Craigslist (I heard the story on NPR).
I had carefully researched campgrounds on the outer fringes of the park. We knew it would be nearly impossible to find a spot, but we timed our arrival around noon (check out time for campgrounds). Even though the sign at Ellery Lake Campground said it was full, we took a chance and drove in to look around. Surprisingly, there were only 14 spots in the entire campground, but there were two open ones!
We felt very lucky to have a place to pitch our tent. And it was a beautiful spot, too! These pictures were taken at dawn the morning we left.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mail Art Project - Week Fifty One

"Satin Stitch"
I inherited my mother-in-law's satin fabric collection. She died before I met my husband, Joe.
Her hobby was making satin pillowcases, and she had a vast collection of entire bolts of synthetic satin. I've used this fabric to make a few quilts. I used scraps from those quilts to make this group of postcards. Strips of satin machine stitched together, then hand embroidered.

Today's Quote:

"Age is an issue of mind over matter.
If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
-Mark Twain-

Extra postcards are going out this week to Del in Placentia, California
and Eileen in Oak Ridge, North Carolina

I am still seeking names and mailing addresses for my Mail Art Project.
Just send me an email with your mailing information and I will add you to the weekly drawing!
Please put Mail Art in the subject line.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Picnic in Yosemite National Park

We found this stump a ways off the road in Yosemite, where we set up our little barbeque grill and cooked some burgers. No need for a picnic table!

We drove past Tenaya Lake four times.
We didn't do the hike around the lake.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taft Point in Yosemite National Park

The two mile hike to Taft Point was another favorite for us.
This trail took us out to one of the tall cliffs across from El Capitan.
With great valley views.

These cracks or fissures, well eroded - were really interesting. They seem to run through the entire vertical surface.

This view shows El Capitan across the Yosemite Valley. (both above and below)

An amazing overlook!