Cynthia St. Charles Store

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Revisiting Old Work

Searching for a project to launch me into a winter studio routine, I have decided to attack a pile of unfinished fabric collages that I began two years ago.  They have been piled on one of my favorite silk chairs for a long time and it is time to do something with them.  I really cannot remember what I planned for this collage.  It measures about 50 wide x 30 high.   Or I guess it could be vertical.  I know I was working with scraps at the time and that accounts for the random colors and sizes, which I find interesting.  These fabrics are all put down with raw edges exposed, then a free motion zig zag stitch was used around the edges to tack down the raw edges and tie everything together.  

I have several pieces at this stage of development.  The zig zag edge work was done through batting and backing, so they are already well over half done!  I am pondering my next step with this piece.  It is going to be some kind of printing.....Stay tuned.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sorting in the Studio

 Fall is a transitional time for me.  My outdoor activities are limited these days.....the weather is chilly - even cold some days.  We've had some snow and it is time to settle into a studio routine once again.  This is a difficult time for me.  My big looming deadlines have been met and now it is time to turn my attention to doing some work that is meaningful and satisfying.  So.....what would that be?

Will I find a solution in my scrap drawer?  Sometimes that is a good place to begin.  So, I open it up and start sorting scraps out on the work table.  Here are some of the piles.

 I've also found some pieces I have started and then abandoned.  A few of those go into the garbage - something I have been rather ruthless about the past few months.  Time to clear out and make room for fresh new work.  This piece was an experiment - a study of color and value with hand dyed fabric and block printing done a couple of years ago.  It is about 70 x 18".  I put it on the design wall and take a picture. 
I don't really see this one going anywhere........I hate to discard that much fabric, but I am not sure it is any better if I cut it apart......  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

 On our way home from Illinois, we also visited Badlands National Park in South Dakota.  It was a quick visit - we only had time to drive the loop.  We were disappointed there was not more sun to light up the badlands, but the sky was amazing.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sandhills Sunrise

After spending the night in Valentine, Nebraska, we left before dawn and enjoyed watching the sun come up over the sandhills as we drove.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sandhills Sunset

 These pictures were also taken out the window of the car as we drove through the Sandhills in Nebraska.  We were treated to a stunning sunset.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Sandhills of Nebraska

 On our way home from Illinois last month, we drove through the Sandhills of Nebraska.  The Sandhills National Landmark covers about 1/4th of the state of Nebraska.  It is a giant sand dune that is covered in native grasses which are sustained by the Oglala Aquifer - a massive underground water body.  Very little of this grassland has ever been cultivated.
 We were racing against the sun to get to our destination - Valentine, Nebraska, so we didn't stop to take pictures of the vast grassland.
 Joe snapped these images out the window as I drove.  The light was very low and the colors were amazing (maybe the pictures don't do it justice).  It was sort of surreal.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Scorpion in my Studio

Just a few days ago, I was stepping in through my studio door and right near the threshold, I spotted this creature.  It was already dead.  It seems odd that a scorpion would live in Montana, but the Northern Scorpion apparently lives around sandstone cliffs in the Billings area.

This is only the third time we have seen a scorpion since moving here in 2001.  The others were much smaller (and were also found inside the house, by the way).  I imagine it was seeking a spot to hibernate when it crawled in under the weatherstripping on the door.  It looks like it has been stepped on. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Binding Fabric Printed

I did not have enough fabric left over to make the binding, so I had to paint and print some more to get the right colors to blend with the quilt.  This is as far as I am going to take you with this piece.  It is for an invitation challenge and I am not supposed to show the finished piece on my blog before the debut.

At least, I think this is probably the piece I will enter.  In the end I am satisfied with the block printing that I was second guessing during the process.  I think it will look even better once it is bound.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quilted Cottonwoods

 Above is a detail of the quilting on the trees against the sky.  Below is a detail of the quilting done in the water area.  I really struggled with the color selection for the thread.  In the end I went with one that has green in it (and also pink, yellow, and purple).  I would have liked the colors to be a bit more pale, but again - wanted to use what I had on hand.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Printed and Quilted Reflection

OK, so here we have it on the design wall - I did not take any photos of it as I printed the trees or worked on the quilting, but I did make all new Thermofax screens of three different trees for this piece.  I felt I needed a larger scale of printed trees than what I had on hand.  These are about 16" tall.  Here it is on the design wall after printing and quilting.  I am deciding how to crop it and have folded the bottom edge up to judge the proportions.  I am still uncertain I about the block printing - especially the water - which I believe is overly green. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Block Printing the Sunset

 At this point, I am wondering if I have made a mistake with my block printing color choices.  I wanted to distinguish between the sky and the water.  I found I did not have the colors on hand that I would have preferred for this, so I used what was available in my studio.  I am now wondering if the sky is too coppery and the water is too green...... these two colors are almost at opposite sides of the color original idea was to have the sky and water just slightly different from each other.
 Above and blow are the sky prints.

 Above and below are the water prints. 
 And here is the full view:
This piece is about 28 x 72"  I am not sure this is going to work, but I am going to forge ahead with it.  It has already been scrapped once and I am not ready to scrap it again (yet).