Cynthia St. Charles Store

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Garden Visitor

 I was thrilled to catch a shot of this hummer flitting through the garden.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Naturalizing with Iris

These two clumps are looking good along the driveway.  They are never watered other than what falls from the sky.  I did pull the weeds that were invading them, but other than that - no care.  Awesome!  My plan is that whenever I need to divide or move an iris clump, I will plug it in somewhere and let it fend for itself!  Tough little plants.  Gotta love them.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris - Cat's Eye

 This is a very showy iris across the garden.  Red iris are very rare and many hybridizers are trying to create one.  This one was introduced by Paul Black in 2002.  It has been sort of slow to establish and I am hoping for a nice clump someday.  I would plant it in other spots if I had enough increases - I really like the color.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Banded Tiger - Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris

I have two nice clumps of this one.  It is taller than some of the other dwarf iris and it makes a striking clump.  It was introduced by Schmieder in 2006.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dwarf Bearded Iris - Rosalie Loving

Rosalie Loving is a Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris introduced by Spoon 2003.  It can be a rebloomer.  It is a strong grower for me in Montana Zone 4.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dwarf Bearded Iris Zoomboomafoo

 Photos taken at two different times.  The light has a real impact on how an iris looks.  Bottom line - this colorful little iris looks great in any light!
Zoomboomafoo was introduced by Paul Black in 2007.  It is 14" tall.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Miniature Dwarf Bearded Iris - Delft Elf

 I have a little clump of "Delft Elf" near the door to my studio.   It struggles - mainly because in the heat of summer, my dog sometimes decides to dig a bed in the soil there.  I love the dainty little flowers!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Seedling Beds

 Last fall, I finished building the seedling beds below the driveway.  I am a little astonished by how quickly they fill up with a few little seeds!   I was hoping I could do with just this set of seedling beds, but I may have to build more.  Groan....

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Germinating Iris Seeds

I've had these iris seeds in the refrigerator in moist peat moss for many weeks hoping they would sprout.  So excited to see these little babies germinating.  I have begun planting them in the seedling bed.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

i. lutescens

 I really love this species iris, native to Crimea.  It is called i. lutescens.  I have naturalized with it all around the driveway.  One of the first iris to open in the early spring.  It was first identified in 1789.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Spring! Apple Tree

I love this old apple tree with it's very wonky (many) trunks and strange shape.  It is happy this year!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

More Work on the Elements

I like the circles and I think the white strips are necessary.  I am now struggling with the yellow vertical lines in the lower right.  I feel something should be there to balance the bright pop of color in the upper left corner.  I think maybe less strips or maybe a more muted color....  Am I getting close?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On the Design Wall - Stepping Back

OK, so I finally feel like I am close enough that I can put this up on the design wall and stand back to look.  Again, sorry for the photo quality - still using the tablet!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Getting Closer

Still working on the table - which is difficult - but I feel like I am making progress in formulating my ideas and strategy.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Still Playing with Elements

I am digging through my pre-fused scraps trying to come up with some elements that are harmonious, yet interesting......

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Dye Patterns on the Work Table

I've moved this piece to the work table and have trimmed the height to 41".  It still has the width because I am not sure yet where it should be cropped.  In this orientation, I am playing around with some additional elements that might bring it to life.  You can get a closer view of the quilting details.  The largest section - mulit-colored is raw silk.  The other fabrics are cotton.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dye Patterns in the Running

Here is another UFO.  It is about 45 x 60", shown here cropped with photo editing to about 45 x 45".  The quilting has already been done and it was trimmed, but not bound. I was experimenting with using some of my surface design fabrics in large patches.  I feel that the fabrics are interesting on their own.  Interesting and exciting to me, anyway and finding a way to combine them was challenging.

This one was put aside because I was not sure it was dynamic enough.  I think it might work for the Dinner@Eight challenge.  I would call it Dye Patterns or something like that.  All the fabrics are different types of surface design with dye.  I am thinking maybe I can give it more life with some added elements that will create even more patterns.  The two circles and vertical strip of white print are just pinned in place on the design wall as I consider my options.

I apologize for the quality of the photo.  I did not have my SLR and was using my tablet.  The tablet is a great tool for working through imagery on the design wall, but the photos are too low res for the web. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Demolition Series Under Consideration

This series dates back probably 4 years or more.  I was doing a lot of deconstructed screen printing and  was so crazy about it.  It is difficult to work with the fabric to create a final piece, though.  I tried and had some minor success.  This is one that I put together, layered, pinned, and set aside.  It is overprinted with a Thermofax screen that was created using the imagery from the deconstructed prints.  It is plenty big and could be trimmed to 40 x 40.  Trimming it to square would give it better balance.  This is one piece from the UFO box that would actually be improved by cropping.  I would remove from the white side.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Deconstructed Dandelions 40 x 40?

Rummaging around in boxes, I found this piece.  It is already partly quilted.  It is deconstructed printing and submersible dye printed fabrics cut in crazy random triangles and collaged.  I block printed some leaves because it said Dandelions to me.  So - I made a leaf block and printed away.  There is not a good defined pattern here.  It does meet the 40" criteria.  I think I could quilt the design in black and make the dandelion and leaf imagery pop.  But I found others in the box of UFO's!  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Blue Rhapsody Printed

 I decided to run with the idea of printing a number of the same block - varying the colors.  I thought it might be more modern if I printed on a white background.  I dunno - the square format for this block sort of falls flat to my eye.  What do you think?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Rhapsody in Color - Design Idea for "Pattern"

This piece is finished.  It measures 56 x 31", so it cannot be used for the exhibition in question.  However - I do like this quite a lot.  It is dramatic and has movement in spite of the fact it is the same block printed repeatedly.  I could do something like this in a 40 x 40" square. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Black, White and Red

This piece was started 4 years ago as part of a series that stalled out.  It is complete - quilted and all, but needs to be trimmed, bound and have a sleeve added.  I got excited when I measured the height - 40".  But I cannot make it 40" in width unless the red squares are bisected.  (the printing block is not actually square, but is 4" x 3 3/4".  Thus - the quilt cannot be trimmed to a square.  At least, not nicely.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Painted Doodles

This whole cloth piece fits the theme of "Pattern" but it is too small and would require a border of a few inches.  I doodled with resist and painted with fabric paints.  I have always loved this piece of fabric, but it looks too sloppy to me now.  The paint ran and I am not sure it is up to my standards as a stand alone piece.  This one was probably painted 8 years ago,

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Montana Mudcloth in Vertical Mode

Is it any better in this orientation?

This piece is one that was originally printed with the idea of slicing between the printed rows and inserting contrasting strips.  I never intended it as a whole cloth piece. However, once finished, I fell in love with it as a whole cloth rectangle.  I don't care for it nearly so much as a square.  I have thought about cutting it into quarters and rotating them to make something a little more dynamic.  I think I could use some daring colors on the inserts to make it come alive, too.  I am reluctant to cut it up, but I can probably man up and do it.  .......

More choices coming up. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Montana Mudcloth in the Running

 I really loved this piece when I printed it several years ago.  The fabric was eco dyed using wild sunflowers.  I carved a series of printing blocks with this format in mind.  Once it was printed I admired it on my design wall until I needed the wall space for something else and then it went into a drawer for 3 or 4 years.  This whole cloth piece could be easily quilted up and bound and ready to go.  It easily fits the theme "Pattern".  It easily fits the 40x40 dimensions. It is actually a rectangle, so several inches would be cut off to make the 40 x 40" size.
But is it too dull?  Too drab?  Too simple?  These are the questions I ask myself as I consider it.  Tomorrow I will post it in a different orientation with some of my other ideas for making it more artful.  Interested in your ideas, in the meantime.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Looming Deadline Forces Decision

 I have been fortunate to be invited to present an entry for the Dinner@Eight annual exhibitions over the past 6 years or more.  I always jump at the opportunity because it is such a great group of artists.  There is always a theme and a size restriction.  This year the theme is "Pattern" and the size is 40 x 40".  We are given advance notice of about a year to create our entry.

Usually, I have something done well in advance of the entry date, but this year I have barely been in the studio, and when I have been in the studio I am working in Mixed media - not fabric, and not making anything even remotely right for the theme or size.

A few months ago, I began pulling UFO's out of the drawers and closet to see if I might have something already on the way to meeting the criteria and satisfying my critical eye.

This is one of the first things I came across.  Probably printed this 4 years ago or more.  It is appealing because it measures 40 x 40".  It is problematic because it will be smaller after quilting and I don't see a border being beneficial to this design.  I put this one away, but recently pulled it out again, along with some other possibilities - which I will present here on the blog this week. 

I usually do not solicit input, but I am really not "into" the process this time around.  Input welcome. 

I think I can do better than this.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Zebra Iris

I like the way the late afternoon sun lights up these iris fans.  This iris is known as Zebra.  My maternal grandmother raised these iris in her yard.  I am so thrilled to have them growing in mine!  (these were handed down through the generations).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Golden Pea

This wildflower is a legume which I have identified as Golden Pea.  It blooms right after the daffodils.  It is happy on the hillside and the deer don't eat it (I believe it is poison to them).  I have used this plant for eco dyeing.  It made some nice soft yellow fabric.

Friday, April 22, 2016


First time for this to be blooming at my house!  It is called Epimedium.  I  planted this perennial last summer in a dry shady area.  I am so excited to see it blooming - so delicate.  Flowers are about 1/2" diameter.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Miniature Dwarf Bearded Iris - Veri Gay

So tiny.  It is only about 5" high.  This iris was introduced in 1953 by Welch.  It opened the same day last year!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April Sunshine!

 We've had several days of good rain and I am grateful for that.  Also for the sunshine of today.  My yard may be in the best shape it's ever been.  I have been through twice to weed and dig out iris rhizome rot.  I have fertilized at the proper time.  Today, I used Roundup on the driveway.   The power company has been here digging holes in our driveway to install conduit for the power lines that go through our property.  They have made a small mess.  Not a big one, as before.  Daffodils are in bloom nicely.  Trees beginning to leaf out.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Orchid - What's Blooming Inside

 This amazing orchid is filling my kitchen with a wonderful lily-like fragrance!  I can't believe I found it at Lowes!    The tag says it is easy to grow.  Maybe I won't kill this one - the stems are very succulent like.  I have especially enjoyed this one on those days when the spring snows are covering the daffodils!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Almost Spring Group - Design Wall

I pinned this group of 12 entitled "Almost Spring" to my design wall in order to get a good look at them as a group and individually.  I am not sure they are finished, but I am going to put them aside for now, I think.  Maybe I will have some inspiration or ideas for going further, but right now - no......Once they are finished, I plan to square them up and mount them onto cradle boards.  I have just ordered some from Dick Blick that I want to try....