Cynthia St. Charles Store

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Little White Lines Series

Thanks so much to all who left nice comments about my studio. I admit it is a fabulous workspace and it allows me to do serious work.

I am working on a new series, which I am currently calling "Little White Lines" for lack of a better name. The series involves drawing lines with Elmers Glue gel prior to painting with MX dye or Setacolor paints. After washing out the glue, and lightly quilting along the white lines, I am doing a great deal of handwork. I am really liking the process as well as the effect of stitching rows and rows of little parallel lines in strategic locations and embellishing with buttons.

I've realized how very much this series reflects my enjoyment of my life right now. After several years of being thrown off course with family issues - it is such a joy to be able to find time to focus on my own self expression.

I've done some larger - more interesting pieces in this series but am not showing them on the blog right now because I hope to enter them in a couple of shows and there are now such restrictions on previously shown works. I just want to play it safe in case I can get something accepted into a show somewhere.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Scrap Bags

Every once in a while, I try to work on a project to use up scraps. I keep a 30 gallon tub in my studio and all my scraps larger than 2" go into it. After a while, the tub gets too full for the lid to fit and at that point, I try to utilize those scraps in some way.

I really love messing around with random piecing - just putting things together any which way. For the past 5 years or so, I have been making these scraps into one-of-a-kind handbags. These bags are favored by family members for their extreme light weight, durability, and originality. I have a couple of sisters who carry them and all three of my daughters also use them. They sell well in a couple of galleries, including Elements. I think I might try putting some up for sale in my Etsy store, too.

In the past, I have done a lot of detailed quilting on the bags, but this time around, I have kept the stitching fairly basic, and have used stamping and screen printing to enhance them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Arashi Shibori Kimonos

Occasionally, I turn my creative attention to wearables, which I offer for sale. I have an order from Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut due next month - for their holiday showcase.

I have gone to a system of first constructing the kimono from natural silk fabric, following up with the surface design process of choice. I've done a variety of different techniques, but this is the first time I wrapped an entire garment around a pole for arashi shibori.

These particular kimonos are constructed of soft organza with charmeuse bands. I was concerned that the dye might not penetrate all the layers, but it was actually quite successful, and I do think I will do more with this technique.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cynthia's Studio

Saturday, I opened my studio for tours as part of a fundraising drive for Big Sky Quilt Retreat. For this reason, I tidied up quite a bit, deep cleaned and hung some finished work on my design wall. I thought I would share some pictures of my workspace and tell you a bit about my arrangement.

My workspace is not a showplace. Although it is roomy, it has been outfitted with a mishmash of salvaged fixtures that have been cobbled together. While it is not very beautiful - it is extremely functional.
My worktables are Formica laminate - rescued from the dumpster behind TJ Maxx - which was remodeling. The drawers beneath the tables are old Hallmark drawers that Joe found on the curb in front of a store that went out of business. He constructed racks for my thread spools and bead strands out of dowels inset into drilled plywood. These are terrific and I have three large ones - all full, of course.

One 5' x 8' surface is set up to the correct height for me to work comfortably while standing. The other end is lower (just a little smaller), set up for my sewing machine with a big table for machine quilting.

I am currently in the process of switching from a desktop - to a laptop and I have a computer station at each end of the room.

My Janome 6500 has been recessed so that the bed of the machine is flush with the table top and this allows for smooth movement during quilting.

My design wall is large. I have one 8' square wall and another that is 4' square right next to it. This allows me to work on a number of different pieces at once. There is a track lighting system installed on the ceiling above the design wall and the bulbs are super bright - especially for photography. This is where I shoot most of my entry photos.

I picked up these two vintage silk dupioni upholstered chairs at an antique shop that was going out of business. This corner is set up for me to do my journaling, reading, and hand stitching. I love these chairs.

The window along the west wall allows a good view of the trees and sunsets. This sofa is a hide-a-bed, as cast off from another room and there was no place else for it to go. The lighting in the room consists of daylight fluorescent - three fixtures with four tubes in each. The room is very bright. I never have a problem seeing what I am doing.

My ironing surface is 3/4" particle board covered with foil, two layers of cotton batting, and covered with a cotton canvas grid. Joe attached it to the wall with hinges and the two front legs fold up, so if I ever wanted to - I could fold it flat against the wall. Instead, I have used the space beneath it as storage for my flat boxes of fabrics, etc.

I also have a mangle - awesome for ironing dyed fabrics, (not shown) which sits just to the right of my flat ironing table.

I keep a narrow 12' slat hanging above my ironing surface, and this is where I hang finished work - often while it is waiting to be sent off to a show.

In the picture above, at the far left is the doorway into my 9' x 11' wet studio. The picture below starts the tour of my wet studio.

The wet studio is also equipped with salvaged fixtures. Everything from the sink to the shelving to the pegboard on the wall came from somewhere else and was free. I am pleased to have a dedicated washing machine, sink, and microwave in this little workspace. Oh, and a thermofax machine, too! Yay!

I really like this little 4 x 2' folding table. I keep three sheets of 3/8" OSB (fiberboard) stashed behind it and pull them up when I need a portable work surface. The OSB is cut to 3 x 4' sizes and one has heavy plastic stretched over it - I use this when I want to paint fabric or paper. Another is covered with two layers of batting - and this one I use for stamping on fabric. With these multiple portable surfaces - I can easily switch from one task to another, setting one aside to dry while I work on the other one - a system I have used for about 8 years - very efficient.

I don't remember where Joe got these narrow shelves, but they appeared one day and he insisted I needed them. I reluctantly agreed and now I cannot imagine how I stored my dye before I had these!

My studio is also equipped with a woodburning stove and has a door leading directly outdoors. Unfortunately, it is the first door a person sees when approaching our house from the cul de sac so it is used much more often than I would like.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Clint and Lisa's wedding

Last weekend, we drove to Montana City for my nephew's wedding. Clint and Lisa chose this beautiful location for their wedding. Isn't it amazing?

All of my siblings were able to attend, and it has been a while since we had a group picture. The sun was in our eyes and there is not a single picture in which all six of us have our eyes open. Karen, with the corsage in the middle of the picture (and eyes closed - sorry) is the mother of the groom.

We got all of the Paugh grandchildren together for a picture. Again, the sun was a problem.
Airus and Molly had a chance to bond.

The younger cousins had a lot of fun climbing around on the rocks.

The day after the wedding, we were invited to Clint and Lisa's house in Jefferson City for a barbecue. It was a beautiful day.

My mother gave Clint and Lisa a quilt as a wedding gift. Isn't it lovely?
Airus also got a new quilt from Grandma (my mother). He LOVES it! It is all kinds of novelty prints. He calls it "My Helicopter Quilt".

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beartooth Backpacking Day 3

It drizzled and blew all night so we abandoned our plan to fish Albino in the morning and instead we just had a quick breakfast and broke camp.
Raindrops falling on Albino Lake as we walked out made a lovely image.

Hiking out, we passed Becker, Mutt and Jeff, Night, and Island Lakes. The one in the picture above is Becker. It was precipitating hail and rain all the way, with a lot of thunder overhead (but we couldn't see any lightening).

Very low clouds made the drive out really painstaking. We were glad to be inside our warm car, though and it was interesting to see the mountain in a whole new perspective.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Albino, Jasper and Golden Lakes

Our ultimate goal was to reach Jasper and Golden Lakes, which lie to the North of Lonesome Peak.
Wow! What a spectacular view! The picture below shows Jasper with Beartooth Mountain in the background.

Here is another picture of Jasper - across the lake from the previous picture, with Lonesome Peak in the background.

This picture was taken at Golden Lake, which is directly below Jasper. Joe was fishing across the lake beneath Lonesome Peak when he took this picture of me across the lake (small black speck on the shore to the left).

Lonesome Peak with Golden Lake beneath it.

Here we are on the trail between Albino and Jasper Lakes. That's Albino in the background.
The clouds started rolling in towards evening. We set up our kitchen in the shelter of these rocks. It was out of the wind.
As the storm was moving in, the sun broke through just long enough to light up the mountainside above Albino Lake, where we were camped.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Beartooth Backpacking Day 2

We awoke to a beautiful clear morning and I climbed to a ridge above our campsite to enjoy my breakfast in the sunshine (our camp remained in the shadow of the mountain until 9 AM). Did I mention that we brought our dog, Cookie along on this trip?

We hoped to traverse around Lonesome Peak to the opposite side. There is no trail, so we were maneuvering through rock slides, snow, crevices, and swampy run off areas. It was an adventure and a workout.

The view was spectacular. The picture above shows a view down to Abandoned Lake from partway up Lonesome Peak. We'd just climbed the rocks in the foreground.

Behind Joe, is a spectacular view of Beartooth Butte.
In this view, Pilot and Index Peaks appear in the background behind me.

This particular rock scramble was so steep I ended up scooting on my rear partway. I just couldn't keep my balance.

Several times, we crossed big snow patches. There was fresh snow over last year's snow bank.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Beartooth Backpacking Day 1

Joe and I were able to get away for a much anticipated backpacking trip into the Beartooth Wilderness area. Usually, early September is the best time for such trips. Usually, there has been a frost and the bugs are dead. At the same time, the weather is usually still fairly mild.

Not so this year! As we drove up the Beartooth Highway, we were greeted by a wintry sight.

The snow at the summit was probably 10" deep and drifted. The snowplow was out and a jeep had run off the road.

"Are we crazy?" we asked each other.

As we passed over the summit from the east, we saw that the snow had not fallen on the west side of the range. Whew!

Long Lake view - the snow and the reflection - what a lovely sight!

Departing from the Island Lake trailhead, we hiked via the trail to Beauty Lake and then left the trail at Claw Lake. We bushwhacked as far as Lonesome Lake, where we camped the first night.

We set up camp in the shadow of Lonesome Peak. I caught lots of nice pan sized Brook trout in Lonesome Lake. Fun fishing! We kept four, which we cooked for dinner. It was a very peaceful night with a half moon and lots of stars. The sky was clear and there was no wind!