Monday, May 3, 2010

Cynthia St. Charles - Billings, Montana

1. How do you describe yourself? Textile Artist

2. What is your creative process? My ideas usually come to me fully formed as a mental visual image. I often need to do a significant amount of research to confirm the accuracy (or believability) of my imagery. Generally, I will do a rough sketch, including a color plan, which I refer to when I am creating my fabrics.

3. What's your style? I have been told my style is Expressive. Bold simplified imagery, sometimes primitive, gestural and intuitive. I have long focused on surface design techniques and enjoy working in whole cloth. My preferred approach involves planning out an entire piece and creating it using dyes, paints, resist, and printing. Finally, the quilting is added and often my work includes embellishments of glass beads, stone chips, or something I have created from polymer clay.

4. How long have you been a quilt maker/fiber artist? I have worked as a quilt / textile artist since 2002. By 2004, I was able to walk away from a stressful career as a School Psychologist to work full time as a studio artist.

5. Do you listen to music when you make art? I enjoy listening to National Public Radio during my studio time. I also really enjoy authentic blues, rock and even some of the alternative rock I've been exposed to through my young adult children. I also really love opening the window and just listening to the birds!

6. What do you do when you are blocked creatively? I find changing mediums is one thing that really helps get the creative flow going. I think I am happiest when I am exploring and discovering. So, switching to paper or metal or watercolors, or visual journaling help unlock the block.

7. Do you teach? I rarely teach any more. I was a classroom teacher and college professor for over 20 years. I consider myself retired from teaching. I will teach an occasional technique workshop when it works out, but I am not actively pursuing the teaching aspect of textile art. That said, when I do teach - I consider my role that of an artistic facilitator. I strive to create an environment that facilitates discovery and exploration for my workshop participants.

8. Are there artistic endeavors that you have yet to do? I have been working hard the past 2 years to create a solid body of work in order to solicit a solo show somewhere. I have a couple of loyal galleries in the region, but I would love to add one on each U.S. coast.

9. How do you balance your family life and art? My studio is in my home so it is just a matter of commuting down the stairs to go to work. This makes it easy to integrate daily studio work into my everyday life. I usually begin my day in my studio with a cup of tea and some quiet time with my visual journal. Surface design work frequently requires a significant amount of time waiting for fabrics to batch, dry, or wash out. This process allows me to transition easily and quickly from studio to home and family on the spur of the moment.

10. What is the best part about what you do? I have always wanted to be an artist. I never dreamed it would be possible for me to devote so much of my time and energy to creative endeavors. After working so many years in a super high stress profession, I cherish the opportunity to be my own boss, set my own pace, and release so much of the turmoil I dealt with in my former profession.
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