Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Artist Profile: Cynthia St. Charles

Cynthia St. Charles
Billings, Montana

1. What other ideas for this theme "rituals" did you have?   I do a lot of work featuring petroglyphs - ancient rock art, and I really wanted to do a piece featuring the "rituals" of ancient North American people.  I take photos of any petroglyphs I find in my travels (and locally) and convert these to Thermofax screens.  I actually worked up and completed an entire petroglyph piece in the required dimensions, but it just didn't work with the tall, narrow format required for this show.  So, I had to start over with something more personal - my daily sunset gazing.

2.  Are you involved in any community or group projects where you donate your work?  if yes, what project or projects? I very frequently participate in calls for art for fundraisers at the Yellowstone Art Museum.  I have also long been a regular contributor to Virginia Spiegel's fiber art fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, and to the SAQA 12" Square Silent Auction.
3.  Do you belong to a small group of like-minded artists?  yes/no  Name/where?  What is the best part of being part of an art group?  I am the founder of a local small art group established 9 years ago.  The group goes by WAV, for Women of Artistic Vision.  The group has met monthly since our first meeting in September 2003, and many of the founding members are still involved.  I enjoy the casual nature of this group and the support we give to each other.  It has been exciting watching fellow member's careers develop over the past 9 years.

4.  Are you a member of a professional art organization, such as SAQA?  Have you ever held a volunteer position in the organization, and if so, what?   I am a member of SAQA.  I am currently curating a regional exhibition called "Broad Spectrum", which had a 7 week run in a lovely gallery at a Rocky Mountain College.  The show is now on it's way to Denver for the Denver National Quilt Festival in May.  I will be taking a position on the SAQA Exhibition Committee soon.

5.  What is your favorite palette of colors that you use in your work?  Name 5.  Name 5 of your least favorite colors?  This is  the most difficult question of the list!  My work is consistently multi-colored.  I have a large body of work in browns, some that are mainly red, and a lot that are basically green.  I never met a color I didn't like.

6.  Describe your creative work space in 20 words or less.  Are you messy or tidy? 
My studio space is utilitarian.  It is spacious, with good storage and lots of  roomy work surfaces for various tasks.  I feel fortunate to have a wet studio attached.  I am incredibly messy, a multi-tasker and tend to have many projects going at once.

7.  What is your creative process?   
Most of my ideas come to me as a brain flash.  I will do a quick sketch of my overall idea, just to get it on paper, but I rarely look at the sketchbook again during my process.  I tend do a lot of mental work and research when I get stuck.  Much of my work is very surface design driven.  I have discovered I am really a printmaker at heart.  I am integrating my fabric printing processes with my art quilting on a grand scale with a new series.  I have made over 30 block printed quilts in the past 6 months.
8.   Is there a particular object or shape that shows up repeatedly in your work?  Why?   Spirals and circles.  Sheesh!  I wish I could explain my attraction to these shapes, but I can't - and I can't seem to create anything without them!  I have been told they are feminine symbols.  Maybe so, but I just find them fun - especially sprials!

9.   If you had to choose a favorite artist from another media, who would it be, and why?  I really love the work of Hundertwasser, Monet, and Matisse.

10.  Have you written a book related to Art Quilts and Quilting or have an instructional DVD?  If so, can you tell us the title or titles?  I am preparing to record a DVD for Quilting Arts Worshop.  The title has not been decided yet, but the instructional video involves combining print making with art quilting.  I have done over 30 pieces in this style and am still finding the process exhilarating.

11.  Do you make art full time?   If you have another career, would you describe what you do? and how you incorporate art into your life?  I am a retired School Psychologist.  While working in the mental health field, I did textile art for my personal therapy.  When it became possible for me to take an early retirement, I took over a huge part of the basement of our home with my studio.  I spend pretty much every spare moment in my studio.  I love the ability to transition quickly from other life obligations right back to my work - something only possible because my studio is in my home.  I think this contributes to my tendency to be very prolific.

12.  What is your most thrilling news to date in relation to your art quilt life? Having work on the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine - twice now!  Big thrill both times, but the second time was most validating - made me feel that the first time wasn't just a fluke.

1 comment:

  1. The seemingly simple design of your Rituals quilt is gorgeously offset with the swirling, intricate quilting. I love it!


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