Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Artist Profile Series: Cynthia St. Charles

Cynthia St. Charles
Billings, Montana

1. What is sitting on the edges of your work table? Right now, my studio work table is covered with tall bearded iris seeds from my hybridizing program.  I am a member of the American Iris Society, growing over 800 different varieties on my property. I am working to create new original iris flowers, and the seeds I created from this year's crosses are drying.  I am packing them up (for spring planting) a few at a time, because my healing wrist is not able to do much.

2. If someone looked beneath the surface, what could be revealed that we might not know about you?  I deeply enjoy my own company.  The peace and freedom that solitude brings are one of my greatest joys.

3. What occupies the space between your sewing machine and your cutting table?  I have a red rolling adjustable office chair that sits at either table.

4. What is the most exquisite moment in your artistic life?  Walking into Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden when I had a solo exhibition there.  It was amazing to walk in and see how beautifully they had hung my work, which filled the entire space.

5. Do you have daily rituals in your studio?   I am a seasonal studio artist.  In fall, winter, and early spring, I begin my studio time with small meditative works - postcards in mixed media.  This has been an ongoing project for at least 6 years.

6. Reflecting on the quilts that you have made, which one stands out to you?   "Great Balls of Fire" was made in 2008.  Discharged, overdyed, pieced, heavily quilted and densely beaded - it is a favorite dynamic large abstract piece.

7. What do you have an affinity for in your work?   It is especially important to me that all my fabric designs and colors are created from my own hand.  I'll always begin with white or black fabrics and paint, dye, print, discharge, etc. to create my own raw materials.

8. What kinds of patterns do you use in your work to create interest and texture?   I am fond of circles, swirls, layered lines, and am starting to use scribbling a bit.  I also love using screen prints adapted from handwriting of loved ones or myself, or even strangers.  I love using hand carved printing blocks.  I have been shifting into deconstructed printing.

9. What personal iconography is identifiable to you exclusively in your work?  For many years, all my work was printed in layers of hand carved printing blocks and screen prints of my grandmothers' handwritten recipes.  I have shifted away from that a bit, recently and have been exploring deconstructed screen printing with more enthusiasm - as seen in my entry for this year's Dinner at Eight.

10. What was your inspiration for the Best of Dinner at Eight?  I enjoyed a fantastic get away adventure driving through the Baja Peninsula in a camper van during the winter of 2018.  I could not get the colors of the water and sky, desert and sand out of my head and have been working intensively to replicate the experience in my artwork.

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