Archive for August, 2008

My collages for Collage Mania


Have you ever started cleaning out your junk drawer and the next thing you know you are standing on a ladder painting your kitchen?  

That’s what happened here.  I started doing detail photos for the Third Thoughts series and I realized they were the perfect size for Collage Mania.  So I mounted them on 10×8″ Bristol board – done!  

You can see them here at the bottom of the page.

As you can probably tell if you went to look at the Third Thoughts series, it really wasn’t such a linear process.  Instead I started looking at details and then found myself purposely avoiding certain areas. That’s never good.  

So I took a serious look at all the Third Thoughts artworks and started ripping away and modifying parts that were bothering me. Progress! Then I very judiciously added a few things; suddenly I had a whole new set of stories. Perhaps it should now be the Fourth Thoughts series.

In any case, five collages are set aside for Collage Mania and now the new and improved Third Thoughts series with, oh, yes, that’s right, detail shots, are up and available.

Collage Mania will be May 5-7 with a goal of raising of $20,000 in three days.  

Deadline for submission of artwork is April 1, 2009. Guidelines for submissions are here.


08 2008

Call For Artists – Collage Mania 2009


Cynthia St. Charles
Begin 6″h x 8″w Recycled printer paper, dyed and painted with acrylics. Printed with original handcut rubber stamps, photoscreen print of turkey vulture in flight in acrylics. Mounted on 10″x8″ 100% recycled backing board (white mat included). From Collage Mania 2008.

The Call for Artists for Collage Mania 2009, a Fiberart For A Cause fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, is now up here.

All materials are acceptable, but collages should contain some fiber (paper, fabric, or other fibrous material). There are no restrictions on content or style. Art quilts are, of course, acceptable and encouraged.

Collages may be any size and finished in any manner, but they must be finished or mounted to 10×8″ (25.4 cm x 20.3 cm). The orientation may be either horizontal or vertical. There is a ink to a FAQ on mounting artwork in the Call.

I honestly was not going to do Collage Mania this year, but Karen Stiehl Osborn stepped forward and saved the day.  She will be receiving and processing your jpegs.  As noted in the call, also e-mail her if you intend to participate this year.

The deadline to send your jpegs to Karen is April 1, 2009, but do remember that collages are shown in more or less the order they are received.

Collage Mania will be held May 5 – 7, 2009 with all collages offered for a minimum donation of $80 to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause on Gold Donor Day, May 5, and a minimum donation of $40 on May 6 and May 7. As this is a fundraiser, patrons are encourage to donate a bit more if they are able for a favorite collage.

Collage Mania 2008 raised $13,000 for the American Cancer Society in two days.  Our goal for Collage Mania 2009 is to raise $20,000 for the American Cancer Society in three days. I hope you can join us and please do contact me if you have any questions.


08 2008

Inspiration for Tuesday, August 26 – 2008










Part of an old boat’s hull in Homer, Alaska.  I like this not only as an abstract design, but also as a metaphor for life. Do something new and exciting and you are bound to feel better.  

Haiku count since July 14: 180 

Check out what’s new today on the garbage beat (an entire kitchen to go?) on the The Garbage Day Project.


08 2008

Moving down the hall = A new studio

Did I mention I moved my studio down the hall? Here is the old studio with moving in progress. What a mess!  But I did see fabric that had been MIA for years. The joy of painting all your own fabric is that each piece is fabric is like an old friend; I’m always happy to see them again.

Why did I move? A view of the backyard (trees, trees, trees), closer to my paper studio, and a door I can close and leave closed. I miss the great lighting and the space, but don’t miss being a thoroughfare. 


The new studio ready to go. It’s a little tight once I set up my ironing board with the big padded board on top, but, hey, it has a closet!

As you can probably tell from the dresser and table, I’m a big fan of Ikea. The Ikea wire baskets with tops are for all the stuff I’m currently thinking about or working on.  The serious fabric storage (not shown) is in sturdy wire baskets in towers from the home improvement store.


08 2008

Some thoughts on jurying


What an honor and privilege to serve as a juror with Jeanne Williamson for Journal Quilt Project II.  I thank Karey Bresenhan, Director of International Quilt Festival, for this opportunity.

This was the first time the Journal Quilts have been juried and the first time a theme was stipulated (Elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire). Members of the online group Quiltart were eligible to enter and many members entered their first juried show.  Congratulations to all entrants for your courage, your hard work and sharing your artwork.

Jeanne and I had 155 entries to consider and chose 48 artworks for the exhibit to premier at International Quilt Festival – Houston in November.   Jeanne has also posted about her experience as a juror on her blog today.


We were each sent, by the capable and organized Amanda Schlatre of Quilts, Inc., a CD with entry jpegs, a list of artworks by number and title and the entry forms with all identitifiers deleted.

I went through all the jpegs three times before making even a preliminary ranking.  The first time I just wanted to see the group as a whole.  The second time I read the statements of each work with the artwork on the screen.  The third time I considered the group as a whole, looking at the main jpeg and detail jpeg, keeping the artist statement in mind.

Thoughts for artists:  

Photography.  Hands, faces, furniture, clips.  We saw it all in the photos and it is distracting.  To enter a juried show, you need to submit jpegs that are in focus, of the piece only, the correct size, squared up and straight on. Because this was a first juried show for many, we didn’t eliminate artwork on this aspect alone. But most exhibits will just because of the sheer number of entries.  

Certainly a different selection may have been made if the actual work were in our hands. But this is not the way juried shows work in this digital age. Remember when you see the exhibit in person that the jurors had only two small photos viewed on a computer screen. We are forced to make judgments based purely on what is on the screen. Give jurors the best possible view of your artwork by submitting great photos that are truly representational of your artwork.

Detail shots:  You can make a juror take a second look with a good detail shot.  Show something exciting, unique, beautiful, or surprising in your detail shot.

Artist Statement: Each artist was requested to explain how the entry related to the theme. What an opportunity!  We may have been thinking, How does this fit the theme?  Then the artist would tell us and it would be an AHA moment.

Your artist statment is your opportunity to tell a juror why (not how) you came to create your artwork – what is your theme, what is the driving thought behind your work, what is unique about YOUR viewpoint.  

Tell us a story; tell us something specific; tell us through your statement that you thought about your artwork, did some research, and were inspired by something close to your heart.  


Voting:  Jeanne and I then ranked each piece as Accepted, Maybe, Release (don’t say the R-J-CT word because any two jurors are going to choose a completely different show).  If we both agreed on Accepted or Released, then we took one final look to be sure and moved on.  A surprising small number of works were Accepted or Released at this point.  Then we settled in to discuss over the telephone, over two days, every other piece in detail.

Jurying is an exciting and stimulating process and we, as all jurors, had to adjust to the work before us, compromise when needed and conduct a lively and interesting discussion.  Jurying is a subjective process, but we worked very hard to leave our personal design preferences by the wayside.  

Thoughts for artists:
For me art quilts are all about concept and content.  Materials and techniques are always subservient to these concerns.  That’s why they are ART quilts.

Of course, I did hold in mind that these were art QUILTS and looked to be sure there was stitching, that it was integrated into the piece and that the artwork in some way belonged to our very unique art form. And, of course, good workmanship is a given in any juried competition.

I saw many beautiful displays of technical proficiency that didn’t show me something new. Great technique is not enough; a beautifully constructed image I’ve seen before is not enough. Show me a square inch of a tree, show me trees from space, show me the inside of a tree, show me what a tree looks like through a woodpecker’s eyes.

Convince me that you, as an artist, thought about the theme long and hard. Show me in your artwork that you felt there was something you REALLY, REALLY had to say about the specific part of the theme you chose.  

Show me earth, wind, fire or air as I have never seen them before. Make me laugh, make me sigh, make me mad, make me curious, make me recoil, make me lust after your work. I’ve seen generic; I’ve seen obvious. Show me specific, show me your world, your point of view, your emotion. Use what is in your culture, your location, your space, your experience.  Your artwork will be unique and it will stand out.

Of course, no artwork will stand out from the crowd without good design.  Design principles can tell you that you had a great idea, but didn’t take it far enough.  It can tell you when you had a good idea, but took it too far and added unneeded elements to your composition. 

If you have never thought about some of the basic ways all artists draw attention to a piece, move the viewer’s eye around the artwork, provide coherence or other strategies of good design, take a beginning design course, do a little self-study, and look at artwork outside of the art quilt world. 


Final Thoughts:

If your artwork was released, try again!  In my second year of entering juried exhibitions, my artwork was released eleven (ELEVEN!) times in a row.  

Of course it hurt and it did make me seriously re-think quitting my “real” job, but it made me a better artist and a more careful entrant. I took it as a challenge to improve my artwork, to think more clearly and specifically about my goals and interests in art, and to spend MORE time making art.

Congratulations to ALL the artists and, again, thank you for the opportunity to see your artwork. It was a complete pleasure.




08 2008