Hmmm so this is what 2016 looks like, bit gloomy so far if you ask me, just a tad more sunlight over here in the UK would be nice. But weather aside I’m certainly excited by the creative promise that 2016 holds, just thinking of all those new materials, techniques and artists I’ll discover alongside you all this year puts a great big smile on my face. So to kick ‘Exploring Etsy’ in to this brand new year I’ve brought you all a bit of soul food with Cindy Steiler and her shop ‘Mary’s Granddaughter’. Her beautiful work will nourish your creativity and feed your imagination.
With a background in theatre, set and costume design, which years ago Cindy gave up to pursue her own art. ‘Making art gives me a voice to communicate thoughts I can’t put into words: the complexity of love and relationships, death and dying, disappearing. It allows me to tell my story.’ Now drawing with thread she finds comfort in being able to place herself in the continuum of embroidery’s long history, enjoying its very tactile, slow and meditative way to express herself. Always having a love of old things, the bisque arms in her dioramas have been excavated from old doll factories in Germany. Antique, homespun linen and Victorian photographs also form the basis of her choices for her embroidery. Using these carefully selected vintage materials adds to the story of her pieces. ‘I love thinking about all the hands that have touched them as they made their way to me, pulling bits of our past into the present.’ A love of old photographs has also led to a desire to employ their photographic processes in her work. So through personal research and classes at the Center of Alternative Photography in New York City she has learned cyanotype and tintype photography. Both are slow and deliberate processes that she finds a pleasing contrast to today’s digital world.
What is your earliest stitching memory?
My earliest stitching memory is being taught basic stitches by my great-grandmother Mary Steiler. We would sit and stitch and she would tell me stories of growing up in the “old country”. She was a generous and sweet woman and the inspiration behind the name of my Etsy shop.
What fires your imagination?
I find inspiration can strike at any time so I am never without a sketchbook. In general I find travel provides me my greatest inspiration. A new environment with new faces and a break from daily routines allows for new thought patterns and new ideas to flow.
Cindy Steiler’s powerful work is stunning and really strikes a chord with me. Her artistic voice is unique and sings clearly in every single piece of her work. I urge each and every one of you to pay a visit to her shop and give yourself a real treat!
Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.