mary's grandaughter interview

I'm a huge fan of Cindy Steiler's line of textile art, Mary's Granddaughter.  I was very curious about what inspires her work.  So, I asked her to share a bit about herself.

Who taught you to sew?

My great-grandmother, Mary Steiler, taught me to sew by hand when I was a young girl. I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. She taught me how to use her 1922 White sewing machine when I was 8. She also taught me to crochet and cook. She was a remarkable woman. She sewed every stitch of clothing she ever wore and my mother's and grandmother's wedding dresses. She gave me such an appreciation for things made by hand. I miss her.

What inspired you to sell your work on Etsy?

I am not sure. I think it started because I wanted feedback on my new work. For the first time after years of making others' visions come to life as a set designer and scenic artist for the stage I was creating what I wanted to create. It felt great to be illustrating my own stories and scenes from inside my head and I wanted to see what others thought of it. My experience with Etsy has been wonderful and has far exceeded any expectations I had in the beginning. Etsy has given me the opportunity for my work to be seen around the world. This exposure has brought many good things my way besides sales. I have been offered gallery shows, my work has been published in a magazine and  two books that will be out next year. I have met talented and supportive craftspeople and artists from all over. It has been a great experience thus far and I can't wait to see what comes in the future. I am very grateful for a venue like Etsy!

Tell me a little bit about your process.
I wish I understood it better. Ideas seem to come mostly at night before I fall asleep. I keep a sketckbook on my nightstand to jot down these ideas. Actually I keep a sketchbook with me always. I usually let the ideas stew for a while until I see clearly in my head how the finished piece will look. I distill the sketches down to a pattern and get to work. I've learned to never force ideas. Sometimes I'll stop working on a piece if I feel "stuck" and I'll run across it a few weeks or months later and finish with ease and sometimes it stays unfinished.
Right now I have mother and daughter series brewing. Colleges have started actively trying to recruit my daughter and for the first time the fact that she is growing up and will be starting her own life soon has hit home. I've been exploring all of the feelings I have surrounding this and sketching alot. I am almost ready to start it.

Name a few of your current obsessions.
Dr. Who, Linen, coffee, little porcelain doll arms, old photos, pom pom trim, block printing

What is your personal soundtrack?

A few of my favorites that I work to, drive to and live to: Radiohead, Elliot Smith, Iron and Wine, Gregory Alan Isakov, Beth Orton,The Royal Tennenbaums soundtrack. I tend to be drawn to music that is a little sad and melancholy.

When you aren't creating things, what do you enjoy doing?
When I am not working at my day job or creating I am spending time with my daughter Tessa. She is a strong, beautiful junior in high school who never ceases to amaze me. She is on crew so I spend a good bit of time at the lake and traveling to regattas. Everything meshes rather well in our home. We're different in every way but we have a profound respect for each other.  I also love going to estate sales and thrift stores and traveling.

old drawers, new shelves

A couple months ago I visited The Rebuilding Center in Portland.  It's an amazing warehouse full of salvaged building materials priced to move.  You could buy anything from a bath tub to a full set of kitchen cabinets.  They also have a ReFind gallery featuring artwork and home decor crafted from reclaimed building supplies.  One of my favorite pieces was a set of drawers made into shelves.  So, I purchased two kitchen drawers for $2 a piece.  A friend of mine mounted them end to end on the wall of my shop.  I love how they turned out.  

sneak peek

A little preview of my new stationery designs.