Member Spotlight - October 2021
Cynthia’s love of fabrics began at her grandmother’s home early on. Rosa was an extraordinary professional seamstress who created couture bridal gowns, formal wear, coats and suits. Fabric scraps of many kinds were readily available for a little girl to create fantastic doll clothes! Learning to actually sew and make many of her own clothes helped Cynthia understand fabric construction itself. While taking art classes at Northern Illinois University, Cynthia focused on weaving under the teaching of Dr. Mabooh Shazaman, a wonderful teacher who inspired a number of Fine Line members including founder Denise Kavanagh. Building on her studio experiences, Cynthia was excited to make her own clothes and sculptural pieces with her own fabrics.
Cynthia later earned additional degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Loyola University. Her work has been shown in several Midwest area galleries, exhibits, and art fairs and in several Art Wear Fashion Shows. Her work has received numerous awards in several Midwest area galleries. Along the way, Cynthia taught art in Oak Park and southern Illinois and then worked as an administrator in Waukegan and LaGrange.
While pursuing her dual careers as an educator and a mom, Cynthia continued to weave and sew. While contemplating retirement, she considered what her next art “encore” career might be. She began taking several fiber related classes. After her very first felting class a decade ago with the creation of a felted scarf out at Esther’s Place in Big Rock with Natasha Lewis, her love affair with felting began! She discovered that fabrics and sculptural fiber pieces could be created with a fluidity that was different from weaving, almost like creating watercolors with fibers. Felting became her new passion.
As her skill and knowledge of working with wool and silk in various felting techniques continues to evolve, Cynthia finds endless possibilities for what felting can do.
Influenced by and studying with such master felters as Fiona Duthie, Pam MacGregor, and Kristi Kuhn, she continually learns more techniques and is challenged to push to her work to new boundaries in Nuno felted clothing, sculptural and 2D and 3D pieces. Over the years she has also enjoyed taking classes herself at Fine Line with master weaver Heather Winslow & with master dyer Dagmar Kloss. Most of Cynthia’s work is based on using Merino Wool and Finn Wool. She often uses Shibori dye her “background” silk for her clothing and incorporates many novelty wools and silk elements for textural emphasis.
Continuing to pursue her interest in clothing design, Cynthia is exhibiting her Bohemian Chic Shawl Collection in the 2021 Uncommon Threads Fashion Show in October. She is also working on sculptural and wall art pieces, and one of her fiber pieces will be shown in the Women’s Journey in Fiber Color Exhibit at the Bloomingdale Art Center in October. Cynthia will also have boutique wear for sale and exhibit pieces for show and sale at the Fine Art of Fiber Show at the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe November 5 – 7. These are all MUST SEE shows for anyone interested in Art to Wear and Fiber in general!
Cynthia said that she has been honored to have her work juried into several of the shows at Fine Line, and that she appreciates her relationship with Fine Line as a member of the Textile Faculty. In the spring Cynthia plans to be offer some introductory felting classes in Nuno felting for fabric/scarf design as well as for vessel and sculptural possibilities. Cynthia believes that whatever new passion in Art you want to pursue, Fine Line is an excellent place to learn!