What does mixed-media art mean to you?
Mixed-media art is so many things to me, but when I describe my art to people I’m often using words like, playful, carefree, unexpected and moving fast. Not only is it a mix of fiber, paint, paper and snippets, mixed-media is also a mixture of my acquired skills. Just the combining of fabric and paper can be so rewarding and then to combine these different mediums without thinking too much … heaven!
How long have you been a mixed-media artist?
I didn’t wake up one day and decide to try mixed-media, it’s something that has been evolving over the past 15 years. While my first love is fabric, sewing and quilting, when I discovered rubber stamping, when my kids were young, I was right away adding bits of fabric and thread to my work. Lately it seems like all I have been creating are mixed-media art quilts.
How has your art impacted or enhanced your life?
On March 11, 2011 Japan was hit by an earthquake that registered 9.0 on the Richter scale … my husband was in Japan … alive, just bruised and battered. That night, while the house was quiet and all the kids were asleep, I began to craft and create. I was thinking about all my friends is Japan, praying that I would get a quick message on facebook saying that they were going to be OK. I think back at those first few day after the earthquake, with the cell phones down and communication at a minimum, and I am so thankful that I had my art. It’s truly a place for my mind to rest, recuperated and regenerate.
What are a few of the mixed-media supplies you find yourself using most?
My sewing machine is definitely high on that list … but I have to say that I do have a list. My studio is not too big and most of my supplies are pretty close by all the time. Also on the list are muslin, canvas, osnaburg, old book text, old ledger paper, paints … house and expensive acrylic and lots of perle cotton and embroidery floss!
Who are some of your favorite mixed-media artists?
There are so many interesting mixed-media artists out there that it’s impossible for me to choose!
My art changes from week to week and then from month to month. Sometimes it’s all about free motion stitching on unusual materials and some times it’s about using recycled or discarded items in a new and unusual way. Lately I’ve been playing around with incorporating stained and inked paper towels, (that most people would see as trash) into my pieces and I just love the softness and how easy it is to sew and manipulate. Oh, and I also love small details!
Where can we find you?
About Cynthia Shaffer: Cynthia Shaffer is a mixed-media artist, quilter and creative sewer whose love for fabric can be traced back to her childhood. At the age of 6, she learned to sew and in no time was designing and sewing clothing for herself and others. After earning a degree in textiles from California State University, Long Beach, Cynthia traveled for a few years, working for Club Med, designing and building costumes for the evening entertainment. With the travel bug somewhat satisfied, Cynthia returned home and started her own company. For 10 years she was the president and designer of her company that specialized in the design and manufacture of sportswear.
Cynthia is the author of Stash Happy Patchwork, Lark Books 2011 and Stash Happy Applique, Lark Books 2012. Numerous mixed media, art quilting and paper craft books and magazines have featured her work. Cynthia is currently working as a photographer for several editors and teaches photography at the Crescendoh studio in Santa Ana, California. In her free time she enjoys knitting and crocheting. Cynthia lives with her husband Scott, sons Corry and Cameron, and beloved Boston terriers, Harper and Berklee in Southern California.