Creativity is in my blood.  It’s part of who I am, and I can hardly remember a time where I wasn’t making or dreaming about something.  At seven, I was already sewing (thanks Mom!)  Everything around me turned into inspiration, mostly making miniature creations.  I HAD to create; it seemed an extension of who I was.  By fourteen, I discovered homemade quilting.  I saw the beauty and craftsmanship in them and wanted one for myself.  Soon after, I tried making my own, gathering scraps of fabric from everywhere and learning ever so painfully all the wrong ways to make one.  Before I knew it, I was hooked.


    Quilting isn’t my only creative outlook, however.  In high school, I took every create-with-your-hands class offered. Jewelry, photography, art – if they taught it, I was in it.  I continued this passion after graduation, earning a degree in Graphic Design/Illustration.  For about seven years, I poured my creativity into my art related career.  By the time I would get home, I’d be drained.  I had no energy to spend on my own work.  


    I decided to change gears, earning a degree in nursing.  In nursing, everything is done by the book.  Very little is left to personal choice or creative decision-making.  The patient needs the specific medication at this specific time.  This other treatment is carried out in this particular manner.  This allowed me the freedom to be inspired by my world again.  The undeniable urge to create for myself returned, to my utmost relief! 


    Not long after, I discovered ACEOs on eBay.  What a wonderful medium; perfect for me.  ATCs/ACEOs combine my love for quilting with my history of miniatures.  While I enjoy doing larger format projects, depending on the piece, they can take years to complete as I pick them up and put them down as the mood strikes me.  With the ATC/ACEO format, I finish them before the mood to put one down strikes.  I do so love a finished piece!

(ACEOs & ATCs are the same size, the former are for sale and the latter are for trading)

    I have a lot of interests so my inspiration comes from all over. I keep visual notes all over my computer and studio. Sometimes ideas pop out and just scream to be worked on; other ideas form more slowly over time but with just as much demand to be made.


     My  fiber ATCs/ACEOs usually start with needle felted wool roving (wool that has been washed and dyed but has had no other processing) to a piece of commercial felt for stabilization. Other pieces start with a variety of fabrics with felt as a stabilizing base. Often I use a piece of vintage art or a photo as a focal point, but a good number of my pieces don’t have other such artwork at all. I then go through all my bits and pieces of collected “stuff” and decide what, if any, would look good with the over all feel of the piece. I then add embroidery, silk ribbon, beading – basically whatever feels right at the time. I don’t plan each little detail ahead of time; for me that is much too stifling.  I prefer to work more intuitively. I also frequently use a quote or single word on my pieces. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but a single word or quote can engender a wealth of emotions/feelings. I start the base of each fiber piece in my studio but then I work on them anywhere. On the couch, in the studio, in the car on trips when my husband is driving, waiting for the kids after I have taxied them to some activity, anywhere. I have containers that organize my threads, ribbons, and beads in smaller portable amounts. Basically, I am happiest when my hands are busy creating. 


    I also don’t go anywhere without my sketch cards – bristol board or watercolor paper already cut to just larger than ATC/ACEO size (2.5″x3.5″) – so I can sketch cards to be painted or done with colored pencils or art markers at a future time. While I am working on a piece I use that extra area to test colors and combinations. When I am finished I scan the piece and then cut it down to the proper size.


    I feel so fortunate that people love my work, otherwise my work would probably be stacking up in some closet as the need to create cannot, for me, be denied.  


  Cindy Michele



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Judy Momenzadeh
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 21:51:20

    Cindy–love your work. It’s very soothing to look at. I too am in the TIF challenge. She is really stretching me.


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