Wednesday, November 16, 2011

inspiration: mary's granddaughter + Cindy Steiler

"butterflies II is embroidered with soy silk,wool and cotton floss on antique homespun linen. The porcelain doll arm is from Germany and was dug from the earth from the grounds of an old doll factory that operated between 1890-1910. Small wooden laser cut butterflies fly out of the woman's stomach. It is framed in a reclaimed barn wood frame made for me by Jim who runs the Etsy shop barnwood4u. It is backed in antique, hand dyed linen and rayon/wool blend felt. The piece measures 8 inches x 8 inches by 3 1/2 inches deep. It can be hung on the wall or can sit on a table or shelf."

Since debuting my Dust Bowl Glimpses paintings in August and participating in a few Poppytalk Handmade online markets, I've had the pleasure of making meaningful connections with some incredibly talented and supportive artists.

One such lady is Cindy Steiler who keeps an inspiring blog, Mary's Granddaughter, and creates original fiber art using antique reclaimed materials available here.

Cindy and her work are well known in the artist and handmade communities. She is also an incredible storyteller. I admire her talents AND her approach to making art. Her work is pure genius!

Cindy is currently working on the following projects, Documenting the Past: Two New Projects, and is looking for artist submissions. I'm honored that she asked me to share a bit about my mom, Relda Jane (who just so happens to be celebrating her birthday today - happy birthday mom!), and my great-grandmothers, Relda and Velda.

Rather than accidentally leaving out critical details, I will let Cindy tell you about them in her own words. Enjoy!

I Learned From My Mother Who Learned From Her Mother

My favorite childhood memories center on spending time with my great-grandmother, Mary Steiler. She taught me to sew, quilt, crochet and embroider, all while sharing amazing stories about her life. What she passed to me had been passed to her along a long line of women, inspiring in me a lifelong passion for creating.

Through my work I hope to capture the essence of my relationship with my grandmother while exploring and celebrating all women and girls; our relationships, our daily lives, and our traditions. I want to use my work to preserve and continue the traditions of both craft and story in a way that honors these lineages, but is decidedly modern; that is intensely personal, but accessible to all.

This winter I am starting a new project called 'I Learned from My Mother, Who Learned from Her Mother'. Through this project I plan to explore and document traditions and traditional craft passed from generation to generation within families through storytelling and art. This will be achieved through a mix of traditional needlecraft and sculpture and will also employ my background as a set designer to create small installations. The images of the pieces and stories will be assembled into limited edition hand bound books.

The Grandmother Project

The 'Grandmother Project' has grown out of the 'I Learned Form My Mother Project'. Many of the submissions I have been receiving have included beautiful stories of the tellers' amazing grandmothers and I feel compelled to celebrate these women. My aim is to document the lives and unique beauty of our grandmothers through storytelling and art. This will be accomplished through a mix of traditional needlecraft, sculpture and installations. The images and stories will also be hand bound into book form.

I would love to include your stories in my project! If you'd like to share please email me at I have questions prepared to help guide you in your story telling for both projects. To thank those generous enough to share I will be conducting a big giveaway. Details will be posted soon. Everyone who has submitted thus far will automatically be entered.

All the best,


  1. Happy Birthday to Relda Jane! What a tribute to her (and your great-grandmothers) that you'll be participating in "Documenting the Past". I love that their names are Relda and Velda.
    I have a couple of Cindy's pieces and love her work!

  2. I agree...those names are too much! Thanks for your kind words and I can't wait to see your treasures soon.