Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Cindy Steiler from the shop Mary’s Granddaughter. I am an artist, a mother of one, and an avid collector of things old and curious. I love good coffee, small mountain towns, and those occasional moments when all the dots connect and I am thrilled to be alive. I am currently a resident artist at Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming and savoring every moment, as my stay will end all too soon.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I love spending time with my daughter and my three little dogs. They always bring a smile to my face. I enjoy going to estate sales, flea markets and antique stores. I also really like watching Doctor Who.
What would be the title of your memoir?
I most likely would never write a memoir, as I am not fond of writing. However, if someone else were to write it for me, I would borrow a line from a Chris Pureka song and call it It was a Good Life: I’d Do It All Again. Everything that has happened to me has brought me to the place where I stand now, and it is a very good place.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from many places. I find it in the faces of people on the tintypes I collect. It comes while handling the antique fabrics and old doll parts I use in my work. It is found in seemingly inconsequential interactions with others. It can be triggered by a single word. I always have a sketchbook with me to capture it when it arrives.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade is about connecting with others.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
I would say my grandmother Mary and my partner Patrick. My grandmother taught me to sew, quilt and embroider, all while sharing amazing stories about her life. I believe this inspired my appreciation for tradition, familial roots, old ways and creating by hand. Patrick takes care of many of life’s mundane tasks, allowing me more time and space to create. For this I will always be grateful.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I’ve never used the word “artist” to describe myself until recently. I don’t remember a time in my life where art was absent.
How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process is natural. I let ideas stew until they’re ready to come to life. I try to never force things, as I believe it shows in the finished work.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would love a peek into Ai Weiwei’s studio. I am in awe of his work and inspired by his bravery and activism. If you are not familiar with his work, it is worth looking up.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have two, actually. One is a drawing my daughter made for me of a large crow conducting a band. It is framed and lives in my studio. The other is a collaborative piece I did with Jen of Quench Metalworks. She framed one of my small embroideries in a beautiful sterling pendant with an antique glass face. I enjoyed both the collaboration and the result very much.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I am blessed not to be plagued by this dilemma. If anything, I have more ideas than time to execute them, and I struggle with staying focused and finishing what I start. I keep sketchbooks on hand to write and draw my ideas and I make lists to prioritize what I will work on.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I am happy to be where I am right now. In ten years, I hope to be doing more of the same: more teaching, more traveling and more shows. Yes, that sounds very good.