Artist Series --Cicada Studio

Have you seen the designs by Michelle Engel Bencsko of Cicada Studios? If you haven't this interview provides a little peek into her world. I don't remember how I found this lovely designer, but I can tell you that I love everything that she creates. As a quilter I find her fabrics are so refreshing and beautiful. I also love her linen and have begun to use it to line my hand embroidered wool cuffs. The linen is so stable and provides a nice texture. Thank you Michelle for taking time out of your busy schedule to allow us to get to know more about you. Oh, and don't forget to visit her delightful blog!

PS...keep your eyes open for my blog anniversary contest where you can win one of my cuffs!

When did you become interested in art and did you choose art, or did it choose you?

Art chose me, most definitely. I don’t think I really had a choice, with a mom, grandmother, two aunts and numerous others in the clan that are artists themselves. It is most certainly in my blood. I’ve been creative every since I can remember.

You get to spend one weekend each with three historical figures, an artist, a writer and one of your choice. Who are they and what will you talk about?

Tough one... The “my choice” (for this evening) would be Bette Davis. I saw an image of her on another blog and it reminded me how much I admire her and love her work. I like her spunk and character and indeed, I think we have some things in common, but I bet she could teach me a hundred things about success and all with a brilliant dry wit. Writer… hmmm… JK Rowling. I’d just be fascinated to hear her story first hand. Artist? Gosh, I don’t know! It would be an honor to be in the presence of Georgia O’Keeffe or Frank Lloyd Wright. They have a very clear perspective and I’m pretty sure they would enjoy telling me exactly what it is. I like clarity and passion… I like it most from people who like to communicate it in all the ways they operate. I find that admirable- and brave… and I wish I could do that more myself.

Do any of these choices influence your work?

Directly? Not so much… but most definitely in spirit. So many people influence my work, though- and for numerous reasons… I can’t be specific.

How has the popularity of the internet affected your work?
Immensely. I can stress that enough. It’s given me purpose and perspective and focus. The community, communication and input is invaluable. I realize now how important an audience for my work is to me, whereas I was much less fulfilled when I would only do things for myself.

Have you discovered any new techniques to creating your work that you can share?

No, I don’t think so. I work on a computer, using Illustrator, primarily. My final product is fabric and I have a few methods for producing that. Some I print myself, others I have professionally printed. I’m not about reinventing, but about researching the best outlets for getting my products made.

How do you overcome artist block?

I don’t really get artist block… I do suffer from having too many ideas, which I’ve said before, but it can be equally as paralyzing. When that happens I make a list and just review it constantly to see what’s most important to me at that moment. Consequently, though, the list gets very long and some ideas don’t come to fruition. I still have the list though, so it’s always possible that I’ll return to a concept. My best medicine is working spontaneously. I may have a list a page long of things I’d like to do, then all of the sudden an idea pops into my head and I HAVE to do it all at once. This is invigorating and can really get me on a roll, especially if I’m happy with the outcome. If nothing spontaneous is coming to mind, then I like to tackle the smallest projects first- they usually energize me into doing something else.

If I walked into your studio this moment what would you show me first? What would you want to hide?

I would definitely want to hide the mess. Unfortunately, there’s no hiding that because it’s EVERYWHERE. And if you knew me, and my work habits, you’d know that it completely drives me bonkers. Totally insane. I make myself nuts daily but even then, I don’t have the time, energy or space to sort it out. So, the mess stays (for now). After apologizing about the mess, I would want to show you my portfolio of fabrics and the quality of the different goods because I’m really proud of how nice they really are in one’s hand. Then I’d probably show you what’s on my bulletin board as that typically has pending projects hanging on it. This is work in progress or work I don’t want to lose sight of.

Describe something that comes up in your work because of a life experience

By profession I was a textile designer for the mens and boys boxer industry. Glamorous? No. But very educational. As a result of those 15 years, I have some pretty hefty skills in my back pocket when it comes to designing patterns. I also gained a merchandiser’s perspective, which I feel allows me to formulate a plan and make cohesive groups to tell a better story. This penetrates my personal work as I tend to work in collections. I like to have each print support another, yet stand alone on its own.

Describe what you do, or who you are in a haiku.

I am no poet
Give me a computer please
Visual am I

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I think I’ve gone on long enough! Thanks so much for this opportunity Rose!

13 reviews:

Stormee said...

Wow those fabrics are beautiful. I will go and visit her site.Thanks.

twolefthands said...

Thank for the introduction Rose, gorgeous fabrics! Great interview!

missknits said...

what a great interview! gonna go check out her stuff more! thanks for sharing!

cindy : quaint said...

i loved learning more about michelle and her crafty haiku. her fabrics are wonderful. thanks to you both!

High Desert Diva said...

Fantastic interview!

Victoria said...

Wonderful interview, great questions and answers! I would also love to be at that table with Bette, Georgia, Frank and J.K. Some of my personal favs as well... It would be utterly fascinating to listen and learn from them!

cathy said...

what a great interview! I think it's "cicada" not "cicado," though ;-) Thanks for sharing this.

Cicada Studio said...

Thanks for the opportunity Rose! I enjoyed answering your questions very much.

picciolo said...

great interview Rose!
: )

l'actrice said...

Rose I love this interview, your questions are different and give a cool overview about the artist! People who love GEORGIA OKEEFE are my friends and interest me right away!


Stormee said...

I gave you an award, its on my blog :-) enjoy. LOL.

moonbindery said...

Great interview! The questions (and her answers)were really interesting.

sherry said...

I love Michele's work, and have one of her 2009 calendars. Very nice interview.

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