Cynthia Smiszek

RaggTops

 

Member profile details

Membership level
Artist (Individual)
First Name
Cynthia
Last name
Smiszek
Business/Organization Name
RaggTops
 

Personal information

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Artist Info

Medium / Media
  • Mixed Media / Assemblage
  • Fiber
Artist Bio or Résumé
Cynthia Mikula Smiszek is an artist living and working on the New England seacoast. A graduate of Mass College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 3D Art, Fibers, she also has Masters Degree in Education from Endicott College. She attended Penland School of Art in North Carolina and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine and continues her education with renowned fiber artists. For many years, Cynthia was a paralegal and an instructional designer and technology training specialist. She also taught fiber and surface design workshops locally and was a founding member of an all-woman artist studio in Amesbury, MA. She has commissioned work in private collections.

Cynthia is inspired by nature’s palette and textures. Her artwork entails repurposing and renewing, and is a means for her to express that discarded items can be made purposeful and beautiful - and relates the greater need for the world to stop wasteful and harmful practices against precious planet earth.
Artist Statement
Making something out of existing materials – reclaiming them – is a satisfying challenge, which gives new purpose to things that may otherwise be discarded. I ascribe to the theory that inanimate things can have memory; objects can pick up emotions and record history, and that we can be attuned to it. The materials I select to refashion have to “feel good” to me, and I sense this even more as I work with them.

My clothing ... RAGGTOPS refashioned upcycled couture.

Using clothing and trims from resale shops and markets, everything is carefully examined, laundered in eco-friendly soap and dried in sunshine. I ponder how to honor the best features of the garments, and employ many fabric techniques such as dyes, screen print, manipulation, embroidery by hand and machine; then I stitch them together with creativity and craftsmanship. These garments await new adventures and make new history as you wear them.

I also make mosaics (gypsea's treasures) made from historical Salem seaglass pottery, porcelain dolls, sea marbles, beads and buttons, and framed with reclaimed wood (often old teak boards from boats). I’ve combed the shores for many years, hunting for the most beautiful broken pottery (based on patterns and registration marks, some quite old) that was discarded by households. I love finding porcelain dolls and parts, broken vases and statues, marbles, and bottles, and as I clean them up, I promise them a new life in my artwork. The name “gypsea” comes from the most fortunate way I was able to spend more than a decade of my life during the summers, meandering about the New England coast on a beautiful old sailboat.
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