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Resume & artist statement

My mixed-media assemblages and altered books have been exhibited in many juried competitions throughout southeast Michigan.  

Published nationally, my artwork has been featured in The Rust Belt Almanac (2013) and Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine (January 2014) in addition to regional newspapers.  
A graduate of Michigan State University, I'm also an award-winning newspaper columnist and author, with essays and articles featured in many national publications, from The Christian Science Monitor to Writer's Digest. For more about my writing, visit Cindy La Ferle's Home Office and Blog.

Juried art competitions and exhibits
Michigan Annual XLII, January 30 - March 3, 2015. Juried Competition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI., Andy Krieger,, Juror. Exhibited: "Cycles of the Muse" (mixed-media assemblage). 

Michiana Annual Art Competition 2014, June 20 - August 2, 2014. Juried competition, Box Factory for the Arts, St. Joseph, MI. Norwood Viviano, Rob Gartzka, Cat Crochett, and Kathie Johnson, jurors. Exhibited: "The Importance of Ancestors" (collage) and "Fairy Tale" (mixed-media assemblage). HONORABLE MENTION award.

32nd Annual Michigan Fine Arts Competition, May 16 - July, 2014. Juried competition, Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI., DJ Hellerman, juror. Exhibited: "Remember" (mixed-media assemblage).

Box Factory for the Arts Annual Spring Show, St. Joseph, MI., April 25 - May 27, 2014. Members only. Exhibited: "Cycles of the Muse" (mixed-media assemblage) and "Reliquary" (mixed-media assemblage).

Michigan Annual XLI, January - February 2014. Juried Competition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI., Gilda Snowden, Juror. Exhibited: "Fairy Tale" (mixed-media assemblage). FIRST PRIZE award. 

Michigan Annual XL, January - February 2013 - Juried Competition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI., Yao-Fen You, juror. Exhibited: “Remember” (mixed-media assemblage) and “The Importance of Ancestors” (collage). 

All-Media Exhibition, September-October 2012 – Juried Competition, Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor, MI., Alison Wong, juror. Work exhibited: “Remember” (mixed-media assemblage).

Michigan Fine Arts Competition, April-May 2011 – Juried Competition, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI., John Ross Palmer, juror. Work exhibited: “The Chemistry of Memory: (altered chemistry box).

Michigan Annual XXXVIII, January-February 2011 – Juried Competition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI., Vince Carducci, juror. Work exhibited: “The Chemistry of Memory” (altered chemistry box).

Michigan Fine Arts Competition, April-May 2010 – Juried Competition, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI., Sondra Freckleton, juror. Work exhibited: “Becoming” (altered box) and “Renaissance Woman” (altered board book).

Michigan Annual XXXVI, January-February 2010 – Juried Competition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI., Charles McGee, juror. Work exhibited: “Nature” (altered vintage ledger) and “Shrine to Mary” (assemblage).

Masked: Annual Art Execution, October-November 2009 – Juried Competition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI., Alison Wong, curator. Work exhibited: “Victoria Fortune’s Magic Box” (altered box) and “Damn Everything but the Circus” (altered board book).

Michigan Fine Arts Competition, March-April 2009 – Juried Competition, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI., Tony De Blasi, juror. Work exhibited: “Nature” (altered vintage ledger).

Masked: Annual Art Execution, October-November 2008 – Juried Competition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI., Alison Wong, curator. Exhibited: “The Game of Authors” (mixed-media assemblage).

“Artist of the Month” - Royal Oak Public Library, juried by the Royal Oak Arts Council. April- May, 2007. Solo exhibit of approximately 20 mixed-media assemblages and altered books.

Masked: Annual Art Execution, October-November 2007 – Juried Competition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI., Alison Wong, curator. Work exhibited: “Book of Shadows” (altered antique medical textbook).

Artist Statement:  Art Is Storytelling
Using mixed-media techniques, I craft three-dimensional worlds from things that other people discard. I think of my artwork as a form of creative recycling – and storytelling.
A professional journalist for 30 years, I stumbled on collage as a way to conquer writer’s block.  While my columns and essays are often restricted or dictated by editorial guidelines, my assemblages are freely crafted from my own imagination.
My interest in literature informs my artwork, whether I’m altering a field guide to honor Henry David Thoreau or creating a mixed-media construction that evokes a carnival scene from a Ray Bradbury novel. In literature and art, “magical realism” has always enchanted me, so I’m often drawn to images of Victorian parlor magicians, circus performers, fairy tale characters, and Italian Renaissance saints.
I’m a collector of old books, vintage costume jewelry, junk mail, fabric remnants, and other ephemera. When I’m walking outdoors or riding my bike, I often stop to pocket rusty bottle caps, car parts, bird feathers, and twigs. 

As a memoirist, I look for the beauty in ordinary life, and I try to bring that sensibility to my mixed-media artwork. I believe that broken or damaged things have an irresistible mystique, and I honor the “back stories” they bring to a piece of artwork. -- Cindy La Ferle


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Art and soul, saints and shrines

Mexican milagros. Roadside shrines in Italy. Wooden santos tucked in the niches of Catholic churches....Religious shrines and icons have always fascinated me, and I seek them out wherever I travel.
When I began crafting mixed-media assemblages, I happened to be reading Beverly Donofrio's memoir, Looking for Mary, which inspired me to alter a small vintage photo album with Blessed Mother holy cards and found items (shown below).
I’d already started scouting yard sales and flea markets for castoff treasures to use in my altered art projects. And if luck was with me, I’d stumble on cardboard boxes or plastic bags stuffed with dashboard saints, broken rosaries, tattered hymnals, and religious medals. 
The beauty of these spiritual relics – and the comfort they once provided their original owners -- was never lost on me. While I’m not Catholic, I wanted to treat these discarded items with respect and give them new homes in my art.
Combining elements of the sacred with the ordinary, I'…

Telling stories with found objects

"The Importance of Ancestors" by Cindy La Ferle. Collage on canvas with old book cover, frame, and vintage fabric remnants. This piece is featured in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors __________________

"Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Cindy La Ferle. This altered box was inspired by the Ray Bradbury novel of the same title -- one of my favorite books. It includes vintage toy wheels, carnival doll, hardware, and other vintage found objects. ___________________________

"Becoming" by Cindy La Ferle. Altered greeting card box with vintage costume jewelry and various found objects. The back of this piece is embellished with a copy of May Sarton's poem, "Now I Become Myself," one of my favorite poems. (Top photo: interior of box)

"Damn Everything but the Circus" by Cindy La Ferle. Inspired by the e.e. cummings poem of the same title, this piece was made from an altered children's board book and…

Self-portrait exhibit

Self-portraits created by members of the Berrien Artist Guild are exhibited throughout the galleries at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Michigan, now through September 27th.

The concept for the Box Factory exhibit began with the belief that every artist should attempt at least one self-portrait. My own "Autobiography"-- which was built around a photo taken of me in 1978 -- is included in this show. Whether you're creating a self-portrait or writing a memoir or an autobiography, the process begins with "I" ... so I had some fun punning around when I added an image of an eye to this piece. Did you spot it yet?

A three-part tutorial on how I started this mixed-media project is included on my blog, Cindy La Ferle's Home Office. Click hereto read the first installment.