Fiber Art Record Keeper

Cindy Rinne’s poetry via fiber arts

I create fiber art and write poetry in San Bernardino, California. I am a storyteller and record-keeper of many cultures through my creative arts, and explore these many stories and traditions using a wide range of color, design, and texture.

Over 25 years ago, two painting friends invited me to local quilt guild meetings. Here I learned the stories behind the traditional quilt blocks, and attended guild meetings for three years before a quilt shop owner said, “Your photographs transferred onto fabric would make a beautiful quilt.” At the time, I was adhering photographs printed on fabric to wood. The owner didn’t know I wasn’t a quilter, but as I drove away the idea stuck. 

A friend showed me how to thread the pink, metal, 1970’s Brother sewing machine that had been idle for 10 years. I found a simple approach and made my first art quilt, and later I joined a friendship group in the guild where these experienced traditional quilters would show me the techniques I needed to create art quilts. One day a woman said, “Oh, you’re doing raw-edge appliqué.” I ran to find pencil and paper to write this down. This process had a name.

Many times I was the only fiber artist exhibiting in fine art shows. I sought out organizations open to my media, such as the Southern California Women’s Caucus for the Arts, and never looked back. I use fabrics from around the world, vintage buttons, and vintage lace people have given me as gifts. Sometimes people discover their donated fabrics in an art quilt at an exhibit.

Organized chaos is how I describes my studio. One fabric next to another can start an art quilt. My approach is to create an abstract collage with shapes inspired by nature from my photographs or magazine images. I uses acrylic inks, fabric paints, markers, embroidery, wrapped yarn, and beads in her process. I may cut uneven edges that create unusual shadows when hanging in exhibits, sometimes hung with both sides visible.

As exemplified in my forthcoming book, Speaking Through Sediment, co-authored with Michael Cooper, I interlace my poetry and art. “Tigress,” a poem and an art quilt is an abstract collage using African fabrics. While “Singing Bowls” is more literal including a pocket to hold the poem. Choreographer, Crystal Sepulveda, designed a dance inspired by the Singing Bowls art quilt and poem.

I like to work in series. The “Solitude Series” was inspired by one of my poems and a stanza appears on each piece in the series. The entire poem/art series have been displayed twice and some of the series have been exhibited internationally. 

This fall, I will have a solo show at the Women’s Resource Center in Riverside, CA.  Next year, I’ll exhibit at Groundspace Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and will curate a fiber art show at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art in Ontario, CA called, “rebirth of dialect.”

For more information about Cindy Rinne, please visit her blog,, her website at,, and her facebook page,



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