Spring artwork is released!

Last night was CSA’s first pick-up event of the year at The Faculty Lounge.  The artwork for the  Spring Share was finally revealed and it really blew us away! The four artists (Chambers Austelle, Elizabeth Calcote, Chris Nickels, and Karin Olah) went above and beyond, creating work that is fresh and exciting.  That’s not even the best part! There are still some spring shares available, so you can have a piece from each of these collections brightening up your home.  To make it easier and more accessible, we have the option of purchasing via a payment plan.  Make a deposit of $200 to reserve your share, then pay the balance ($225) plus tax when you’re ready to receive the work.  We offer free delivery in the Charleston area, or you also have the option to receive your share at the upcoming Meet + Greet at Lowcountry Local First Local Works on June 18 or our Summer or Fall pick-up events (August 6 & November 5 respectively).

Chambers Austelle

Austelle works from her home studio as a photographer and painter. Her work is surreal in concept, influenced by her interest in Biology and Psychology. She employs fundamental elements and principles of design to explore the complexity of human perception. This body of work focuses on the dialogue between the conscious and the unconscious. “My entire life I have dreamt intensely, so much so that sometimes it is difficult for me to discern between real memories and dream memories. Using dematerialized bodies paired with discernible faces, I reflect the strangeness of memories not understood or explained. I balance the duality of the imagery using simple elements of color, composition, and space.”

“The 32 paintings I created for Charleston Supported Art’s spring 2015 share, is a continuation of the body of work, Portraits. Each piece was created from my home studio in Charleston, SC and painted with Golden Acrylics onto a 6 x 6 inch birch wood panel. Although characteristics familiar to my work, such as negative space, dematerialized bodies, and juxtaposition between two-dimensional and three-dimensional spaces, were incorporated into these paintings, my focus was the face. Each composition depicts a cropped, precise moment in time.  The movement and gestural lines of the hands are contradicted by the stillness and isolation of the face, while the color palette offsets the tension of disembodiment.”

Elizabeth Calcote

For thousands of years, women told their story through textiles, unable to read or write due to lack of education, or confined to activities such as needlepoint and weaving. I follow in that tradition, using symbols, patterns, and colors to tell a narrative from history.

The Lucas is inspired by Eliza Lucas Pinckney. At 22, she cultivated the first successful strain of indigo in the Carolinas and gave the seeds to other planters in the region. As a result, indigo became the second largest export of our state in the 18th century. The center of the pocket square is modeled after the rose window on one of Eliza’s homes, Hampton Plantation. The columns are ionic, like the columns of Eliza’s downtown Charleston home, which was destroyed in a 1861 fire. The paisley pattern comes from an embroidered tea cloth that Eliza stitched with threads dyed in her indigo. The block ink is indigo blue, and the charmeuse silk is hand-dyed using natural pigments. The block ink is indigo blue and the charmeuse silk is hand-dyed using natural pigments. The Lucas comes with a poem in a block-printed box.

Chris Nickels

When Nickels puts down his pen he enjoys the outdoors, graphic novels, old cameras, and trying new foods. He loves conveying a narrative through images, whether it be an abstract interpretation or a memorable scene. The focus for this project was to create a series in which to explore color, texture and composition in similar ways, but leave each piece feeling very individual. In this series, Nickels interprets and amalgamates archetectural imagery that he has gathered while living on the Atlantic Coast. They are repurposed from specific elements of memories, images, and experiences into something completely new.

Karin Olah

Spending time near or on the water has a positive effect on mood and health. Lucky for Olah and her fellow Lowcountry water- lovers, they have plenty of the wet stuff surrounding and influencing well-being. She’s soaking in the inspiring views and excited to share her own twist on a beloved subject.

Olah’s collection for CSA began as 8 panoramic paintings based on photos she took at Charles Town Landing, Folly Beach, and Shem Creek. She started with a background sketch, then under-painted the landscape, then applied fabric soaked in rice starch, then painted details using gouache, pastel, and pencils. Next, Olah cut the panoramic paintings into individual paintings, carefully choosing my favorite scenes for the CSA series. Each painting is unique and has “sibling paintings” that share its story.

She is interested in finding metaphorical connections between fabric and subject matter. This is why she pastes fabric into her paintings. Fabric has a load of memories that comes with it. It’s something everyone connects with.



Many thanks to our talented Spring 2015 artists for creating some extraordinary art for the program, The Faculty Lounge for being such gracious pick-up event hosts, and the Frothy Beard Brewing Co. & Cannonborough Beverage Co. for offering up some tasty beverages for our guests to enjoy.


Spring share artist Elizabeth Calcote prints colorful and historically rich textiles.  She was recently interviewed by co-founder Camela Guevara about her start in printmaking, her current collection at IBU, and where she wants to take her art in the future.  Read on to learn more about this fascinating artist.

CG: How did printmaking initially capture your attention?

EC: As a student at the College of Charleston, I was an biology major on a pre-medicine track.  To break up my heavy math and science schedule, I enrolled in a Drawing I class.  During the semester we created negative or subtractive drawings, where the artist uses black paper and white chalk, or charcoals a paper black and “draws” with an eraser.  I enjoyed these assignment most, and the professor suggested I take printmaking, as woodcuts, linocuts, and mezzotints are done through this same process.  I listened, enrolled in Print I, fell in love, and haven’t stopped printing since.

CG: You began printing products like stationery and fans. What lead you to begin printing on textiles?

EC: Textiles have always been a part of my creative passion.  I sewed my first quilt with my mother when I was seven.  When we were done, I embroidered the verse “Love one another” in the center with scarlet thread. We went on to sew more quilts, costumes, purses, dresses, and other things together throughout the years. Each piece we sewed had a story and lived a life of its own.  I was able to find a way to combine my two passions, printmaking and textiles, after watching a documentary on David Evans Co. Ltd. of Crayford, the last London silk house which closed in 2002.  After research and experimentation, I found a way to block-print silk with the resources I had available.  I think in a very nostalgic way, working with fabric reminds me of all the times my mother and I spent sewing together.

CG: Your scarves and pocket squares reference Goddesses and other historical figures through lively mandalas and graphic prints. Give us some insight into how you translate their legacies into pattern.

EC: I research the historical and mythological figures that inspire my designs.  This includes looking at architecture, artifacts, iconography, clothing, art, literature, and symbols from their lifetime.  I have a fascination with Egyptology, in particular, hieroglyphics.  The idea of a completely visual language is something I find magical and universal.  Using the same principle, I “tell” the story of my inspirational figure through symbols and pattern on a textile.  Also, I like to imagine that the design I create would be a design the figure would hypothetically wear, something true to their era and style.

CG: What do you normally listen to in your studio?

EC: Right now it’s Mapei, Tuxedo, and a lot of Robyn.  Usually I keep my guitar in the studio and take mental vacations by playing a Fleetwood song or two.  When I am printing large editions for extended periods, I put my Queen albums on repeat.

CG: We enjoyed seeing your work in the beautiful IBU store on King Street. What have you taken away from the experience of having your scarves beside other female artisans all over the world?

EC: Being beside other female artisans is motivating and inspiring.  Their work is something I am working toward.  Someday, I want to experience the women felting in Kazakhstan for generations, weaving intricate and stunning shoe patterns in Guatemala, dying silks in India with centuries of skill and precision.  The colors, designs, technique, and stories fill me with duende or the spirit of art that moves the soul.  And I feel included in a part of something larger, as we all have something in common; a love of telling a story, creating a textile that unites us over water and land.  I feel honored and inspired.

CG: What was the best meal you’ve had recently?

EC: The last lunch I had with my wife at Park Cafe was amazing— starting with the crusty baguette and fresh ricotta followed by a vegetable plate with braised cabbage, citrus glazed beets, creamed kale, and sun-chokes in a garlic aioli.  For dessert, we shared Danish Abelskiver with strawberry preserves.

CG: How does your job at Artizom framing enrich your artistic practice?

EC: Artizom has been a integral part on my journey to becoming a textile designer.  We are a work family and each employee is also an artist or craftsperson.  We are supportive of each other’s creative endeavors, but we also offer critique and advice.  Helping clients choose frames, design presentations, and making connections with collectors in the Charleston community enriches my everyday artistic life.  Building the shadowboxes, mattes, stretchers, and frames has strengthened my craft and skills. Seeing the work of other artist and designers has influenced my work and inspired me to create more.

CG: If you could travel to any location to learn their local textile tradition, where would you go?

EC: I would love to go and learn Rogan Printing in Gujarat, India.  The process is more direct than block-printing, but requires much more precision and concentration.  It has been practiced by the same family for ten generations, and the designs are floral or geometric patterns painted freehand on the fabric using thick paste and a rod.

CG: What dreams do you have for your brand, Sistersgrimm Design?

EC: My dear friend, Marty Perlmutter, advised me to, “Do what you can with what you have.”  So right now, I am creating a second pocket square collection and that will be followed by a block-printed wallpaper collection. The long-term plan for Sistersgrimm Design is to become a block-printing atelier in Charleston.



Elizabeth Calcote is one of the 2015 Spring season artists.



CSA co-founder, Camela Guevara, paid a visit to spring artist Elizabeth Calcote’s studio.  She got a detailed look at how each of Elizabeth’s silk textiles are printed and a needed jolt of color for this long awaited spring.

A few weeks ago I visited Ibu on King Street during their Grand Opening. It is a gorgeous space, featuring the work of female artisans from all over the world, including our very own Elizabeth Calcote! I got a little more insight into Elizabeth’s sumptuous and colorful work when I got to peek into her studio.

Elizabeth and her partner, Adair, live in an apartment tucked away in the West Side neighborhood. It is in their second bedroom, a cozy space full of natural light, that Elizabeth creates her block printed scarves. The room is rather small and she describes it as a puzzle, as she only has enough space to work on one stage of her process at a time. She carves linoleum blocks, mixes ink, and prints in the room, but not all at once. The space informs her process, as she re-arranges and prepares for each of the steps within the space.

She carves blocks in a comfy chair at her desk. Behind the desk is a very shiny, Mylar-covered work by my brother, Conrad Guevara, which made me feel at home. There are clotheslines holding her printed wares, as well as a rack covered in vibrant scarves. On her walls are proofs of her delicately carved and precise designs.

Elizabeth custom built a stretcher to print her scarves on, which just fits in the floor space, with enough space for her to kneel and block print her designs. The carpeted floor actually helps her create optimal prints, as it allows the block some give to transfer the design onto the fabric.

I loved seeing where Elizabeth’s works are created.  It’s a truly inspiring space, and she uses every last inch efficiently!


Elizabeth Calcote is one of the 2015 Spring season artists.



Spring artist Elizabeth Calcote is a textile artist with a background in printmaking. Her works are inspired by history, pattern, and much more.  Read on to learn about what is influencing her upcoming series for the 2015 spring share!

Perhaps my greatest source of inspiration is the artistic process.  Because of my printmaking background, I am drawn to technique and experimentation with media.  Vera Neumann was a textile designer born in the beginning of the 20th century.  After studying at Cooper Union and marrying her husband, she started a company in her NYC studio apartment.  Converting her kitchen table into a silkscreen press, she printed linen placemats.  This was the modest start to her brand, Vera, which made scarves and eventually sportswear.  Her story led me to start my brand, Sisters Grimm, block-printing wearable silk textiles out of my home studio in Charleston.

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” Emile Zola


(Left) “Corpse and Mirror” Jasper Johns 1976,   (Right) “The Dutch Wives” Jasper Johns 1975

When I was eight years old, we took a family vacation to Washington, D.C., which included a stop at The National Gallery.  The one piece I could not resist going back to was past the dozens of Warhol soup cans and comic-book-style Lichtensteins.  It was a series of linocuts by Jasper Johns called “Cicada.”  I was immediately drawn to it.  Little did I know at the time that there were dozens more pieces very similar to “Cicada” which Johns painted and printed in the years before.  Now it seems as though the lines are an equation, something he was solving throughout the decades, working through to find an answer.  The result was a series that was universally moving, regardless of time, place, or age.

“We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up in the morning.” - Henry Ward Beecher

(Left) Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stained Glass, Metropolitan Museum  (Right) Interior of Mark Twain House and Museum

In history, I find inspiration and comfort, knowing that human life itself is just another repeating pattern.  Henry Ward Beecher was the brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the famous abolitionist who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Her home was adjacent to Mark Twain’s house, and often a double-stop field trip for all elementary age children in Connecticut, which included me in the 1990’s.  Mark Twain’s house was the most magical place to me, untouched by time, glistening with stained glass like jewels, and designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  The craft left behind by those before us, before our technology and unlimited resources, is astounding.

“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?” Zaha Hadid

(Left) Zaha Hadid, Aura for 2008 Venice Biennale    (Right) Kiki Smith, Wonder

Yayoi Kusama, Yellow Trees

My designs are influenced by past artifacts, architecture, and civilizations.  But work from visionaries like Zaha Hadid, Yayoi Kusama, and Kiki Smith remind me that while there are “no new ideas,” there are always new risks, new media, and new collaborations.  As a designer, I am grateful to experience the work of others, to have the luxury to fail without punishment, to experiment without expectations, and to live and create freely.


Elizabeth Calcote is one of the 2015 Spring Season artists.