Thanks For Stopping By!
Hi there! I’m Shelly Stokes, owner and founder of Cedar Canyon Textiles. I love fabric art, and most of all, I love helping people find “creative success” with it. I believe that everyone is creative, and it sometimes just takes a little encouragement and confidence to get the ball rolling.
What’s my definition of creative success? It’s the satisfaction of making something 100% unique. It’s the thrill of receiving unexpected compliments on your work. It’s knowing that you stand out from the crowd. It’s believing in yourself as a clever, capable, imaginative person.
As a creative mentor, it’s my job to remind people that “arting every day” is not just a luxury, it’s an essential part of being alive!
Keys To Creative Success
I have spent a whopping 15 years exploring the world of fabric arts so far (check out the neat photo timeline and history below). Through all the fabric dying, quilting, teaching, mentoring, and business, I have learned a few things, to say the least!
There are two things I have found that make biggest difference when it comes to my creative success, and I’d like to share them with you…
The first key has been finding easy, fun ways to express my uniqueness and personality. I never wanted to spend years perfecting a technique before feeling successful with it—I always wanted to dive right in and CREATE! If you are anything like me, I think you will feel right at home here.
As far as surface design goes, I discovered that paintstiks really fit the bill for me. And then, because I was having so much fun, I kept coming up with other products and ideas to make them even better. It’s not rocket science, as I like to say! You just experiment and find out what works and what you enjoy.
The second key to my creative success has been a supportive community of like-minded fabric art enthusiasts who I can share my creative pursuits with. I have a special group of gals that I have been meeting with for many years now, and there is nothing like being able to share my creative wins and frustrations! We all make it more fun for each other.
Everywhere I have traveled, from Wisconsin to Nairobi, I have seen how community supports joyful creativity. And now, with the internet, we can create community everywhere! Even if you are in the middle of nowhere, as long as you have internet access, you can share and create wonderful relationships with other fabric artists. These are exciting times!
A Visual Timeline
Click on the pictures below to see some of the highlights of my Cedar Canyon adventure.
The Cedar Canyon Story
My life was certainly not always filled with quilting supplies, creative projects and shipping boxes like it is today!
Believe it or not, I was actually a computer programmer and quality systems manager for many years, and I had “retired” from that job before my sister ever suggested I take that first fateful quilting class.
The Accidental Entrepreneur
After dropping out of my corporate life in 1995, my husband Jack and I took the leap and moved to a small country acreage in the middle of Minnesota. Facing a cold winter in this new, rural home, I thought I had better find something to do with myself, so I took that quilting class my sister had recommended.
One thing lead to another, and soon I was even dying my own fabric. In fact, that quickly became even more of an obsession than the quilting itself. With more fabric than I could possibly use myself, it seemed like a great idea to start selling my treasures to other like-minded quilters…
And that was the beginning of Cedar Canyon Textiles! I named it for a friend’s beautiful, tree-covered ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota (you can see a photo of it in the timeline above).
When I think back to that time, I really had no idea what was in store for me—but I was certainly having fun!
A Neat New Technique
Around 2000, I found paintstiks mentioned in a book on surface design. I thought that sounded intriguing, so I went poking around on the internet looking for them (isn’t technology wonderful!)
A soon as I found a US supplier, I started using them in my work—Wow, there were so many different things I could do with them! And of course, other quilters got interested in this new technique once they saw the results. I added it to the classes I was teaching, and it quickly became very popular.
At that point, I thought to myself “I know! I’ll write a book!” Have you ever had an idea like that? Again, I had no idea what I was getting into with that either!
The “Paintstik Revolution”
I figured that before I wrote a book on the subject, I had better make sure that the materials would actually be available to my readers. So I went to visit the supplier to find out how all that was going to work out.
Well, to make a long story short, Cedar Canyon Textiles became the official paintstik distributor in the quilting market by the end of 2004. By May 2005, my book Paintstiks on Fabric was finished, and once quilters started to get their hands on it, oh my, the paintstik market boomed!
Here I set out to write a book and ended up shipping tons of paintstiks out of my garage over the next several years!
In 2008, we finally moved paintstiks into a REAL shipping warehouse, and in 2012 finally built our wonderful new home with the studio I have always dreamed of. I guess I’m evidence that you never know what’s going to happen next in life.
Like I said, I love tools that are easy, fun, and quick to learn. Paintstiks are great, and I still have not gotten tired of inventing new ways to use them. I keep on exploring and adding to the great line of paintstik “accessories” that Cedar Canyon produces. There’s always some kind of new rubbing plate or stencil in the works.
Speaking of exploration, just about every week, I put my new ideas in a newsletter, and also interview other great fabric artists for a fresh perspective. One of the best things about the newsletter is that my readers and I are really exploring together. Sometimes one little reader question will inspire a whole issue!
If you want to keep up with me and my explorations, and add some of your own as a part of Cedar Canyon Community, please sign up at the top of this page—I would love to have you as part of the gang!
Thanks for joining me on the journey to creative success!