Charcoal studio was established in 2018 to marry the many creative passions of the founding artist, Charli Barnes, into one multidisciplinary studio.

Why Charcoal?

Growing up in the midwest, Charli was given an embarrassing nickname by her parents. Charcoal. They called her that for years. As a sensitive teenager she grew to hate the name, embarrassed by it’s dirty, gritty quality, thinking it conjured a lowly image in her mind. She asked her parents to please never call her Charcoal, especially in front of her friends.

As she grew in to an adult, moved away from home and began to find her own way in the world, Charli began to reclaimed the nickname as a nostalgic memory of a home that once was, and proudly took it back as a symbol of her own. The gritty quality of charcoal was no longer an embarrassment, but a point of pride, symbolizing her solid work ethic, and burning passion to always work with her hands.

Charcoal, a common substance, is soft enough to draw on paper. Charcoal is comprised of element carbon, making it like a long-distant cousin to the diamond on the elemental family tree. Solidified under the intense pressure of the earth’s crust, diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring mineral, and sought after for their rare beauty and perceived value.

Charli’s creative aesthetic is something akin to the relationship of charcoal and diamonds: soft, with a hard edge. Playful and dark. Whimsical and serious. Intellectually sophisticated, yet simple, and accessible to many. A blend of organic and geometric, physical and digital, earthy and otherworldly.

More About Charli Barnes

Charli has worked with independent literary publisher, Moon City Press since 2013 to create one-of-a-kind book cover illustrations and interior typography designs for novels, short fiction books and poetry. As her body of work has grown, she has developed a unique visual identity for the press that stands out at literary showcases.

From 2016–2018 she worked for sister companies Knit Purl and Shibui Knits in Portland, OR as eCommerce lead, graphic designer, and product development specialist, and was proud to take a leading role in art directing the Fall Winter 2018 Echo collection, for Shibui Knits. She also worked with a small team to re-design the Shibui Knits website.

During her time working for Knit Purl and Shibui, Charli grew a sincere passion for hand-knit clothing and fiber arts, and continues her role in the knitting community as a knitwear designer and sample knitter. She is currently working on her first collection of hand-knit accessory patterns, and hopes to release in the Fall of 2018.

Previously, Charli worked as associate designer for the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Springfield, MO where, in addition to the regular design work making signage, adverts and print collateral, she teamed up with and many smart librarians to create interactive museum-style displays, branded and designed an Heirloom seed library (where patrons could check out a variety of seeds and plant them in their own garden), and designed parents’ and children’s game-boards for reading programs to encourage early literacy.

Charli graduated magna cum laude from Missouri State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with dual Emphasis in Graphic Design and Illustration. While pursuing her degree she worked as a Reference and Government Information Associate for Duane G. Meyer Library, and as a Student Designer for Missouri State University’s Office of Publications.

Charli is currently available for freelance and sample knitting work.


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