Cheri Ellis is a multi-faceted Seattle artist, working across disciplines and design traditions. Cheri embraces the challenge of learning new techniques, methods and means of innovating. Her artistic career began in millinery, with 10 years of hat making, then transitioning into fashion design for the following 15 years. Throughout that time, she maintained her interest in painting, drawing and sculpting. Cheri's professional life took her from selling designs at the Freemont Market into the larger markets of fine fashion boutiques. Her work has been presented in a number of magazines and the book "Where Women Create / the Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women" by Jo Packham.
In 2012 Cheri made and evolutionary leap with her work as she envisioned a way to take all of her developed mediums and merge them into one project. She recreated her paintings digitally and then printed them onto fabric which she made into dresses. In 2013 an exciting concept emerged, driven by the desire to use her creative work to give voice to a social cause - the disappearance of honeybees. Upon hearing about Colony Collapse Disorder, Cheri researched the issue of the bees disappearance and fell in love with how bees live as cooperative social creatures.
Cheri is currently painting stories about bees, taking inspiration from literature, mythology and the bees themselves. She has founded a "bee tribe" of performing artists to showcase her work. This groundbreaking project, "The Bee Story Dresses," can be found on her website, www.cheriaellis.com. She recently created a line of Bee Story greeting cards, featuring 13 inspiring stories about the bees and the abundance they create on the planet.
Cheri has developed ways to digitally expand all of her visual art, using drawings in graphite, pen and ink, and various painting styles, to create a platform of designs that are very synchronistic and narrative. Her work translates beautifully into fabric used for custom fashion, accessories and interior design. Cheri creates her work within her live-in Ballard studio environment. She is currently involved with the Ballard community in a number of different collaborative efforts, working with the fair trade store Anima Mundi, on developing the project, interacting with the shop owners about ways to share the project, receiving resources to further build the project, and bringing in models and dancers involved with environmental studies in college. Cheri's daughter, Jittania Cire Smith, is the DJ for the project, creating layers of musical illustration with samples from bee documentaries and feminine based ideologies about the creative process and the female body.