kurt cyr palm springs

From the Ashes

After a devastating fire, artist and designer Kurt Cyr finds rebirth in creativity.

Lisa Marie Hart Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

kurt cyr palm springs

On June 13, 2021, a fire swept through an area near Pinyon Pines, sparing the Makerville studio, which suffered smoke damage, but destroying the rustic-modern residential trailer on site.

“For several days afterward, we weren’t sure what had burned and what hadn’t as we were not allowed on the property,” says studio co-owner Kurt Cyr. “During that time of uncertainty, I began to formulate the idea of creating something tangible and concrete out of the destruction as a way to move forward in a positive way.”

Kurt Cyr

Arriving for his first look a week after the fire, Cyr says he found scorched earth covered in ash and burnt remains of yucca, pinyon pines, and sugar bush. Bits of charcoal he gathered from the ravaged landscape became his medium for a healing series of hand-drawn patterns: the more charred the piece, the softer and darker the line.

“The lines created with a chunk of charcoal are erratic — thick and dark, scratchy and thin — both in a single stroke,” he says. “It is impossible to control the line the way you can with a manufactured charcoal pencil. That lack of control gives way to a natural nonchalance.”

His six new charcoal patterns are among more than 300 designs Cyr has uploaded to Spoonflower.com where they can be custom-ordered as fabric or wallpaper. “Early in my career, everything was drawn by hand,” he says. “Over the years, my work has migrated to the computer and much of my design production origination has been created in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. This has been a return to my design roots of paper and pencil or, in this case, paper and foraged charcoal.”
Charcoal sourced from the charred ground around the Makerville studio served as medium for Kurt Cyr to create hand-drawn marks, which he grouped together to form larger patterns.