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Cynthia Norton Designs, founded by Cynthia Norton in 1988  and incorporated in 1995, produces hand made and hand painted scarves, textiles and clothing for the high end fashion and craft markets.  Cynthia’s products are known for their subtle beauty, artistic touches and exceptional use of color. They incorporate a variety of hand dying and painting techniques that she has created through extensive experimentation, resulting in signature
looks unique to her collections.

Cynthia Norton Designs products have been sold in the most prestigious stores, including Barneys, Henri Bendel, Takashimaya, The American Craft Museum and The LA County Museum, and are in the private collections of numerous celebrities.


As an artist I’m inspired by the order and chaos of natural processes. When I create clothing, I aim to create something of the organic cohesiveness that occurs in nature. The sewing is done by my seamstress and I do the designing, dying and painting. Fabrics provide the initial inspiration and include silk, linen, wool, rayon, and bamboo, with a variety of weaves, textures, weights and finishes. Usually I start with white fabric that I then dye and/or paint, often making it softer, denser or more textured, and making the clothing washable.

Through much experimentation, I’ve developed my own painting techniques using flinging, splattering, dripping, rubbing, stamping and brushing. The patterns, shapes and colors are chosen to be coherent within themselves and to relate to the human form.


Cynthia Norton graduated in 1969 from the San Francisco Art Institute, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors and a major in sculpture.

Her career since then has included sculptural furniture, architectural design, and dance.  Since 1987 she has headed her own company, Cynthia Norton Designs, producing hand painted textiles and specializing in clothing for sophisticated, artistically inclined women.  Her designs have been sold in several of the top stores nationwide, including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Her pieces are in the private collections of a number of celebrities. Currently she focuses on a few small handpicked specialty shops and private customers.

Cynthia is a lover of beauty in all its forms.  “The idea that beauty is truth makes sense to me,” she says, “in that the creation of beauty is an expression of what is.  When truth is expressed it has beauty.”  Cynthia’s work celebrates the order and chaos of natural processes.  She loves irregularity and refinement and making them belong together.

After living in San Francisco and New York for most of her life, Cynthia recently moved back to Chautauqua, NY, where she grew up.  She is now among the few year-round residents of this renowned summer cultural and educational center, which has played an influential part in making her the person she is today.