Sunday, April 25, 2010

Susie Monday - Pipe Creek, TX

1. How do you describe yourself? I'm an artist and teacher. And lover of all things colorful, quirky and sublime. I cook, I read, I eat well, I dance, I walk, I love my life!

2. What is your creative process? I have a very ingrained and deliberate creative process, one that I've essentially used since I was 12 years old. First I settle on a notion of something I want to say, explore or examine in a piece of work. I first collect ideas, visually, verbally, in reality and virtually, taking digital pictures, journaling and sketching, piling up fabric and colors and images. Then I play around with what I have, playing with scale, composition and story-telling. Then I produce, editing and polishing and working technically to do what needs to be done, and then I start all over again!

3. What's your style? My style is somewhere between expressive, narrative and abstract, but not non-objective. Surface design and a wild variety of materials, recycled and reclaimed

4. How long have you been a quilt maker/fiber artist? I've been a serious, professional fiber artist for about 12 years now, but I've been fascinated with and worked with fabric, pattern and color all my life, since I could hold a pair of scissors.

5. Do you listen to music when you make art? No music usually, I am the world's least auditory person. I do sometimes like to work with mindless TV on because it occupies an otherwise over critical part of my brain chatter. I can pay attention on that level to the tube, and the inner critique lets me alone.

6. What do you do when you are blocked creatively? I am rarely blocked creatively, but sometimes I am over-committed and over-involved with other-than making art. To get back in the studio, I usually have to find a deadline to meet or invent one!

7. Do you teach? Yes What’s your favorite part about teaching? I teach lots of different things, both at my home/studio in the Texas Hill Country (my El Cielo Workshop retreats), at the Southwest School of Art and Craft and Majestic Ranch, around and about at guilds and conferences and shows, but the common thread, I hope, is an interesting mix of creative process and surface design techniques. I also teach in an International Program at a local community college where my students are Spanish speaking teachers from 5 different Central American countries. There, I teach cognitive psychology theory and practice as one of a team, and technical skills these teachers can use in their rural schools -- like bookmaking, using recycled materials in toys and games, etc. It's a really incredible program..

8. Are there artistic endeavors that you have yet to do? Always. I am really getting tempted to take up painting after not touching a canvas since graduating with a BA in studio art in 1970. Also I am always working on something arty around the house.

9. How do you balance your family life and art? It helps to live where I do, and how I do. I drive 20 minutes to an hour to get to any stores, so that keeps me home and/or in the studio unless I am teaching outside of El Cielo. I don't have children and I do have a woman partner, and both those choices make it a bit easier to balance home life and art work. My partner is also a teacher and artist (college teacher, videographer, producer and writer), so we both value our creative time alone and together. I am traveling more this year to teach and that is a new challenge for both of us --finding balance, ways to work on my art when on the road, and how to keep having fun together, too. When I play, I play! When I work, I get it done, really trying not to waste time or fritter my studio time away.

10. What is the best part about what you do? The best part of what I do is getting to do it all and getting to do it my way. No one can tell me how to get my work done, or how to get my life done. I love the part of teaching that is sharing and helping others to reach into creative directions that they haven't tried before, to take themselves seriously as artists and makers -- I truly believe we are on this earth to do our best and most creative work, no matter what field its in, and I try to empower others to do so. My work as an artist is what makes my teaching authentic, if I didn't do my own creative work I don't know how I could be a teacher.
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