Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Artist Profile: Susan Brubaker Knapp

Susan Brubaker Knapp
Mooresville, North Carolina

1.  Describe your signature style in 5 words: Photographic. Fused or Painted. Threadsketched. Free-motion quilted. 

2.  Do you ever work in another medium and, if so, what is it and what appeals to you about it? I do, but it is all just different kinds of fiber! I knit, embroider, needlepoint, do needleturn appliqué, and recently took up cross stitch. I think I enjoy these things because of all the hand work involved, since I do so much machine work in my art quilts. They are also all very portable, and I travel a lot. Even when I’m home, I need projects I can take to my two daughters’ soccer practices, piano lessons, appointments and such. My hands are almost never not busy! 

3.  What's coming up for you in your artistic world? I’m very excited to be hosting Quilting Arts TV; I took over this year with Series 1400 (which will air in July). It gives me a front-row seat to learn from some of the best art quilters and surface designers in the world! I’m also excited to be teaching in some exciting venues in 2015: Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar, North Carolina Quilt Symposium, Maine Quilts, and PRO Chemical & Dye. 

4.  Do you have any studio rituals? I nearly always clean (either in a major or minor way) before I start a new project. With too much clutter, I feel incapable of starting, and perhaps guilty that things are such a mess. 

5.  Who has inspired you on your artistic journey? There are too many artists to mention. But one has been a real mentor to me: Nancy G. Cook of Charlotte, NC. She is a fellow fiber artist, and has encouraged me and helped me every step of the way. 

6.  What are the 5 essential things in your studio that you cannot live without? My Bernina sewing machines, Aurifil 50-weight Cotton Mako thread, PRO Chemical & Dye textile paints, a large cutting/design table, and good lighting (I recently installed a very bright LED overhead light that I love).
7.  What is on your design table right now? A fusible appliqué piece based on a photo of orange dogwood leaves. It’s for an article for Quilting Arts. I also have about 10 art quilts in progress (and this does not include my huge number of UFOs). 
8.  How do you juggle your artistic life, family, friends, etc? You know the phrase that Dory (in the movie “Finding Nemo”) kept repeating? “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” That is one of my mantras. Some days it is swimming, and some days it is more like treading water. As long as my head is above water at bedtime, I count the day a success. I also believe in the occasional therapeutic mini nervous breakdown. 
9.  Do you have any studio companions (human or otherwise)? My cats Wicked and Trouble, and my dog, Sophie. 

10.  What was the biggest challenge in creating your piece for Reflections? I had too many ideas! I had to abandon one because it would have taken a long time to paint, and my time was limited. The strong vertical format was also a challenge.

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