Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Artist Profile: Susan Brubaker Knapp

Susan Brubaker Knapp
Mooresville, North Carolina

1. How do you describe yourself?  Fiber artist, teacher, author. Wife, mother, daughter. Journalist, photographer, graphic designer, host of “Quilting Arts TV.” Lover of books, cats, gardens, trees, moss, rust, feathers, insects, fish, stone, pies, chocolate. 

2. What is your creative process?  I start by taking lots of photos, and when I take one that inspires me, I start working, using one of two primary techniques: either fusible raw-edge appliqué, or wholecloth painting, with a lot of thread sketching on the surface before I quilt.

3. Describe your studio space.  My studio was a guest bedroom until I painted it red and my mom stopped wanting to stay overnight with us (she claimed the red color made her feel “like she was sleeping in hell”) and I took it over about 12 years ago. It’s about 14' x 14', and crammed with fabric, old dressers, cutting and ironing surfaces, and a sewing machine cabinet, plus lots of stuff to inspire me. 

4. What's your signature style?  How long did it take you to find your style when you first started making art quilts?  I started out as a traditional quilter (I made my first quilt when I was 10), and started making art quilts about 2006. Most of my work is highly realistic, based on my original photos. It is usually very bright in saturated color, and often is based on botanical themes. I quickly settled in to this style once I started making art quilts/fiber art.

5. Are there artistic endeavors you are yet to do?  Yes! Some planned, and probably many yet unknown. Three quilts in particular are itching my brain right now: A dragon; a quilt about my father and Alzheimer’s Disease; and a quilt of my mom flying (she had a recurring dream of flying, and I want to make a quilt of her soaring over her childhood home, wearing her nightgown).  

6. Do you keep a sketchbook and/or journal?  I keep several sketchbooks. I work most often when I am traveling, as there is lots of spare time to draw when one is stuck on planes and at airports. I got into the habit of working in a sketchbook after the Sketchbook Challenge. It’s my goal to one day create more art quilts based on my drawings, instead of my photos. I’d like to make quilts that come more from my imagination.

7. Being published is important to artists, so do you have any instructional dvd's, author of books, YouTube channel, have a website with other artists for collaborative projects?  I have written two books: “Appliqué Petal Party,” and “Point, Clic, Quilt: Turn Your Photos into Fabulous Fabric Art.” And I have five Quilting Arts Workshops available on DVD/digital download: Master Machine Quilting; Master Machine Stitching; Dynamic Quilt Design (on wholecloth painting); Fabulous Finishes (on finishing techniques); and 52 Free-Motion Quilting Motifs and Fillers. 

8. Do you teach?  Yes!

Madeline Island School of the Arts (MISA)
Madeline Island, Wisconsin
Oct. 3-7, 2016
5-day workshop: Paint & Stitch

Western North Carolina Quilters Guild
Hendersonville, NC
Nov. 17-18, 2016
lecture Nov. 17: Thread Sketch It!
workshop Nov. 18: Thread Sketching: Snowflakes
Coastal Carolina Quilters
Surfside Beach, SC
Jan. 16-17, 2017
Jan. 16: lecture, details TBA
Jan. 17: workshop, details TBA
Gate City Quilt Guild
Greenboro, NC
Feb. 2, 2017
lecture: details TBA 

Art Quilters Unlimited
Ft. Myers, FL
March 3-5
March 3: Start With a Photo: Round Red Barn
March 4: November Leaves
March 5: Paint & Stitch: Peacock Feather

Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar
Pacific Grove, CA
April 21-26
five-day workshop: Wholecloth Painting and Thread Sketching (original work from your photos) 

9. Having your work in juried, invitationals, and solo shows is a great way to get your name out there. Where can people see your work?
Except for d@8, none. I haven’t had time to even think about exhibitions!

10. How many years have you had your work in d@8 exhibits, or is this your first time?  This is the sixth year I’ve had work in d@8 exhibits. Patterns (2016), Affinity (2015), Reflections (2014), An Exquisite Moment (2013), Rituals (2012), The Space Between (2011).
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