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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Art Quilts Elements: Susan Else

I was so pleased to be able to meet Susan Else at Art Quilt Elements....I first saw her work "in the bone" at Quilt National 2009 where she exhibited one of her quilted sculptures entitled "Nothing to Fear."  That piece, and this one called "Forever Yours" are both quilted material mounted on an armature.  These were done on the plastic skeletons you can find in the stores near Halloween.

I was intrigued...how in heaven's name does she do these? At quilt National I spent quite a bit of time looking at the little pieces with elaborate quilting...the feet and hands are just amazing.  Fortunately, there was a brief moment when I could ask her if I could take this picture and find out how she did it....She is most obliging.

Susan quilts the little pieces then hand sews the segments onto the armature.  Yes...I'm embarrassed to say that this it how my thinking went: "Wow! Day of the Dead Skeletons!  I love her colors....but HOW did she DO that?"  I do adore the bright colors she uses....they are my favorites, turquoises, lime greens, red, cobalt blue...all bringing you in to look closer.  It should have been all about the art...but here I was, hung up on the technicality of construction.  Susan says that she views the quilted cloth as skin, I think she infuses magic into her pieces because they live....You look at them and they are leaping and bounding....they are thinking little creatures...and all quite amazing.

"Forever Yours" has the wonderful ability to communicate a tenderness and loving feeling that one realizes can extend beyond death....No wonder she won a prize at Art Quilt Elements....and I regret to say, I am not sure which one because the room was so packed that I was left in the outer room and couldn't hear a thing what was going on in the other.....

Susan does a variety of  sculptures, some of them with flesh....actually, I think more of her pieces have flesh than not....they are amusing, thought provoking, and fun.  All of them have that same wonderfully bright palette.

Please go and check out her other work and her artists statement here.  You'll be very happy you did.

3 comments:

Vivien Zepf said...

I agree; this work is lovely and I was so glad to be able to see it "in the flesh".

jeanne Marklin said...

I love this piece for the tenderness shown, and because every viewer can project whoever they want onto the skeletons. They could be anyone, and everyone.

Lisa Broberg Quintana said...

You are so right, Jeanne....they could be anyone and everyone, and they will be everyone eventually! The fabric she chooses works like jewels, highlighting the areas...you can just stand and look at them for hours!