When I first saw Exuberance, I couldn’t take my eyes off of all the intricate details of the flowers and the way every colors blended into each other. The more I looked, the more I was drawn to the dreamy and wondrous landscape of the quilt. I guess a moment like this is called love at first sight, but I soon realized that I became infatuated with all Susan’s other works. Needless to say, I sent her an email the moment she walked out of the door.
When did you start quilting?
For most of my life I did not like quilts – I thought they were dull and boring. Then about 6 years ago I began seeing bright, contemporary quilts that were bursting with color and energy. I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do. I began with a traditional quilt making class (by machine, of course), and over time have explored my own artistic vision through a mix of traditional and contemporary/mixed-media styles.
Who are your favorite artists?
I love a variety of styles and artists. Contemporary quilt artists like Caryl Bryer Fallert, Libby Lehman, Phillipa Naylor, Noriko Endo, Katie Pasquini Masopust, and others all serve as inspirations, as well as the new mixed-media artists and digital artists.
How long does it take you to finish a piece of quilt?
The time required to make one of my quilts varies immensely, depending on the style of quilt (pieced vs. painted), the size, and how distracted I get doing other things! Exuberance took me about three months, while Jubilee, being an intricate pieced design, took almost five months. I think the fastest I have ever finished a quilt was one month, and I must admit that in order to do that my house was a wreck and my family complained that they never saw me!
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere! I get lots of ideas from nature, especially flowers, and I am totally enthralled with really good graffiti. I’m actually working on making a graffiti quilt. Sometimes I get an idea from a verbal cue – someone will be talking about something and I get a picture in my head of how it could be as a quilt. I find that in general I am most inspired by color and movement of the design, by a sense of energy and freedom that I am trying to convey.
Which websites do you visit routinely?
I don’t spend a lot of time on the web (because I’m always quilting!), but my favorite sites include Amazon (as I am a voracious reader), Quilting Arts, Dick Blick art supplies, and Ebay sometimes for fabric.
Favorite book is a real tough one, as I have loved numerous books over my lifetime. Reading has always been my escape and means of living another life or getting inside someone else’s head. Growing up I was a total Nancy Drew fan, and still have my collection. I also love the whole Lord of the Ring series, probably the only books I have read numerous times. In general, I like really good science fiction that deals with cutting edge ideas, well researched historical fiction, and books with depth in their characters or unique situations that make you think how would I handle this?
I have no one favorite musician. I get bored easily, so I like a variety of musical styles. I usually listen to rock or pop, and I try to keep up with new musicians coming on the scene so I don’t get stuck in the music of my past. No golden oldies station for me!
What is your most treasured possession?
While I have lots of things that I cherish, my favorite is probably a sculpture made by the Israeli artist Haziza. It is simply differently textured squares of vibrant color in acrylic, but it is so beautiful!
Interviewed by Connie Q.