Sue Y.

Reflections: An Artist’s Story                             

Fabric and clothing construction have always been a part of my life.   My mother always made garments for the family and even some doll clothes.  I began my own tradition by sewing a dress at the age of 15.  Subsequent instruction both in high school and college added to my expertise.  That along with majors in Biology and Special Education formed the basis of a career in education.  As years progressed I became more dissatisfied with following the patterns of others.  Often they had to be tweaked according to various body types and student preference.   Retirement years resulted in a change of focus when I took some classes from a local fiber artist.  She was making beautiful pieced wall hangings at the time. I was intrigued by her use of color and the simple fact that no fitting of clothing was required.

I still like to use color to this day.   Earlier projects consisted of using many small pieces of fabric to make a design.  Current work features a more whole cloth or vertical approach with many layers, one on top of the other.   Often this results in more art and less quilting.   I enjoy dying my own fabric be it silk or cotton and using my own designs.  My work has become more abstract often allowing for individual interpretation by the viewer.   Hand stitching has become another feature I enjoy. It personalizes each piece and further extends the bond between artist and audience.

Backgrounds in Biology and Special Education have provided an abundance of subject matter for my art.  Living things, be they large or microscopic, are always beautiful.   Work with special needs children has attuned me to the emotions and struggles we all face be it anger, happiness, or even frustration. Translating these emotions into pictures has been a lifelong interest.

Additional Reflections: A Lunch    

It has occurred to me the best gifts are often those we give ourselves.   Many times they come from unexpected places.  I’ve always enjoyed writing but the week on dismantling the committee became a watershed.  No doubt there was emotional abuse in those earlier years, but as an adult, aren’t we responsible for our own happiness?  My mother’s controlling nature was probably a result of a desire on her part to manage inherited mood swings.  Many of her relatives shared the same gene.

Last week I met a friend for lunch.  She mentioned a sister-in-law who was on medication for depression, etc.  “How lucky you husband doesn’t need those pills,” I remarked.

“Oh, but he does,” she replied.  “The whole family is on something or we couldn’t stand to be around them!”  Of course not everyone needs “happy pills” to get through the day, but for those who do it can be an invaluable tool.

 I don’t know if forgiveness is possible or even required in my case.  I do know writing about the situation has offered clarification, and more room for memories of the good times.  I began also to understand how things might have been different if those meds were readily available to ordinary folk in the 1950’s and 60’s.  All of this accomplished over a salad. You never know!