Suzanne L.

  I had a dream last night that I had a research paper due on how transportation affected the growth of the west...of course, no outline, no research material, due the following day, counts for half the grade! I have to admit that when this class began I was not looking forward to having “homework”, and let’s face it, it has been work. But with hard work come rewards. I have gained much insight into myself and my work.  I have appreciated and learned from the posts and responses of others. I am anxious to take this knowledge and “open the door” of my studio and get making!

    For the last few weeks, I have been working and re-working History, Process, and Content, not easy, but a truly great assignment. It’s not everyday that someone gives you “permission” to write about yourself.  Writing has always clarified my thoughts and I see now that I need to write, and write and write some more. I will admit that when I felt totally lost in my history I turned to Jane for help. As always, she was generous and helped me find that elusive “essence “ of my story. I will probably keep revisiting and tweaking the final draft, but for now, I will post what I ended up with. 

    My earliest memories are of an innocent childhood, safe and insulated, surrounded by family. Looking back, I see the threads of who I am today in the child I was. Family has always been important, along with pets, books, solitude, and nature.  I grew up in a small town in upstate New York, but I kept moving farther west. Eventually, my husband and I settled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. It was there, in the foothills of Mt. Baker we made our home and we raised three children. 

    My first sewing teacher was my grandmother, who bought me a Singer Featherweight sewing machine when I was ten. As we sat side by side, each with our own machines, I learned to sew.  I have been drawn to fabric and sewing ever since.

    After dabbling in other mediums, I discovered that making quilts was my favorite form of expression. I began by sewing traditional patterns and I came to appreciate the stories of women and their quilts. By studying Amish quilts, I learned to value the impact of simple designs and saturated colors. Many of the techniques that I have learned from talented and generous teachers, have found their way into my quilts. 

    Currently, I am experimenting with different surface design techniques and relying more on myself to guide the creative process. I find that using my own hand-dyed fabric gives me more satisfaction in the end result. In particular, I love the Shibori process of folding, clamping and dyeing fabric. While there is some control, often the surprises turn out even better. 

    I hope that one sees in my quilts, simple, honest designs that are rich in visual interest. I have a reached a point in my life that I have time to savor the beauty all around me, the mountains, the water, the changing seasons; the abundance of nature inspires my work.