Susan D.

Weeks Seven and Eight

My Story

This was quite a process for me. Difficult is an understatement and even though I’m left with some pretty raw emotions I am glad I pushed through and finished. It’s been enlightening and has helped me focus. I now have a much clearer picture of who I am. I’m very thankful for that. 

Me —

I care









History —

Family most important!

Very, very young parents

Strong hands-on Grandparents

Creative resourceful people 

Yankee do it yourself-ers

Everyone worked with their hands

Learned as we did

Making and sharing what we make is in our DNA

Making = everyday life

Adventures in textiles just a normal thing

Immersed in the richness of what was going on around us


Handmade - from the heart

So much more valuable than store bought

Lots of love



Lived in history state


Family first teachers, then self motivated learning

Self taught thru independent studies

Many teachers

Always teaching, always learning

Thought everyone grew up this way

Still assume that anyone can build a dress 

Still shocked every time I relearn that this is not so


Tragedy struck when I was 17

Idyllic naive 1950’s life style came to a screeching halt 

Again at 25

Haven’t felt totally secure since


Didn’t follow my dream of art school

Thought only talented folks got to go to art school and hangout

High School Counselor - boys golf coach - didn’t talk to girls

Do something useful (get married)

Playing (art) didn’t always didn’t fit the model

We do the responsible thing first

Associates Degree in Liberal Arts


Interracial marriage, kids, step kids


Corporate world

Channeled creative energy into career in computers

Project Management

Jobs for $’s

Not much of me left for art

Creatively drained


Left corporate world

Home based commercial embroidery business

Fun for a while


Penland Folk School Experience - Dismantling the Wedding

Woke up my creative juices

Textile Center

Found my tribe of kindered spirits


Art now a central part of my life


Persevered — Survived!!!


Process —

I use my hands and heart to make things that touch people

Try to express myself through kindness, compassion and beauty

I’m happiest when making

Making is meditation

Know that I’m coming out of a depressive episode when I make something

Usually give it away - Rejoining the world

Making comes easy so I over think and complicate it

Learning to trust that I have something to say


Universal/spiritual connection between people and the water and the sky

Experienced from the heart - Soul connections

Water and air come from the sky to the people

The sky, the air, the water - Blue


Dyeing, Sewing, Stitching, Draping, Shaping,

Pressing, Shibori, Boro, Embroidery

One-of-a-kind pieces


Fabric speaks to me

Display it - Look at it - Watch - Wait

Shapes and purpose reveal themselves

Play - Explore - Experiment 

Do and Redo

Trust in and enjoy the journey 


Garments - Wraps, Vests, Jackets, Coats, Scarves

Wrap people with my love

Celebrate color, shape, line, texture

? Are garments a habit or is it where I want to be

? Must my art be functional


Mixed Media - 

Honor and celebrate history

Tell the stories that are being forgotten

Explain some of the old ways

Trigger curiosity and wonder

? Can my art hang on a wall

? Does bringing joy to someone constitute function


Content —

Nature inspires, informs, motivates

Nature is the family religion

Natural colors, natural fibers

Keep it close to the earth

Respect Mother Nature

The environment


Collections - yardage, thread, ribbon, lace, buttons, etc

Found items - wood, sticks, stones, feathers, glass, rusty bits

Scraps, discards, left overs, orphans

Unused, previously loved, forgotten

Recycle favs - old wool blankets and old denim


Week Nine

Distilling My Story

I’m from a long line of resourceful, creative people who worked with their hands. Making and doing were just as much a part of my growing up years as my siblings were.  If you needed something you made it, if something broke you simply put it back together just the way it was, unless of course, you could do it better. This experience provided me with a solid foundation in problem-solving, organization and the pure joy of learning. I love the challenge of taking risks and venturing into the unknown. Give it a try, lets see what happens. This attitude and these skills serve me well as I create my art. Each piece is an adventure and one-of-a-kind. 

Creating something new from something old is where my heart is. I collect old wool blankets, worn denim and have a difficult time passing up a well loved table linen. My collection of found items is extensive. Brand new things make me nervous. I’m much more at home with things that have a past, a history and a story to tell. By reconfiguring and reassembling these found treasures I feel I’m simply adding another chapter to their story. 

I prefer the old ways, a simpler way of life. I actually hang laundry on the line and enjoy sewing by hand. My inspiration and my motivation both come from the environment. Whether figuratively or literally nature and history always influence my work. Blue is my color, the sky, the water, the air.