Describe your art: Tapestry and wall hangings made with wool, silk, cotton, and linen. I use warm colors with blacks and golds, lots of hot pink. I mix bright natural elements with super shiny gaudy glitzy metallics and mix patterns with tassels. The process is enjoyable. I teach fiber arts and indigo dying.
Because I am Artsy, people think: I work in textiles so people ask me to sew stuff. People who really don’t know what I do ask me to paint stuff that is so different from what I actually make.
Bad art: Meant only to match the sofa.
Aha moment: After graduating from CofC in painting, I found fiber arts. I dove into abstract textile, dying and weaving. I decided it was ok to change from my major. For me, textiles and fibers unlocked a stronger creative energy.
Inefficiency: Hate computer… weaving doesn’t involve technology.
Huge highlight: My recent residency at the Gibbes where I got to make a 14’ piece that started as a wall hanging and became a rug.
Next big thing: Currently at a residency at The Penland Center and hope to have more residency opportunities across the country.
Best part of job: Nature of fabric lends itself to less narrative work. I love that there is so much more to learn. It is ancient. Textiles are everywhere: craft, clothing, decorative arts. I hope my art will have a positive impact and that someone will enjoy or learn or appreciate fine craft. Appreciate where cloth comes from. It is a lost art.
What have you learned: Reading the book Red, White, and Black Make Blue: Indigo in the Fabric of Colonial South Carolina Life by Andrea Feeser changed how I thought and what I knew about indigo and plantation life.
Why does art matter: Art is the basis for all the creative things we enjoy. Everything came from an idea. It resonates in our lives. It opens you up to new ideas. Experimenting and trying new things is a basic principal of life. It is the responsibility of artists to think about other ideas outside our comfort zone which leads to empathy which leads to a better world.
How are you beautiful: Persevering, making my life what I want and working to live a life in a way I can be creative. I didn’t quit, I set a different path and kept making it work. I made decisions to get me closer to what I want. A lot a freedom.
Susan Irish is the founder and owner of Fabulon — Center for Art and Education. Interested in being featured? If you’re a visual artist living or working in West Ashley, drop a line with your contact info and speciality to Fabulon.email@example.com