Tuesday, February 5, 2013

3D Textile Sculpture with Susan Else

If any of you readers attended Road to California in January 2012 you were probably as impressed and fascinated by the exhibit of Susan Else's textile sculpture. Susan is a nationally known fabric artist from Santa Cruz, California and this year she was listed as an instructor for four days of classes - a one day fabric collage workshop and three days of 3D sculptures in fabric. Though wildly out of my comfort zone, I had to sign up.....

Susan is an extraordinarily talented fabric artist who creates her own magical and fantastical world. As it turns out her figures, trees and embellishments are not that difficult to make using the techniques she very generously shared, but the poses, gestures and wonderful sense of whimsy and color are hers alone.

She had so conveniently put together complete kits for our cycad or palm-like trees and our little beast figures including all the fabrics, batting, knitting needle supports, covered floral wire for posable extremities/tree limbs, steel washers to add stability and a wonderfully silky batting for easy stuffing.

Gradually our trees with wildly colorful leaves and flowers and little beasts took shape. when finished (or at least pinned together) we worked on poses and gestures to give them all individuality and spark. On the last day of the three day class we were able to pose them in her proscenium arch theatrical background (see the first photo) to see how they related to that space and to each other. A really interesting exercise.

The week after the class in my own studio my little beast which had originally been some sort of a Maurice Sendak character, very upright with horns, was taken apart and morphed into a more birdlike pose. Now he has become a baby T Rex with purple horns in his forehead peering out from behind his prehistoric cycad tree embellished with leaves and flowers.

He makes me smile.