Susan L.

History

The person I am today was molded early in my life. I grew up on a farm in rural Ontario, Canada, one of four children. Most of what we needed, we grew in one form or other, and there was a long tradition of textile arts which was passed down from generation to generation. As a child, I remember learning how to knit and sew at the knees of my grandmother and mother. I always like making things; from cooking to doll clothes, to school projects. Farm life was tough, with little free time, and a level of guilt that was imposed if one was idle. Reading and music were acceptable deviations from the daily chores, and I nurtured these.

I studied home economics in college, and decided to pursue a Masters degree in Clothing and Textiles so I could teach at the college level, which I have done most of my life. I married at 23 and followed my husband on his career path. Two sons entered our world, and I enjoyed being a mom. As my boys reached their teens, the marriage started to become unsettled. My husband and I no longer could agree on many things, and in the end, we went our separate ways. Although I regret the loss of the family unit, I am much freer now in my heart and mind and I have learned through the years to be content in my world.

I have owned a business for over 25 years, through which I design and develop software that other textile artists use to create. It is pleasing to me to know that I have added to the realm of the tools available for design.

Process

Most of my creative world revolves around projects that I can use in my teaching or for my business. I don’t make art to sell, but rather to test ideas. I have no standard starting point; it varies from project to project, and I like it that way. I have learned to be aware of the inspirations in the world around me, almost to a fault, as I am easily distracted. I truly enjoy the planning and thinking stages of a project. Harnessing my ideas takes discipline, and this seems to be the work in progress. Time is my biggest enemy, as there simply is never enough of it. My farm upbringing taught me to always be busy, which generally serves me well, but the older I get, the more I realize I need to find some level of balance.

In addition to the various textile arts I practise, I love to write. This is one area where I am proficient and efficient. It comes easily to me now and I have used this skill to supplement my income, although I generally consider income from writing as my mad money and use it to purchase art.

What do I care about?

I care about being creative; the act and process of it. I like learning new things and am always reading, exploring, and feeding my mind and soul. I believe I have hit a point, where I now must say ‘enough’. It is time to develop the skill of focus and transition from being good at many things, to being great at a few. I am at a point where I want to choose a one or two areas and delve deep. No matter what I do however, one of the most important things for me, professionally, is to share and inspire my students. I hope they take some part of what I teach with them in their lives, for if they do, I will feel that I have passed my art along.