Susan Friedman, Illustrative Quilt Artist/Designer

Gerard Ortiz

Table of Contents

As soon as in a fantastic although, you come throughout someone’s operate that alterations the way you view and feel about a “craft” or “hobby.” This happened to me lately when I reconnected with a attractive lady I realized as a youngster in Queens, NY (my older brother’s higher faculty girlfriend, to be actual!) who now—to my shock and delight—lives 10 miles from me in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York.

In our first telephone dialogue, Susan Friedman informed me about her quilting pastime, but when I observed her perform in particular person in her vibrant house, I was blown away by what I noticed. To be particular, other than “just” being stunning, I didn’t count on the illustrative and even biographical mother nature of her creations. I was also amazed and impressed by her artistry: In addition to the stitching skill expected, Susan has an innate sense for shade, texture, and a organic eye for structure and composition.

As it turns out, right now Susan is an award-successful quilt artist her numerous awards and ribbons are tucked away discreetly in her workroom. Her creations are commonly more like illustrative collages, considering that in addition to the use of material and other textile findings, they include precise paper images, beads, buttons and sequins, sand and pebbles, and other organic and artifical artifacts—all in addition to textual content and creating when termed for.

Her get the job done has been proven in quilt demonstrates and galleries. She decorates her colorful house with them. Since Susan is an avid journaler as well as a quilter, I’ll allow her explain to you about her quilting journey in her individual words.

Q&A

Q: I recognize you started quilting at a later age (following remaining a biology fanatic and elementary faculty instructor). How did you arrive upon this creative craft?

A: I often manufactured my very own apparel. I was at a local quilt demonstrate and acquired a guide, Jacket Jazz by Judy Murrah. It has about 30 distinct patchwork methods. I purchased a rotary cutter, a Plexiglas ruler, and a reducing mat, created the jacket, and was hooked at age 50! I started amassing fabric, hundreds of dollars truly worth just about every month. It was my palette. The most significant bedroom in my dwelling became my stitching place and I place shelving, ceiling to ground, in the 8-foot-broad closet. Fabrics are sorted by matter and color—floral, sky, animals, h2o, trees, fun materials, and many others.

Every single location I traveled to, I’d discover the nearby quilt store. They experienced materials with prints symbolizing every thing there in mother nature that you wouldn’t find in a frequent fabric retail store.

Q: What was your original inspiration, and how did your function progress to where by it is now?

A: My original inspiration was the Jacket Jazz guide. I began heading to quilt approach workshops, reading through quilt artists’ books on shade, cloth manipulations, layouts, use of elements, landscape tactics. I built sure to perfect my primary quilt-earning techniques so my do the job would be professional good quality.

Q: Were being you creatively affected by anybody? If so, who?

A: Heaps of art quilters’ textbooks and system workshops, especially landscape quilt artists.

Q: What do you enjoy about quilting, and what do you not like so much?

A: What I adore is all the things besides pinning the 3 layers collectively every single 4 inches in all instructions, which often involves currently being on the flooring on my fingers and knees. Thank goodness I enjoy generating and making use of the edge binding, which is usually the final stage.

Q: As a sewer myself, I constantly assumed of quilting as great deal of tiresome hand stitching. Is this precise?

A: If you love it, it is not tedious. It’s calming and meditative. But sewing equipment now have a large amount of different stitches and skills so hand stitching doesn’t need to be employed at all. Doing beadwork with small stitches is wearisome because of critical tremor in my fingers. But creative imagination finds a way.

Q: You have on occasion incorporated sort, aka creating, in a piece. When do you do this, and how do you do the crafting?

A: I use the alphabet stitches on my sewing machine. I hand-compose on the facts label on the quilt again or compose straight on the quilt entrance. I obtain intriguing things at the craft and material shops in the scrapbooking section. I like pleasurable phrases on a sheet of see-through plastic I can slash up and glue on with fabric glue.

Q: Do you at any time provide or show your perform? If not, why?

A: My quilts were being in each and every regional quilt show, and also approved into the Houston Intercontinental Quilt Competition, most significant quilt demonstrate on earth! At the commencing of displaying my quilts in galleries, I offered 1 and normally regretted it because it was a flowerbox total of my have commenced from seed flowers on my deck. My quilts are private. I never ever preferred to sell my quilts immediately after that, and at the time I designed a quilt, I did not enjoy earning the same quilt yet again to offer.

Q: What inspires you to make a new quilt? What is your process like? How does a quilt begin, and what are the methods to get to the last?

A: Inspiration arrives from mother nature. My travels, the character in each individual location: bouquets, mountains, ocean, animals, the sky (I have a ton of distinct sky fabrics and character materials). I gather rocks, dried vegetation, shells, etc. from sites I have traveled to.

I function in layers, so when I have an inspiration, I pull out materials I imagine will belong and lay them out. I little by little transfer them around and start out taking away what I never like. It’s section of my inside creativeness. Most people today draw their layout very first but I go instantly to the fabric and do not attract something. I piece collectively the quilt top rated, layer it more than batting and backing cloth, pin them all jointly, sew it with each other with hand or machine quilting, utilize the binding. Then I glue on matters like tiny rocks, shells, material cutouts of birds, etcetera.

Quilts by Susan Friedman

Click on each and every image for a much larger variation.

This quilt is the look at across the reservoir from Susan’s property. 24 in. x 27 in.

Below Susan illustrates two billion years of rock strata from her rafting journey down the total Grand Canyon. (She is a geology enthusiast!) 32 in. x 39 in.

This enlargement demonstrates her use of images in addition to fabric.

Susan hand-dyed the materials, and merged them with bead embroidery that signifies her backyard. This quilt was acknowledged into the Houston International Quilt Festival, the greatest of its type in the globe. 14 in. x 11 in.

This piece represents every thing Susan loves about Tucson, Arizona: the monsoon storms, the mountains, cacti, flowers, and birds. This is all hand beadwork and sewing. 13 in. x 11 in.

An additional interpretation of the Arizona desert. She incorporates other components moreover fabric, these kinds of as the printed media and fiber trims, as revealed in this article. 34 in. x 23 in.

The seashore thru Susan’s eyes. The artist preferred to use a selection of trims from her collection, as perfectly as shells from her travels. 14 in. x 29 in.

Notice to extreme element is obvious in this enlargement.

The Sonoran desert. “I used images, fabric, rocks, and ribs from the numerous cacti.” 22 in. x 33 in.

An enlargement of the ocotillo, prickly pear, and saguaro cactus ribs.

Rocks are included from the desert washes.

Susan’s studio, huge collections of everything fiber-oriented.

A work in development working with sunset shades

The artist’s thread selection with her quilt exhibit award ribbons down below them.

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