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Susan Else: Fabric sculptor creates a world of colorful characters

Susan Else brings scraps of cloth to life. The rooms of her high-ceilinged Victorian studio/home are populated with Else's ingenious three-dimensional figures, frozen in movement. A patterned elephant walks a tightrope surrounded by quilted vines and leaves. Multicolored cats stretch and preen as pawns on a giant quilted chessboard. A woman runs on her bright bedspread, corded hair flying. "I grew up watching people make art," says Else, who was a recent Open Studios participant. Her father was an accomplished painter, her mother a talented sculptor. "But I always loved textiles." Two little dolls that she made at age 9 peer from a nearby wall...
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Comment by Laurie C. Fowler on October 20, 2009 at 2:55pm
Susan, When I looked at the work that this artist does, I was shocked! I have enjoyed sewing since I was 6yrs old. In high school I discovered that I was also talented in the Arts. Sculpture, and painting especially. I was accepted at the Chicago Art Institue when I was 17yo. However my father would not let me attend the school, until I was 18yo. (They don't have dorms). I was told that I would have to attend the University of Kentucky for one semester, unitl I turned 18 before I could transfer.Unfortunatly, my mother commited suicide when I was 17yo. so the second income was gone and so was my going to Chicago. I went to live with my grandmother and went into a 1yr. program for a Licensed Practical Nurse. I have been a nurse for 35yrs. but have always wondered what I could have done if I had been able to go to art school. Ironically, I JUST took up Oil Painting again after all these years, BUT, I knew that something was missing in my painting. I wasn't inspired! Since I enjoy sculpting as much as painting, all of the sudden you post this incredible woman who sculpts with fabric. I now have the idea to combine fabrics onto my oil paintings. My head is FULL of ideas. THANK YOU FOR THE POST!! I don't know if any one has done this before, and it doesn't matter. I can't wait to start painting and using fabrics, incorporated into the painting. I have so many fabrics (stashed) that the opportunities are endless. DUH, why didn't I think of it sooner. I know it will take me awhile to perfect the technique. I will have to learn how to apply the fabric to canvas. Gesso, glue, starch??? If you know of anyone who does this, and has some tips, please let me know. Thank you so much for the inspiration. I will still keep sewing. By the way I just got the pants making booklet from the weekly give away. I must admit, it's a little bit confusing and maybe over my head but I have only had time to give it a quick look. I'll let you know if I complete a pant outfit using it. Thanks again, Laurie Fowler
Comment by Jacqueline Fowlkes on October 20, 2009 at 10:24am
I love your work!! Very inspirational.
Comment by Mary on October 20, 2009 at 9:50am
Absolutely awesome work, truly inspirational. Imagine the patience to make all those body parts. I love it!
Comment by Susan on October 20, 2009 at 7:06am
( Just a note to let everyone know that *I* am not Susan Else! lol! )
Comment by Birdie on October 20, 2009 at 7:04am
Congrats on your write up in the Santa Cruise Sentinel & WSJ, Susan! These are definitely museum worthy. Wow. The Ferris Wheel sculpture was amazing. I like the colors and shape of the blue & purple figure above though. I wish I could see a close up!

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