Both highly technically accomplished and artistically talented, popular and award-winning art quilter Sue Rasmussen recently shared with us some thoughts on her art, and teaching.
Sue returns to the Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshops this fall, to teach a Workshop November 1 to 7, 2015: Landscapes: Designing and Piecing Pictorial Quilts.
How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?
I have been teaching for over 25 years, initially teaching machine quilting, then Landscapes and Pictorial quilts. A friend of mine “stole” one of my Machine Quilting white-on-white quilts unbeknownst to me and entered it into the California State Fair. I won first place and Best of Show. Soon after word got out, I was asked to teach at the local shops.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
Sharing my techniques, piecing tricks, and extensive textiles knowledge with my students and friends. But more than that, I love meeting people and influencing or affecting their quilts and the way they approach quilting.
What would you tell your prospective students are the three best reasons for taking a workshop?
- You will learn a new technique and all the simple tricks that I have developed to make this process successful, enjoyable and transferable to all your quilting projects. So many quilters have pictures of loved ones(whether furry or two legged) or a special place that they want to remember and memorialize in a quilt, and I can share how easy and simple it is to make a pattern, create the design elements, and choose fabrics for that project.
- You WILL learn more in this workshop about basics in quilting than you ever expected or ever had before. (I am told this repeatedly by my students every time I teach, because I share the ‘whys and whats’ about quilt topics that most teachers don’t know). I have two degrees in Textile Science, and I share why things occur and how to make sure that things DON’T occur, such as shrinkage, bleeding, crocking etc., just to name three that we constantly battle. Understanding the importance of warp and weft in our quilts and how the right needle makes ALL the difference in your stitch and thread ease-ability.
- This is a fun, humorous and relaxed class, making you laugh and enjoy the process of learning a new technique. I share many of my silly stories of my quilts which will cause you to really belly laugh.
What are you currently working on in your own art?
Oh my, so many things. I continue to create ‘Pieced Pictorial Quilts’, and am now working on two Toucans with totally different personalities. They just need to get sewn together and quilted. (Pictures below) In addition to those two quilts, I am developing some new patterns to teach at Houston next year, and a small quilt using the new HIGHLIGHTS threads developed by YLI Corp. I have made a collage piece for the SAQA Oasis challenge too. I literally have 8 things in progress at the moment.
Where is your art currently being exhibited?
Route 66 Traveling Exhibition, Dragonfly Fabrics Collection, Markham Ranch Art Collection.
Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation?
Several of my pieces have been in galleries, and I think the art quilts that are faced do better than art quilts with traditional borders on them. Viewers seem to think ‘quilt’ if there are traditional borders on the art quilt.
Do you sell your work in any online gallery?
No, I sell my pieces directly to buyers, or direct consignments.
What is your favorite art quote?
“Art does not lie in beds ready made for it
It runs away when its name is called
It wants to be incognito
Its best moments are when it forgets what it’s called.” Jean Philippe Arthur Dubuffet
Describe your studio.
Up until three months ago, I was sprawled out between three rooms and several closets. Now I have a wonderful, light filled, free standing, large studio. I designed the entire building on my iPad, down to the placement of each electrical outlet, window, 5 design walls, and the angle of the building to capture the best light. I designed specific furniture for my particular needs, for example: an electrical 4’ x 8’ table that raises and lowers from 23” to 52”. I can design, work, sew, press or baste on this table.
Name five of your “can’t do without” tools/products.
Bernina sewing machines; good quality threads [Aurifil, YLI corp.]; Bohin products-scissors, pins, machine needles; White Chalk mechanical pencils (Bohin, Sew Line, or Fons & Porter); Universal Thread Holder; The “Elfa storage system” from the Container Store.