October 17, 2018
Leading off our series of short interviews with new-to-us fiber art instructors is UK based textile artist Sue Stone! Sue studied Fashion at St Martins School of Art and then Embroidery at Goldsmiths College in London. She is current chair and exhibiting member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists and a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. She’s best known for textural, figurative compositions that often feature a fish.
Q: How did you first begin creating art with the medium(s) you’ll be using in your workshop?
SS: I grew up surrounded by cloth and making. My mother was a talented tailor and I started designing clothes when I was very young. Fashion/ textiles was a natural specialism when I went to art school. I studied embroidery and graduated with a degree in Textiles/ Embroidery from Goldsmiths College, London in the 1970s. I had a long career as a clothing designer and manufacturer after leaving college but always longed to start stitching again. I returned to embroidery in 2002 and I’ve been making figurative embroidery since 2006. My recent work is mainly hand stitch sometimes with the addition of machine stitch or paint.
Q: How do you work through or get over the occasional creative block?
SS: All of my work is based on ideas and I am an avid collector of the seen, the heard and the experienced. My thoughts and observations are written in a notebook or a virtual notebook like Evernote on the computer. If I get a block I can delve into a myriad of ideas I have already collected to help me get going again. I use sampling to clear space in my mind to be able to think. The samples are never just samples. The samples spark ideas and explore the nature of marks left on the surface of the fabric by different threads, paints or crayons. They provide an important means of problem solving and a springboard from which to move forward.
Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop. Will it be more structured with specific tasks for students or will be it be more free form with students exploring their own work with your guidance?
SS: The workshop will start with a short digital presentation to introduce students to different ways to tell their story. The focus of the story can be a single figure or a group of figures. I will share the simple processes I use myself to make my work. The workshop itself will be fairly free form with individual guidance throughout. Students will be able to ask questions at any point. It’s very important to me that students produce their own work not a facsimile of mine. Students will have the opportunity to use their own drawings or photographs and ideas as a starting point so they can make their own choices. In short I like students to think for themselves but never be afraid to ask for help when they need it.