main menu Sponsor Banner
page menu

Susan Carlson First timers do the same little dance when they spot a Susan Carlson portrait in a gallery or craft fair. It goes like this: walk, pause, double-take, turn, approach, approach and stare. The dance is instinctual and seems unaffected by age, race, sex, or textile orientation.

Susan Carlson "paints" in fabric, but that isn't immediately apparent. Her work is so realistic that it passes, at first glance, for oil on canvas. That is where the double-take comes in. The viewer gets disoriented. The viewer approaches, tugged toward the picture in kindly way. The fabric is warm and colorful, revealing itself, dissolving from human features into shapes, patterns and textures as the viewer closes in.

"My mother made quilts," Susan says. Raised among folksy fabrics, she too made little quilts, but ended up an illustrator at art school. She tries her hand at graphic design, then painted faces on fabric. Eventually the quilting won out, turning photo-realistic as her skill evolved.

Susan is in from her Berwick studio, shopping today at Portsmouth Fabric where she worked until her muse demanded full attention. She passes bolt after bolt of dazzling cloth. Where one fabric artist might see geometry, Susan sees human eyes, lips, hands. "This could be a nice cheek," she says, lifting a flap of material that looks nothing like a cheek at all. "And here are the highlights, the shadows. Do you see?"

The writer does not see, but nods. Having cut her own path and defined her own style, Susan is virtually alone in her chosen field. Her new art medium is hard to describe because its pallet is infinitely varied. Imagine a huge Polaroid camera that spits our medieval tapestries. Imagine Michelangelo stitching the Sistine ceiling.

Recently Susan Carlson sewed the Seacoast Farmer's Market. She fell in love with the people there, the seasonal changes of shape and color. The result was a four-piece series, Jerry from Rochester selling apples, "Cricket" the woman with the spring rolls among vegetables, Charlie with his noisome roosters, Laura hidden in sunflowers.

In a gallery the fabric farmer portraits hang more joyously than the oils or water colors nearby. It's art all right, but it makes you feel good somehow. The next row of first-timers move toward the pictures in unison like a Texas-two step class. There is a powerful need to touch the work. Quilts want to be touched. while paint recoils. Then the dancers retire to regain the distant perspective. The music rises and you can hear the fiddle player now. The country caller guides the dancers: bow to the painting, step back left, step back right. spin your partner through the night.

By J. Dennis Robinson
© 1997 SeacoastNH.com. All rights reserved.

E-mail Susan Carlson at: fabimage@nh.ultranet.com
Susan's Website: http://www.nh.ultranet.com/~fabimage


top of page

SUSAN CARLSON RESUME

EDUCATIONS
Maryland Institute
College of Art, Baltimore, MD BFA in illustration 1983

EXHIBITIONS

1996
Gone Fishin'
Multi-media Fish Art Exhibit
Silver Ribbon Art Gallery, Pembroke, MA

Works of Art for the Wall
Belknap Mill Society, Laconia, NH

1995
Somethin' Fishy
Solo exhibit of new works
Portsmouth, NH

Living With Crafts
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
Sunapee, NH

New England Images 5
Celebrity Showcase Auction to benefit the New England Quilt Museum
Marlborough, MA

Go Fish!
N.W. Barrett Gallery
Portsmouth, NH

Intentional Transgressions
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Headquarters
Concord, NH

20th Annual Juried Exhibit
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
Keene, NH

Masterworks
The Currier Gallery of Art
Manchester, NH

1994
Living With Crafts
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
Sunapee, NH

Celebrations of the Season
New England Quilt Museum
Lowell, MA

1993
Living With Crafts
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
Sunapee, NH

New England Images 4
Celebrity Showcase Auction to benefit the New England Quilt Museum
Marlborough, MA

Artquilts 1993
Guilford Handcrafts
Guilford, NH

1992
17th Annual Jurried Exhibit
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
Keene, NH

Quilt Expo
Europa III International Quilt Festival
Portland, OR & Houston, TX

1991
Regional Fibers and Textiles
Sharon Arts Center
Sharon, NH

Awards/Grants

1995
"Coral Reef I"
Popular Choice award Living With Crafts
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
Sunapee, NH

1994
Artist Opportunity Grant
New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts

"Twilight"
Multimedia and Popular Choice awards
Living With Crafts
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
Sunapee, NH

1993
"Elements"
Best of Show and Popular Choice awards
Living With Crafts
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
Sunapee, NH

15 Minutes of Fame
New Hampshire Crossroads TV Channel 11
featured artist August 6, 1993 and August 5, 1994

Publications
Traditional Quilter magazine,
January 1996, featured artist

Quilter's Newsletter Magazine,
January 1996

Featured artist Quilting Today Magazine,
January 1996 featured in gallery of pictorial quilts

Quilt World magazine
November 1993, featured artist

Quilts: Discovering a New World
Leman Publications 1992
finalists of Quilt Expo Europa III

Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts magazine 1991
NH quilters article

Teaching
Fabric Images Portsmouth Fabric Company,
Portsmouth, NH

Bernina Club & Guide Classes
Portsmouth Fabric Company
Portsmouth, NH

Crazy Log Cabin
Portsmouth, NH
Fabric Company, Portsmouth, NH

Somethin' Fishy
New England Quilter's Guild
Manchester, NH

Lectures

1996
Evergreen Quilters Alfred ME
MacNab's Tea Room, Boothbay, ME
Quilters Guild, Dover, NH

1995
Monadnock Quilter's Guild, Peterborough, NH

1994
Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild, Laconia, NH
New Hampshire Dressmaker's Guild, Concord, NH
Seabreeze Quilters, Exeter, NH
Green Mountain Quilter's Guild, South Royalton, VT
New England Quilter's Guild Manchester, NH

1992
Country Roads Quilt Guild, Rochester, NH


top of page

FABRIC IMAGES
By Susan Carlson

Three Photos
Fish Farmers Market

top of page

[ HOME | HISTORY | ARTS | TOURING | BUSINESS | SEARCH ]
[ New | Site Map | Talk | Store | Sponsors | Artists Index ]

line rule

logo

Site label
PO Box 4458
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03802
URL: http://www.SeacoastNH.com
Voice: 603-427-2020
Email: info@SeacoastNH.com


line rule