I work with multiple processes and scales – stitched drawings on cloth, large scale drawings on paper, and ongoing sketchbook explorations – moving back and forth, with the idea that each process will inform the others. I hope to keep an openness to the inevitable slippage that happens when translating and transitioning across materials and scales.
In the stitched work, marks and lines meander, coalesce, or nervously bob across the surface, often describing a world of the mundane – domestic objects, collections of the overlooked, random thoughts and memories. I’m interested in locating a drawing aesthetic in textile work, capturing the sense of immediacy and expressive potential associated with drawing. This work is quiet and might be considered lacking in skill. But, the simplicity, casualness, seemingly accidental nature are strengths, designed to engage viewers and makers in an open, unthreatening way. If it looks like anyone could do it, that’s true! Most anyone could. What I enjoy most about stitch is working spontaneously, without concern for technical perfection.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Susan Moss has been marking on surfaces since a child – paper table cloths, fabric, kraft paper, and archival paper, large and small. Moss’s drawings, mixed media work, and spontaneously stitched embroideries have been exhibited nationally and regionally in over ninety venues. Her work was recently highlighted in Uppercase magazine’s sketchbook feature.
She taught drawing and textile art courses at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, for nearly 30 years, retiring recently. Her teaching emphasized fostering student creativity. She continues with this goal to engender and support creativity by teaching sketchbook workshops, including at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and Textile Center.
Her own sketchbook practice may start with a theme – sedimentary rock, seeds, nerve pathways – but usually devolves to something looser and more abstract. Pattern, especially textile patterns, are a recurring element. Sometimes sketchbook imagery finds a life in a larger or more “finished” format, but the major purpose is to keep engaged, thinking, and alive creatively, especially when day-to-day urgencies don’t allow for large blocks of studio time. In contrast to the slow, restrained processes of hand embroidery, the sketchbooks provide a space for spontaneity and improvisation.
Moss lives with her husband and two Aussie dogs in Southwest Colorado. When not in the studio, she camps, hikes, fishes, and gardens. She visits her children in Chicago whenever possible and hopes to make a home there someday.
© Susan Moss