This month’s Palette of Possibilities: WV Artist on Display features guest artist, Suzanne Williams. Suzanne is the owner of locally owned business, Silk Work Pins and Paper and Sundry Sweet Things. She creates art for homes, art to wear, artfully made jams, spreads, and more. Read our Q&A to learn about Suzanna’s greatest accomplishment and what inspires her.
1. How do you describe your palette?
I am a fiber artist centered on the silk fusion technique. I use silk roving (fiber) as the primary element to make silk paper/fabric: Feel and stiffness depend on materials used. I incorporate wool roving as well as ribbons, yarns, silkworm cocoons, stripping, leaves, twigs, feathers … I make artwork already framed, pieces to be framed by the customer, cards, candle holders, vases. I also make brooches, hairclips using Shibori-dyed silk. My special skill is persistence and I am increasingly willing to step out of my comfort zone. I am also a writer. I focus on my experiences as a student and doctor up through some time after retiring from medicine. (Bucket list: stand up comedy routine.)
2. What is your greatest accomplishment?
Over time (a long time), I’ve come to believe that both of my life’s work as an Osteopathic family doctor and artist, I have value and merits that are equal and different. Both of my professions have challenges and obstacles to overcome. I regularly submitting photos of my art work and essays of my written work to various organizations for scrutiny and comment.
3. What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?
Temptation to involve myself in too many activities/pursuits related or unrelated to fiber arts and writing. Temptation to buy into the point of view that, in no longer working within some realm related to medicine, I am someone involved in the arts as a matter of “keeping busy” but not doing something “real” and that income is equated with value. Another obstacle is balancing my time as an artisan with other loves, activities and responsibilities.
4. How do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration is found through looking at the natural world around me. Keeping my eyes and other senses open. Maintaining contact with other artists, especially those within some of the fiber arts and silk fusion in particular. Visiting others’ websites. Reading magazines focused on art using fibers and paper-making. Studying technique and form. Going to meetings of the Greenbrier Artists. Taking time out to rest my eyes and other senses in order to return to work refreshed, open to inspiration. I also work with Belinda Anderson and take Willa Izzo’s class through Shepherd Center twice a year.
5. What advice do you have for other artists.
My advice is to believe in yourself and value what you do. Hang out with other artisans and friends who value your commitment and work. Define success in your own terms. Accept feedback, even when it is not what you wanted to hear. At the same time, avoid “nay-sayers”. Be a learner. Persist.
6. Where can people find your products?
Please come visit my booth at the Lewisburg Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning! The market is located in the same parking lot as the Lewisburg United Methodist Church and Post Office. To see me work right now, please visit silkworkpinsandpaper.com or feel free to email me with any questions or just to say hi at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always look forward to hearing from new people.
– LBSPY 57 (August 25-September 29, 2014)