Thursday, January 19, 2012

Good to Know ... Insights for the Creative Life

ARF, 2008 © Susan M. Hinckley, 8.5" x 6"
In this week's Good to Know post, I'd like to introduce you to Susan M. Hinckley of Small Works in Wool. I just love Susan's design aesthetic and how she cleverly combines colorful wool fiber art with a fun sense of humor! I first saw Susan's work in one of Colorado's premiere fine craft galleries, Show of Hands, in Cherry Creek. Her work that I saw in person that day just thrilled me, for as a fellow fiber artist, I felt like she was representing her peers in such a smashing fashion in this high-end gallery. But beyond that rather self-centered reaction, I was also thrilled with her craftsmanship and originality. I hope you will take a few minutes to click-through to Susan's own website so that you, too, can see her complete gallery of current work.

I had a chance to ask Susan a few questions, and the answers are good to know if you also love to hear about beautiful success stories in the fiber arts. Let me share her replies with you...

GREENSONG, 2008 © Susan M. Hinckley, 7" x 8"
Georgianne Holland  Have you always sold original work and reproductions?
Susan M. Hinckley  I started offering prints of my work only because I produce such a limited number of pieces (about 12 - 15 per year) and never make the same piece twice. But I'd never been completely happy with the way my wool pieces reproduce -- they are so textural, and somehow even the best photos do not do that aspect justice. In order to re-visit some of my most popular ideas/images, I started offering some collages, which consist of fabric hand-sewn to watercolor paper, and also drawings. But I am truly not in the reproduction business at all. My interest really lies in one-of-a-kind, process-oriented work, and try as I might, I don't think I will ever be a mass producer or merchandiser. To thine own self be true!

GH  Do you have the text for your piece in mind before you create the image, or is it the other way around?
SMH  Yes. That's the best answer I can give you. Sometimes I have an image in mind, sometimes I have words, but it's always amazing to me how often my original sketch for a piece has different words on it than those on the finished fiber version. For some reason, my characters seem to take on a life of their own once the eyes are added -- it's as if they come alive, in a way, and unfortunately they often bring their own set of ideas! I just try to listen.

SKYWINDOW, archival print on Etsy, © Susan M. Hinckley, 12" x 22"
GH  You've had an Etsy shop since 2008. What is its most useful benefit to your work as an artist?
SMH  It's true I've had an Etsy shop since 2008, but I don't really consider myself to be using Etsy for anything but low-cost publicity. It's another showcase for my work, requires very little in the way of maintenance or expense, and can introduce me to a much larger audience than retail shows or my website or blog. I also like the flexibility of being able to offer drawings and paintings -- things I do not feature when I do retail shows, but things I enjoy creating. Actually (and definitely in part as a result of my neglect!) I sell very little from Etsy. But I derive tremendous benefit from being part of the Etsy community (the TAFA team on Etsy, for instance), and from spending time looking at the trends among other artists. For inspiration/eye candy/unusual and vintage supplies, it just can't be beat!

Thanks to Susan for her inspirational work and her words of wisdom. And thanks to all of you for stopping by,


Rayela Art said...

What a great interview! I fell in love with Susan's work the first time I saw it and was so pleased when she joined TAFA as a member. She has been a regular contributor on our Team blog and always has something positive and uplifting to say. These are her posts over there:

She also has a couple of her own blogs which are also inspirational. I can see why the two of you would like each other's work- some similar sensitivities and themes but with very different results.

It's a pleasure to have both of you on TAFA!

Georgianne Holland said...

Hi Rachel,
Aren't you nice! Isn't it wonderful how artists who live many, many miles apart can connect because of the Internet? I know that if Susan and I had the chance to sit and visit for an afternoon, we'd be like Creativity Sisters. I think that TAFA has a lot to offer in this regard. You, dear Rachel, are helping us all stay connected. Many thanks! Georgianne