We have all heard the phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. This story is very similar. Susan Caldwell uses pieces that most would throw away to create her art in beautiful arrangements of people. “It is very satisfying in that one of my purposes is to re-use, repurpose and recycle,” she said. “I have been an environmentalist for a long time.”
Another interesting piece she likes to use is doilies, handkerchiefs and embroidery from the 30s, 40s or 50s because women weren’t regarded as artists and Susan likes to continue their statement in her pieces. “I call them Warrior Women because they have a strength we have to aspire to walk our paths,” she said.
Susan gets a lot of questions about what her art “means”. “I don’t want to describe it for everyone because it won’t mean the same that it does for me. And if they don’t look at it with some interest, they won’t think about what it means,” she said.
She encourages people to look and see all the pieces, to find a “hint” or a “piece” of her interpretation, “But sometimes I don’t even know,” she said.
Susan’s art stems from her days of working with fabric. “It all started with the embellishment of fabric and patterns, and then a “skirt” showed up one day and it blossomed into way more,” Susan said. “For years I have said I am not a quilter, but my stash got too big,” she laughed. “My aunt and mother used to sew together for hours and hours. My mother made most of my clothing. Sewing and fabric and texture has always been a part of my life,” she said.
And then an art-form was born, despite the fact it was hard to refer to herself as an artist.
“First time calling myself an artist, it was very difficult for me. I came from a background where an artist was educated and schooled in art. But I was at a retreat center writing and a lady was there and she wouldn’t let me leave without calling myself an artist,” she said.
And so an artist was born. As well as a teacher.
“I have done several classes where people come and do their own piece and that is really fun. Giving people an opportunity to do whatever they want. It is a very tolerant genre,” she said. “If I don’t like it, I walk past it and find one that I do. But I appreciate the fact that someone else might like that,” she said.
As her art is beautifully exhibited at Bleubird Studio, Susan is thrilled to have her art hanging in Georgetown. “I think it is such an amazing space and I am really pleased and honored to have my pieces hanging here with all the beautiful light!” She said.