Friday, January 20, 2017


 (Above:  Detail of brooches.  Click on either of the images in this blog post for an enlargement.)

During every evening over the past week or two, I've been beading and backing seventeen new brooches.  They are fun to make while watching television.  They are headed to the ACC (American Craft Council) Shows in Baltimore (Feb. 24 -26) and Atlanta (Mar. 17 - 19).  Each one is just $50 plus tax and shipping.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to capture the highly reflective gold metallic surface behind the holes in the layers of fabric.  They are even prettier in person.

(Above:  All seventeen brooches.)

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

New Work!

 (Above:  Detail of Lunette XXV.  Click on any image in this blog post for an enlargement.)

Last January I was contemplating a big move!  By February, I gave notice at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios that it would happen; I would move my studio back into my house.  I was worried.  After all, most everything I'd ever made was inside those four, rental walls.  I was worried that the distractions of home would effect my energy, momentum, and especially my productivity.  Happily, that hasn't been the case.  I'm more productive than ever ... stealing a few minutes here, a half hour there, and making the most of the fact that my studio is only a few steps away.  It's a good thing ... especially since I have a solo show coming up at the Grovewood Gallery where I'll be demonstrating my processes February 17 and 18 from 11am – 4pm.  Plus, I'll be in my 10' x 10' ProPanel booth selling work at the ACC (American Craft Council) Baltimore and Atlanta Shows, February 24 - 26 and March 17 - 19 respectively.)  I need A LOT OF WORK and I'm happily making it!  This blog post shows what I've done this past week ... and mounted and framed over the weekend!

(Above:  Lunette XXV. Framed:  22" x 28"; unframed: 15 1/2" x 21". Inventory # 3941. $495.)

I'll be making more work ... and posting the results.  For now, just scroll down! Thanks!

(Above:  Detail of Lunette XXIV.)

(Above:  Lunette XXIV. Framed:  22" x 28"; unframed: 16 1/2" x 22 1/2". Inventory # 3940. $495.)

(Above:  Detail of Lancet Window XC.)

(Above:  Lancet Window XC. Inventory # 3939. Framed: 31" x 11". $395.)

(Above:  Lancet Window LXXXVIII. Inventory # 3937. Framed: 31" x 11". $395.)

(Above:  Lancet Window LXXXIX. Inventory # 3938. Framed: 31" x 11". $395.)

(Above:  In Box CCLXXXII. Framed: 21 1/2" x 17 1/2". Inventory # 3936. $325.)

(Above:  In Box CCLXXXI. Framed:  19" x 15". Inventory # 3935. $235.)

(Above:  In Box CCLXXX. Framed:  19" x 15". Inventory # 3934. $235.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Angels, Flicker, and a new solo show

(Above:  Flicker Feather V.  Image transfer on fabric with self-guided, free-motion machine embroidery. 10" x 43 1/2".  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last month I had the privilege of a two-week art residency at PLAYA in the remote Oregon Outback.  I blogged about the experience and most of the work I did (mainly fiber vessels).  Yet, I can't spend twelve to fourteen hours a day doing the same thing ... even in a paradise like PLAYA.  My studio practice definitely involves a little "skipping around" from project to project, and so I brought a few images transferred to fabric with me.  I free-motion stitched each one while enjoying the spectacular view to the frozen lake bed.  They are now finished and framed.

Above is Flicker Feather V.  I was keen to stitch this piece in Oregon because I snapped the photo during my October 2015 residency at PLAYA.  I also brought four small images of sculptural cemetery angels.  Each image was desaturated and otherwise altered in Photoshop before being printed on fabric. 

(Above: Angel I.  Image transfer on fabric with both hand and machine stitching plus beads.  Framed: 17 1.2" x 14 1/2".)

Each was stitched with black thread and further embellished with handwork and beads. Scroll down to see the other pieces.

(Above: Angel II. Image transfer on fabric with both hand and machine stitching plus beads.  Framed: 17 1.2" x 14 1/2".)

 (Above:  Anonymous Ancestors last September at USC-Beaufort's Sea Island Art Center.)

Years ago I was told that a professional studio artist will generally spend as much time with the "paperwork" of a career as in the active engagement of "making art".  I didn't believe it but it happens to be true.  Lately, I've been spending as much time in front of the computer as I've spent at my sewing machine submitting exhibition proposals for my solo show Anonymous Ancestors.

I know that most proposals will never be read.  An email acknowledging receipt of a proposal is rare.  Getting a solo show is like a quest to find the Holy Grail, so I'm beyond thrilled to announce that my exhibit will be at the University of South Carolina Upstate's Gallery on Main from August 31 through November 4th. There will be an Art Walk reception on September 21 from 5 - 8.  Wonderful news!

(Above: Angel IV. Image transfer on fabric with both hand and machine stitching plus beads.  Framed: 17 1.2" x 14 1/2".)

(Above: Angel III. Image transfer on fabric with both hand and machine stitching plus beads.  Framed: 17 1.2" x 14 1/2".)

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts. 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Flood Clothesline will hang again!

 (Above:  The Flood Clothesline hanging at the Tapps Art Center last October in an invitational exhibition called Marked By the Water, commemorating the first anniversary of the historic flooding here in Columbia, SC. Click on either image to enlarge.)

I'm totally THRILLED! The Flood Clothesline has been accepted into the international H2Oh! juried traveling exhibition.  This is a SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) show that will be seen at National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY from June 23 - Sept. 19, 2017; the New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA from July 11, 2018 - Sept. 23, 2018; the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ from Dec. 1, 2018 - Feb. 10, 2019; and the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, CA from April 19, 2019 - July 14, 2019.  Only 34 works were accepted from a field of 522 entries from 285 artists.  I'm truly honors but I'm also deeply in debt to the many people who shared their images of the flood, including Nancy Gibbes, Lyn Phillips, Dolly Patton, Stephen Chesley, Steve Heweitt, Susan Felleman, Nichool Ranson, Debbie McDaniel Cydney Berry, Cynthia Pierce, Eveleigh Hughey, Elliott Edward Powell, Jim Tothill, Virginia Postic, and others!

(Above:  The Flood Clothesline hanging at the South Carolina State Library during November 2015.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Happy New Year

 (Above:  Two boxes back from my art residency at PLAYA in the remote Oregon Outback.)

It's 2017!  Where has time gone?  I just realized that I passed my tenth blogging anniversary about six months ago. Later this year will mark ten years of writing daily (or at least five times a week) "Morning Pages", an creative exercise developed by Julia Cameron and detailed in her 12-week Artist's Way program.  Writing, whether for myself, on a blog post, or for any of the many requests for "an artist statement" is at the very heart of my creative life.  It is how I remember visions of inspiration, the ideas for artistic exploration, and especially my feelings on any given day.  At this time of year, I also think about the future ... where I want to go, who I want to be around, what I want to say with my artwork, and how to be accountable to the resolutions I put in place.

 (Above:  Thirty new fiber vessels and four remaining balls of cording ... returning from my art residency at PLAYA in the remote Oregon Outback.)

Past years' resolutions have included:  Getting gallery representation, submitting solo show proposals to at least fifteen venues, and exploring 3D found art sculptures.  Last year I wrote:  This year, I plan to change the way I work, my very schedule and the location in which I operate.  With luck and good planning, I might find myself busier, happier, more excited, and working in productive ways with the respect I want most ... my own. (To read the entire blog post, CLICK HERE.)

Well, early last year I moved my studio ... from Gallery 80808/Vista Studios back to my house ... which actually meant I had more space but the challenge of daily interruptions and sharing the building with my husband/business partner Steve.  Fortunately, we work very, very well together.  After a year, I am pleased to say that I am constantly working, happier than before, definitely excited, and more productive than ever.  I'm still working on my issues of low self-esteem but that will likely remain a lifelong battle.

 (Above:  Lancet Window LXXXVI. Inventory # 3926. Framed 31" x 11".  $395.  Available at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC ... because as soon it was framed, it was delivered to this fabulous gallery!)

Yet part of last year's resolution was to WORK BIG.  I'd seen installations at the Renwick in Washington, DC and thought to myself, "Susan, you could do that!  Why don't you?"  I knew my own answer; it is a limiting factor.  I don't work any bigger than I can afford ... in terms of both finances and storage/working space.  I don't trust my own dreams enough to throw them open to the world with an expectation that the needed assistance will be found.  So ... I'm going to keep that part of last year's resolution for this coming year.  I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to tackle this ... but I'll try!

How would you dream up a project that you can't do alone and can't pay for with your own resources?  How would you pitch such an idea to others?  Who are "the others"?  Ah ... these are my questions!

(Above:  Lancet Window LXXXVII.  Inventory # 3927. Framed 31" x 11".  $395.  Available at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC ... because as soon it was framed, it was delivered to this fabulous gallery!)

This blog post also shows the last art created in 2016. I shipped two large, heavy boxes back home after a profound experience at PLAYA, an art residency program in the remote Oregon Outback.  One box contained my Bernina 1008.  It was "dead".  I think I ran it into the ground (or at least wore out one of the internal belts.  I checked. It isn't damaged ... just loose ... as if stretched beyond its limits).  Berninas have superior motors but perhaps this older one didn't really want to run constantly for at least seven to eight hours a day.  Yet, in doing this I managed to create thirty fiber vessels.  They look great.

The two Lancet Windows were made in as many days ... working hard and long hours ... because the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville requested more work!  I'm happy to report that the Grovewood is honoring me with a solo show, Susan Lenz: In Stitches, Feb. 17 - March 26, 2017.  2016 was a very, very good year at the Grovewood and I'm hoping 2017 is even better!  Best of all, the Grovewood will be introducing my fiber vessels to Asheville during this exhibit!  I'm thrilled.

(Above:  Threads: Gathering My Thoughts.)

Today while thinking about my New Year's resolution and the desire to WORK BIG, I got an acceptance from ArtFields, a nine-day art competition and festival in Lake City, SC that happens to award over $100,000 in prize money.  It will be held from April 21 - 29, 2017 ... and it will include my installation Threads: Gathering My Thoughts.  While this installation is "big", I know I can think "bigger".  Here's to 2017!

I am linking this blog post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber artwork.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

More KEYS!

 (Above:  The Key to Happiness.  Inventory # 3908. 8 1/2" x 6 1/2". $70.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

I adore making framed, tagged keys.  My husband Steve loves turning scraps of discontinued and leftover picture frame moulding into little frames for me ... especially at the end of the year when "inventory" needs to be done.  He hasn't started counting this year but I still had a box of little frames cut during the summer.  It was high time I turned my attention to them ... before Steve make even more frames!

 (Above:  The Key to the Future.  Inventory # 3920. 9" x 7". $60.)

The timing for this was PERFECT!  I'm still waiting for my boxed sewing machine to return from the Oregon Outback.  Sure, I have a second Bernina ... but I don't have my thread stand for the cones of thread I generally use or the slide-on extension table.  Those things are in the box.  What I do have is my Babylock embellisher, a dry felting machine.  I use the embellisher to make all the unique backgrounds for the keys.  It is so much fun!

 (Above:  The Key to the Celebration.  Inventory # 3918. 12 1/2" x 10 1/2". $90.)

It is also fun to find creative ways of altering otherwise boring frames and ...

 (Above:  The Key to Safe Travels.  Inventory # 3924. 10 3/4" x 8 3/4". $70.)

... and ways of using some of the vintage ephemera I've collected like a piece of a National Geographic map dating to 1964.

 (Above:  The Key to Inspiration. Inventory # 3916. 10 1/2" x 8 1/2". $80.)

There are other challenges ... like utilizing the depth of this shadowbox moulding.  Below are the rest of the keys plus two more pieces for my Anonymous Ancestors exhibition.  I've spent two entire days researching museums in the southeastern United States ... sending dozens and dozens of unsolicited proposals.  It is hard work but I truly believe in this showIt is worth the effort.  (I've tackled Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Virginia so far.  I plan on researching Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Louisiana soon!  If anyone reading has a suggestion, please let me know!)

 (Above:  The Key to A Better Life.  Inventory # 3913. 10 1/8" x 8 1/8". $70.)

By the way, these framed, tagged keys can be purchased by contacting me via email or phone: and (803) 254-0842.  Most will fit into a medium sized USPS flat rate shipping box for $13.45 domestically.  I can accept major credit cards and PayPal.

 (Above:  The Key to Love.  Inventory # 3905. 8 1/2" x 6 1/2". $60.)

Hopefully, I'll be making even more really soon.  Right now, I've got to count mat boards and foam-centered boards and other custom picture framing supplies.  It's "inventory time"!  Scroll down to see the rest of the new work!

 (Above:  The Key to a Sea of Dreams.  Inventory # 3915. 10 1/2" x 8 1/2". $70.)

 (Above:  The Key to Amen. Inventory # 3909. 9 1/2" x 7 1/2". $80.)

 (Above:  The Key to Art. Inventory # 3907. 11 1/8" x 9 1/8". $80.)

 (Above:  The Key to Dollars and Cents. Inventory # 3904. 9 1/2" x 7 1/4". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to Focus.  Inventory # 3902. 8 1/4" x 6 1/4". $50.)

 (Above:  The Key to Good Friends.  Inventory # 3922. 9 5/8" x 7 5/8". $60.)

(Above:  The Key to Grammar.  Inventory # 3925. 8 5/8" x 6 5/8". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to Love.  Inventory # 3906. 8 1/2" x 6 3/8". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to My Heart. Inventory # 3923. 10 1/2" x 8 1/2". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to Peace.  Inventory # 3917. 9 1/2" x 7 1/2". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to Respect.  Inventory # 3903. 10 1/4" x 8 1/4". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to Simplicity.  Inventory # 3911. 9 1/4" x 7 1/4". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to Super Powers. Inventory # 3914. 9" x 7". $40.)

 (Above:  The Key to the Genuine.  Inventory # 3910.  9 1/2" x 7 1/2". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to the Last Word.  Inventory # 3912.  10" x 8". $60.)

 (Above:  The Key to Time.  Inventory # 3919.  9 1/2" x 7". $60.)

(Above:  The Key to Zen.  Inventory # 3921.  9 1/4" x 6 3/4". $60.)

(Above:  When the World Was Young for The Wall of Ancestors.  24" x 17 1/2".  Antique frame, anonymous image, clipped letters.)

(Above:  When Family Was Everything for The Wall of Ancestors.  25 1/4" x 18 3/4".  Antique frame, anonymous images, clipped letters.)