Susie Monday

Artist, maker, teacher, author, head cook and bottlewasher.

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The art I make is the result of a life-long love of pattern, texture and color. How I teach is a skill honed by experience (I started teaching creative arts to younger kids when I was 12). After earning a B.A. in Studio Arts from Trinity University, I helped lead an internationally recognized educational foundation, designed curriculum exhibits for schools and other institutions, wrote and edited for a major daily newspaper, opened the San Antonio Children's Museum and then, a dozen years ago, took the scary but essential (for me) leap to become a fulltime artist and art teacher.

About This Blog

This weblog is about the maker's life. The teacher's path. The stitching and dyeing and printing of the craft of art cloth and art quilt. The stumbling around and the soaring, the way the words and the pictures come together. Poetry on the page and in the piecing of bright scraps together. The inner work and the outer journeys to and from. Practicalities and flights of fancy and fearful grandeur, trivial pursuits and tactile amusements. Expect new postings two or three times a week, unless you hear otherwise. 

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    Entries in workshop (8)


    Archetypes and Artist Identity

    Above: Photo of Suzanne Wright Crain's altar in progress.

    Deep work and deep play took all of us into wonderful work this past weekend. Here are some photos of artists at work -- some made altered books, some altars. Everyone, including me, found some insights pertinant to our particular time, space and needs.



    Robin Early and Suzanne Wright Crain and Martha Grant work on their Archetype projects.

    As we looked at various approaches to exploring our "inner teams," I had found some work by creativity coach and author Eric Maisel that shed light on the ways identity as an artist (or should I say identities) can both help and complicate our work, identity and paths. Am I artist the beautifier, artist the visionary, artist the businesswomen, artist the  producer, artist the activist...??

    Recently an infographic came across my path that also informed this pondering:

    Certainly teaching a workshop such as this Archetype workshop calls on my skills as teacher and mentor, while I also try to do my own work ast least part of the time as a way of modeling and demonstrating the processes and products involved.

    Then, as the weekend came to a close, a friend called and told me one of my large textile pieces was included in a "home" section report in the San Antonio Express News. I called the collector and thanked him (and his wife Suzi) for giving the reporter my name (read the story for more info!). Ah, another artist identity -- published and out there. 

    The dining room in the home of Suzi and Dennis Strauch, near Pipe Creek, has a quilted piece of fabric art on one wall. Photo: BOB OWEN, San Antonio Express-News / © 2012 San Antonio Express-News

    The dining room in the home of Suzi and Dennis Strauch, near Pipe Creek, has a quilted piece of fabric art on one wall.

    Photo: BOB OWEN, San Antonio Express-News / © 2012 San Antonio Express-News

    Read more:


    Developing an Idea for Textile Art


    Thanks to my friend artist Rosa Vera, who sent me these shots after a recent workshop at El Cielo, I have a nice documentation of some design work "in progress." 

    This workshop -- designed and executed for a group of four working artists who get together for occassional studio time -- was focused on developing an image through different tools and media, with drawing, cut paper, collage, etc. It was play time with a purpose. 

    I was working alongside the group, demonstrating, but also taking my own image of a dried up cactus pad (dessicated after the hard winter freeze) though the process. The final result was a small art quilt -- you'll see that at in the final picture. The only thing I don't have is an image of the original cactus pad -- I'll try to find it and post it later. Thanks Rosa, for the photos.

    Above is the final piece, still in progress. I made the thermofax from one of the pen and ink drawings, drew on the cut out shapes for the applique pieces and played with a color palette from some previously monoprinted fabrics. Will try to find the original and the final soon!




    Text on the Surface at SWSchool

    Coming this spring to a school in SA:


    2560 | Text on the Surface

    Susie Monday

    Learn to embed text messages into the surface of your art cloth or art quilts, with the form holding as much importance (and as much of the “message”) as any literary element. The words might disappear, remain legible, or become a surface texture; find ways to add letters and text with innovative materials. Some techniques to be explored include soy wax scrafitto, stitched paper cloth with word collages, direct printing on fabric with an inkjet printer, sun printing with letters and words using dye and paint, and making your own stamps and thermofaxes with words, collages and favorite quotations. The course includes handouts and other resources. A supply list will be posted on the SSA website.

    Mon, Jan 31 – Feb 28 | 1:00 – 4:00P

    Surface Design Studio | Navarro Campus

    Tuition: $170 (Members: $155) | 5 weeks


    Need a Jump Start? Or a Kick to Closure?

    El Cielo Studio is waiting for you!

    It's time for another edition of the El Cielo Studio UFO workshop. December 4-5 (yYep, I know it's December). If you have a piece of work or two that has been haunting you over the past months, weeks or year, bring it to this workshop retreat for a little energy to completion -- with the expert advice of some sister/fellow artists. Often, its just focused time and a new eye that helps a piece find completion and success -- or we might all just decide to cut, slash and start again!

    Sometimes it just takes focus, and that's what this UFO (Unfinished Fiber Object) retreat is meant to provide. We'll start with a round robin of look-and-see-and-suggest (totally controlled by you, the artist) and then work during the next two days with all the resources of the studio available. For example, you'll be able to design and make thermofax screens, overdye or over-print, add some stitching with the machines or by hand, get help with frames or finishing details, even a little writing time to write and edit an artist statement if you wish. Learn a technique with a individual session with Susie, or practice something new with aid and abettment by the experts on hand.

    In between individual work sessions, I'll lead some creativity exercises aimed and energizing the process, and we will, of course, enjoy great food, good company and each other's tales of success and strategies for living the artists' life. (P.S. I've had a request for "on-line" remote participation for a similar workshop -- I'm working on that for next year!)

    One possibility, if time allows and the group wishes, is a Sunday afternoon outing to see a private family museum in-process, with some amazing collections of folk art, drawings and paintings and more. And, the hot tub is back in action, the hills are alive with color and breeze and hawks flying through on their winter migrations. Bring your binoculars and  walking shoes if you'd like a little hike down the hillside, too.

    Here are the next few workshops that are coming up:

    UFO WORKSHOP December 3-5 UFO, “unfinished fiber object.” Bring along work that needs finishing (perhaps a gift or two, or work that’s stuck for need of constructive critique). Enjoy the resources of the studio and the advice and support of peers. We’ll customize the techniques to the tasks at hand.

    ARTIST'S JOURNEY/ ARTIST'S JOURNAL, January 14-16 This workshop has become an annual tradition. Join me for a weekend of reflection, goal setting, and information about how the habit or journaling can benefit you as an artist -- and make a unique journal cover and artist calendar for a new year of creative work and inspiration. Building good habits for your own work. (SPACE IS ALMOST FILLED FOR THIS ONE)

    (HEART) YOUR INNER ARTIST February 11-13

    How do you nurture your creative self in a world that doesn’t always honor artists and artful work? This pre-Valentine’s Day workshop will provide that sup- port while you learn more about your individual design strengths with creativity exercises, learn simple yoga and breath work, and make an artist’s altar for your studio. 

    El Cielo Studio workshops are designed with the needs of the participants in mind; free time is sched- uled throughout the week- end for reading, reflection and personal work in the studio. You are welcome to bring projects in process for Susie’s critique and for peer feedback in an environment of trust and respect. You’ll share meals, poetry and stories, music and advice for living an artist’s life. Enjoy the 25-mile vistas from the deck and strolls down the country roads. A spa and pool, and large screen media room are also avail- able to participants. The fee for each workshop retreat is $175 for a 2-day event with discount for early enrollment. Comfortable accommodations (double and single rooms with private and shared baths) and meals are available from $15 - $30 per workshop. Most supplies included. Call 210-643-2128 or email