Thursday, 14 July 2016

Artist: Susie Brandt + Studio Visit

The super summer visiting artist series at NSCAD continues with Susie Brandt participating in the artist in residence program and also exhibiting at the Anna Leonowen's Gallery.

Susie Brandt

Susie is a textile artist and her exhibition is a work in progress consisting of piles of donated worn clothing and textiles that will be processed using scissors and her hand-crank sewing machine into rope. The exhibition is an interactive experience where the audience is invited to participate in the making of the rope, but cutting up post consumer textile waste and twisting it into rope. 

image from
who participated in one of Susie's projects
at Haystack Mountain School of Craft

About her process, Brandt states, “ropemaking is a basic gesture in textile production. The phenomenon of twisted and plied fibers resulting in a strong flexible line dates to 1700 BC. Because lines of rope can be used for hoisting, fastening, and climbing, rope had transformative effects on pre-industrial communities. Considered Post-industrially, rope offers an entry point into textile issues around locality, labor and waste/re-use.”
I have been very fortunate to meet Susie and she visited my studio to chat about my work and provide feedback. I find it is always helpful to get receive external advice as this provides opportunities to talk about my work which helps to tease out areas that I overlook.

One topic that Susie brought up was the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi which is the world view based on acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, specifically impermanence, suffering and emptiness or absence of self-natureCharacteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

I was first introduced to the idea of Wabi Sabi by my ceramics teacher (and amazing artist) Ian Jones who taught me to love the imperfections in my ceramics as I was learning. This was incredibly insightful since I have a tendency to be a perfectionist and was attempting to make 'perfect' ceramic pieces.

Having Susie reflect that my pieces also capture the delicate balance of grace and ugliness made me realise just how influential Ian's teachings were. Below are some very recent pieces that I have been working on which reflect the wabi sabi aesthetic.



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