Wednesday, September 19, 2012



Welcome to the September SAQA New Mexico Featured Artist. This month we are featuring Susan Szajer of Silver City. Susan will be part of the Red Dot Studio Tour in Silver City from October 5-8. I'm sure some of you will want to go and see her studio during the tour after reading about her and seeing her pictures! You may find out more about Red Dot Studio Tour at www. silvercitygalleries.comThe site has a map and brochure available for download. 

Here is what Susan has to say about herself.

What is your art background?

I have been a professional artist for twenty five years.  I was fortunate enough to grow up with a father who is an artist.  Early in his career, he taught at the Art Institue in Chicago and I was able to attend Saturday classes as a child.  While completing my degree in Communicative Disorders at Northwestern University, I had an interest in art, but it took a while for me to find my focus.  I was adept with a sewing machine, and in the early 70’s when quilting made a resurgence, I explored my options to create quilts as art.  I learned to dye my own fabric and developed a style of piecing a landscape background, using my machine to free motion embroider trees or grasses upon this background, and matting and framing the completed piece under glass.  I traveled for many years presenting this type of work at art shows on the east coast and experienced success.  When we moved to New Mexico, I opened a gallery in town to show my work. After four years, I closed the gallery and returned to the studio full time so I could spend more time creating.

What inspires you?

Color is my greatest inspiration. I feel very comfortable with combining colors using my own instincts.  A vivid red orange or a subtle grey can trigger an image of a completed piece or at least get me started in the right direction.  Much of my abstract work is monochromatic, although black seems to creep into most of my quilts.

What is your most significant art-related achievement?

As an artist, I believe art related achievements are significant based on the time line of a career.  Early on, my first solo show in a gallery was most significant.  While I was doing art shows, acceptance into the Designer Showcase in Manhattan was a triumph.  Mid-carrer, mastering the techniques to create art allowed me to focus on the result without obstacles impeding my progress and is of great significance now and for the future.  At this time, I feel I have achieved a commitment to daily studio time and the ability to discuss my process with visitors to my studio.  Their enthusiasm and appreciation for not only the completed piece, but also the techniques used to create it, gives me great pleasure.  I have achieved the goal of sharing and educating in a place where people feel comfortable and always leave with a smile on their face.

What do you love most about your medium?

Flexibilty!  As the traditional “rules” of quilting are fading in importance, many new surface design techniques are being explored and translated from paper or canvas to cloth.  The definition of a quilt has broadened allowing all of us to present our work in a variety of ways that were unheard of thirty years ago.

What’s on the horizon?

Since closing the gallery, I have devoted the past two years to experimentation in the studio.  I’ve worked with dyes, resists, paints, screen prints and photo transfers. My current work focuses on using a very neutral pallette to emcompass a small splash of vibrant color.  My studio will remain open to visitors and I will continue to participate in the Red Dot Studio Tour in Silver City.  This year the tour is Oct. 5-8, and I hope to reveal my new “neutral” series at this event.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Susan and seeing her work as much as I did. You may see more of her work by visiting her blog at

Debbie McNeill
Feature Artist Editor