to the website for Rebel Quilter Susan Leslie Lumsden. What makes
me a rebel? It is seen in my playful approach to color, materials
I often break “rules”
that I find meaningless and I tend to work in my own color palettes.
To accomplish this I usually work in silks and dye them myself.
Using hand-dyed silks, high quality
cottons and various mongrel fabrics, such as glistening metallics,
my assemblages are layered and quilted using the tricky technique
of freehand, freemotion machine quilting. The bulls-eye motif has
become the foundation for most of my work—a universal symbol
that is perfect for corporate, hospitality, public, healthcare and
The colors I am drawn to are saturated
and rich—seldom the combinations found in traditional quilts.
My signature style has won many awards in fiber art exhibitions,
multimedia exhibitions, as well as fine art festivals throughout
How do I do it? My blocks begin
as squares with a circle appliqué in the center. I “rob
Peter to pay Paul” to build up the layers—scrambling
each layer. Then I quarter the blocks and scramble again. These
blends of color—truly an homogenization—lend themselves
to an exploration of dynamic quilting. The quilting may reveal am
image or motif that has a personal relationship to the owner.
Whether creating a large-scale
work for a very public space or a small piece for a very private
one, my approach is one of play and insouciance. Even subjects as
intense as racism and child abuse are approached with a light heart
and an attempt to get people involved and talking.
I create interest by interplaying
multiple textures—matte, rough, suede-like, smooth, shiny,
slick, or luminescent—with colors that when combined create
resonances. Often I’ll incorporate mongrel fabrics that have
their own special qualities to enhance that resonance.
Of late, I’ve also played
more on the backside. When I dye the back I am presented with a
nice large canvas that inspires me to dabble with the various surface-design
techniques in my toolbox. More and more I am creating stamps, silk-screens
and linocuts that restate the journey begun on the face of the quilt.
Another aspect of my journey is
the quilting itself—the stitching which joins the quilt face,
the batting and the quilt back. I find I am electing to create a
motif that at first glance just catches your eye, then, draws you
in for a closer look. Upon the tighter viewing you’ll see
the motif again replicates the theme—perhaps taking you to
My recent work continues my exploration
of color relationships—seeing how color families communicate
with each other is a constant, tantalizing education. When the colors
begin to speak or sizzle I just let them go. What comes next always
keeps me entertained. The use of the bulls-eye block—an old
traditional quilt block—creates its own level of serendipity.
There is always an element of surprise. That is my addiction—the
My techniques are sound
and created in such a way as to last for generations. By focusing
primarily on working with silk I am constantly reminded of its rich
history. Here I am thousands of years later with the privilege of
taking what was already a luxurious fabric and manipulating its
color and shape to create luscious color journeys. Silk, unless
exposed to excessive amounts of direct light or harsh chemicals,
has a history of lasting hundreds of years. I am just as content
to work in a collaborative environment or on my own.
Let’s see what I can
do for you!