Sunday, April 14, 2013

Susan Strachan Johnson

Mother Universe

     Susan Strachan Johnson is a Fibre Artist, Painter and Teacher whose love for Mother Earth shines through her art. A member of the Connections Fibre Artists since 2004, Susan has completed her Diploma in Stitched Textiles Design with the City & Guilds Institute, U.K. She teaches workshops in fibre art techniques throughout Southern Ontario, and also offers private instruction in her studio, though her popular "Play for a Day" getaways. 


 Almost as soon as she had finished her Diploma, Susan was struck down with congestive heart failure. Since she leads a healthy life, this was a shock, and she had to take much of the summer off. Regrettably, some workshops had to be postponed, and work slowed right down. But as of the fall of 2011, she’s back at work, catching up on commissions and planning a new shows about the experience of healing and caring for her heart. 

Back Street in Florence                     Barn Ruins     

      In addition to her fibre art, Susan also paints portraits in watercolour and other media, from photographs. A synopsis of comments from clients reveals her ability to capture what is loved about something or someone. "Somehow she just picks up on it, and then puts that love into the painting. It's so much better than the photograph."

Final Exposure

        Susan's conceptual media collages and fibre artworks depict landscapes, pastoral scenes, and animals. She uses watercolour paints, appliqué, fabric paints, and quilting to create unusual and beautiful art. Her work often involves human shadow figures. She works with distressed fibres, paper-and-textile combinations and found objects. She also paints and dyes her own materials. Susan is currently working on the theme of "this fragile planet", using a combination of texture through layering, and organic methods of construction and distressing.

Barn Ruins Study #2                 Barn Ruins Study #3  

        Her work is informed by nature and the rural landscape around her home in Everton, Ontario and is only partly abstracted. Susan wants to show how she sees the world and each piece invariably has an environmental theme, since she believes artists cannot say too much about how they need to care for our planet, instead of merely using it for their own ends. So her work is always representational in some way. She sees decay, de-construction, repair, re-cycling and regeneration as part of the cycle of life, so she try to use each of these methods in her work.

Grandmother in My Garden

      Originally trained as a painter, Susan has been working in fibre art since 2003. Among other juried shows, she has shown by invitation at the 2003 Biennale in Florence, Threadworks 2004 and 2007, and the Grand National Quilt Show at Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery each year since 2007. Awards include Best in Show in Threadworks 2004, the Fibre Art award at Insights (2006), and the Rebecca Burghardt Emerging Artist Award at Touched by Fire (2008). 

Kirby Hall                               Stepping Out

Remembering 1969

Forest Glade 2                         Clear Waters


Closer Than She Appears                 Shadow Fairy   

The Kiwi                         Wishing for a Road Less Travelled

Susan Strachan Johnson