Suzanne Carmichael will teach Silk Fusion this year

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I first encountered Suzanne’s ethereal work at the Maine Craft Center in Gardiner Maine.  She captured rays of light within the silk fibers and froze them in place…a true show stopper and genuinely sensitive approach to paper arts.

She will be teaching a four hour class at the College on Saturday from 2:00PM – 6:00 PM.  Few people use hand-dyed, unspun silk fibers to create sculpture and Suzanne has developed a technique that is completely unique to her company, SilkArt.

When asked to respond to our interview questions, Suzanne shared these insights about herself (her responses are in boldface):

  • Teaching takes courage and experience…and so much extra time.  When you’re not teaching, what else do you like to do? Make art of course!  Beyond that – do anything with my best friend, my darling husband, Don.  And I love to cook, learn new things, read about everything from nano-science to a great mystery.
  • Fill in the blanks for the following statement:  Inspiration for my work comes from _within___ and from _nature____.  _Color________ is a very important aspect of my work and something to which I find I am very sensitive.  Whenever I create a piece, I am most pleased when someone understands the _amount of time/work___ behind my work.
  • Laying out silk fibers for fusion

    Laying out silk fibers for fusion in a class earlier this year

  • Describe the perfect class that you’d like to take…Interesting that you didn’t say “perfect art class.”  Actually, I’d be most interested in taking a class on topics such as: the history of science, current Russian politics and their effect on Russian art/culture, etc.  Really any interesting topic (that’s not dreary, hackneyed or ultra-divisive) taught by someone who REALLY knows their topic, is very bright, friendly, has a sense of humor and knows how to encourage discussion by all participants while limiting anyone from dominating.
  • We’d like a sense of your expertise and ability to teach the class you’re offering…so tell us how you came to feel confident about leading a group through your particular class.  How long have you been practicing?  I’m very confident about teaching a course in silk fusion because in the past they’ve gone very well and students have asked for more!  Partially this is because I am able to inspire others with the enthusiasm I have for this very new, innovative craft.  And I’m also very organized and thorough so students get a good background with room to explore their own creativity – and they go home with directions so they can replicate everything on their own.  Plus they have lots of fun!
  • The best advice I have ever been given:  NO question is ever dumb – ask away.
  • What do you do differently from the way you were taught? Well, I was only taught the very basics of silk fusion and even in that class I started experimenting with new ways.  Then I read everything I could about silk fusion and started trying suggested techniques and developing my own.  I’ve developed/invented many ways to work with silk fusion from some of the very basics to more advanced work. Why?  Two reasons.  First, the techniques I’ve developed work better – at least for me.  Second, the things I wanted to do with silk fusion had not been done before so I had to create my own approaches.
    carmichaelearringscarmichaelturtlelamp

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