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Susan D'souza

TEXTILE ARTIST


Please can you briefly introduce yourself

I was born in America in the late 1960’s. I was taught how to sew, knit and embroider by my Scottish Mother, Aunt and Grandmothers and developed a love of textiles from an early age. I grew up in Yorkshire.

Did you have an interest in art as a child?

I remember I used to love doing those Berol felt pen colouring in wall charts! I made clothes and imaginary installation scenarios for my dolls

Did you have a formal art education or are you self taught?

My art education started in Sixth form and lead to an Art Foundation at Jacob Kramer College of Art in Leeds and did a Textile Degree at Huddersfield, a town with strong textile roots in dyeing, printing and weaving.

Was there a moment or a person or a place in your past that influenced you or you feel set you on the journey to where you are now? 

I was very inspired by the freedom and creative play encouraged on my Art Foundation Course and one particular teacher ‘Sue Lawty’ who is now a well known weaver and contemporary textile artist. I remember her taking us onto Ilkley Moor to make sculptures with found materials.

What’s the best thing about being an artist?

Becoming totally immersed in a creative project and exploring your ideas through making and materials.

And the worst..!?

Feelings of exposure and self doubt that arise when the time comes to share what you have been doing with others.

What has inspired or influenced you?

The simplicity and beauty of Japanese Art, the curvilinear style of Art Nouveau, the illustrations of Ernst Haeckel, the landscapes of Eric Ravilious, the textile art of Annemieke Mein, Alice Kettle and Pauline Burbridge amongst many others.

Please tell us about your working environment…

I currently work from a wooden cabin studio in my garden in Worthing but I also spend a lot of time outdoors walking on the Sussex Downs, digging and planting in the garden and looking at nature.

Please tell us a little about the process involved in making your art?

I work from photographs, drawings and observational studies which I translate through applique or hand painting with fabric by simplifying compositions into layers or shapes. I usually add stitched detail with hand or machine embroidery to highlight pattern and texture.

What is the most indispensable item in your studio? 


My cabinet of threads for embroidery which is one of those old wooden fold out ones that holds hundreds of bobbins of thread that it pleases me to arrange by colour.

Where are you finding ideas and inspiration for your work currently?

I am currently working from images of trees with dramatic silhouettes from winter Downland Landscapes in east and West Sussex and details from the knots in wood.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

A teacher of art or textiles, which I have been for much of my life!

What advice would you give to those aspiring to make a living out of art?

Be true to yourself as you have to love what you do and the integrity of the work relates to this

What is the most important thing to know about you?

Hand work, freedom and being close to nature make me feel content

Please tell us one unexpected thing about yourself.

I was a gymnast as a child and competed at regional level. This taught me to be resilient, take risks and work towards goals with disciplined practice

Final thoughts…

Be brave follow your dreams.




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