There are sooo many talented people out there and I am hoping to do a post each week on one of our designers. . . well thats the plan anyway! This week I will be looking at Susan Williams our very own designer from the west! Here goes . . .
Tell us a bit about yourself ?
I’m a 39 year old mum living in Maidstone. I have a hubby, two young kids and two adopted cats. With two kids under the age of four my house is often like a bomb has hit it and I spend a lot of time just trying to keep my head above water and push back the chaos. Apart from my jewellery, which is something I do for charity, I make other larger mosaics, both representation and abstract. At present I am working on a large Modigliani style nude, all made out of tiles. For paid work I do crisis counselling which is something I get a lot out of.
What about your jewellery?.
My jewellery is all about colour. I like to break all the rules and put together vivid and bold combinations that are unusual, or playful. Colour is instinctive for me, and my jewellery celebrates the sheer visual pleasure of colour and its decorative effect. The main material I use in my mosaic is smalti, which is a traditional mosaic material that comes from Italy. Traditional smalti tiles are still found today in many European churches and ornamental objects.
100 per cent of the profits from my mosaic jewellery go towards supporting a charity called CanTeen
. CanTeen is a national support organisation for 12 - 24 year olds who are living with cancer, and is the only organisation of its kind in Australia. The inspiration behind CanTeen is the belief that young people are better able to cope with the uncertainties of a cancer diagnosis through meeting and talking with other young people who have had a similar experience and understand exactly what they are going through.
I made a decision a while ago that I would not try to make a profit out of my work. This sounds strange I know, because most businesses are about making a profit. But for me it didn’t feel right to use my art for this purpose. When I thought about just making money it changed my headspace and felt too much like work, which I didn't want it to be. So I do it for the sheer love of it, and for the good feeling I get out of helping others, which is an amazing feeling. I'm a Christian so you try and do what you can.
What inspires you?
I look for beauty in ordinary everyday objects, such as rust on a gate, or autumn leaves in the park. Modern architecture and urban industrial landscapes also fascinate me, and suggest unusual combinations of light and colour. In some ways my work can be seen as an attempt to reconcile and seek harmony with my environment. What else? Old maps and illustrations in old children’s story books, things made out of stone and precious metals, stain glass windows, vintage fabrics and wallpaper are all pretty rad.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade = love, and fragility. What it means to be human. The very imperfection in non-manufactured items, is both their humanity and their beauty.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
My mother is a compulsive knitter. When I was a child she always had cupboards in the house full to the brim with wool, her “supplies”. Mum had a knitting machine as well as knitting by hand, so was very prolific. It would be clackety clack all day long. She now has arthritis and her hands are bent out of shape but she can still knit a kids jumper in a day and the doctor says it is good for her health to keep her hands moving. Mum has always been very selfless in giving her creations away so in that sense she has also been a role model. She still gives a lot of her knitting as gifts, and used to donate a fair bit to the local hospital for charity.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I knew I was into art from a young age and the first real job I ever wanted was to be a cartoonist. When I found mosaic, I was instantly smitten. It’s been really lovely to discover this source of energy and flow in my life and let it unfold in a unique way. I feel as though my connection to my art is something deeply spiritual. It's a huge part of my identity, and makes me feel happy and connected to myself and others.
[gallery link="file" columns="4"]