Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Teacher from Down Under-Susan O'Conner

Today we learn a little about Susan O'Conner a teacher from Australia who will be teaching at the SAGA Chicago Retreat.

Gail Doane and Susan O'Conner
Who taught you needlework skills and when did you first start learning?
My mother taught me basic embroidery stitches when I was a child. As I really enjoyed embroidery I then learned other stitches and techniques from books and classes.

What is your favourite form of embroidery?

If I had to pick a favourite I would have to say thread painting but I also enjoy raised embroidery and wool embroidery.

When do you find time to embroider/sew?

I don’t find much at the moment as I work full time but once I have started a project I try and do some stitching in the evenings and at the weekend.

What inspires your designs?
All sorts of things – historical embroidery, flowers, periods in history, poems and stories

Do you attend classes and workshops as well as teach at them?

I do enjoy attending classes but unfortunately the opportunities are few and far between these days.

On average, how long would you say it takes for you to complete a piece, from design concept to end?

That is a very difficult question to answer as it depends on the complexity of the piece and how close the deadline is!! 

Do you belong to a sewing guild of any kind?

Yes, I belong to SAGA and the EGA.

Do you smock?

I have been known to do some smocking!

Where is your favourite place to stitch?

Anywhere I can.

Are you married? Children? Pets?

I have been married for 33 years to Paul and we have a 24 year old son Clancy and one very ancient Siamese cat who rules the house.

What is your most favourite sewing tool?

A glass of wine – absolutely essential.

What sewing tool do you carry everywhere and why?

Well I can’t say scissors as you still can’t carry those on Australian domestic flights so I would have to say a needle.

What other hobbies/interests do you have?

I like reading and I used to do a lot of watercolour painting but don’t have time for that at the moment.

How often do you travel to teach?

Usually only a couple of times a year.

Have you a favourite location where you most enjoy teaching?

No, everywhere offers something different.

Where can we get to see your projects (magazines, stores etc.)?
My projects are published in Inspirations magazine and I have written two books. My projects were also published in Australian Smocking and Embroidery.

What do you do with your completed projects-frame and keep, give away, etc.?

Most things I keep as I teach them but I do give some things away to people who are special to me.

Do you have a favourite colour(s) that you tend to use more than others?

I am rather fond of green, lovely happy, grassy green.

Have you had another type of career other than in the sewing area?

I was a high school art and ceramics teacher in a previous life and I currently work as editor of Inspirations magazine.

How do you see the future of your sewing career?

I have no idea – I would like to have more time to stitch.

What do you do to recharge your creative spark?

I’ve never had to do that.

What technique still can’t you get the hang of……..      ?

Keeping my house tidy.

What is the biggest enemy to your creativity?

Not enough time.

For more information on the SAGA Chicago Retreat visit www.smocking.org.

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