I hope you’re enjoying your holiday season. This installment of the “infrequent fiber blog” is a treat – an in-depth interview with our fearless SEFAA president, Suzi Gough. The super-organized, always-calm Suzi consented to answer some probing questions about her life and work. I think you will enjoy this peek into the world of a very talented fiber artist …
Photo of Suzi weaving in Vermont by Alison Pyott
Your name: Suzi Gough
The General area of GA/Atlanta you live/work in: Cochran, south of Macon and pretty much in the center of the State.
What type of fiber work do you do and how long have you been doing it? I’ve been weaving a little over 20 years.
Do you have a general style? No, I keep getting interested in different techniques and have yet to settle into a specialty or style.
Do you have a most favorite fiber activity? Definitely weaving.
A really fun, enjoyable project you have worked on is … the dishtowels I’m weaving now because the warp is colorful and it’s plain weave in 8/2 cotton so it’s weaving up quickly.
A really challenging project you have worked on is…I have a big, unusual loom used to weave Harris Tweed in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. It’s wide and takes long (100 yd) warps, so getting the warp yarn on the loom has been challenging. Also, it’s been a challenge to get the loom itself adjusted and working smoothly.
Who is your audience? I don’t generally sell my work, so I guess it’s mainly me.
Tell us about your fiber stash: Two 8’ high x 4’ wide bookcases filled with yarn plus some more stashed around the room in various places. Also, one fleece and lots of spinning fiber filling a couple of kitchen cabinets.
Do you collect anything besides fiber/fabric/yarn? Huntley Palmer biscuit (cookie) tins.
Do you listen to music when you work/create? What kind? I don’t listen if I’m trying to think/design, but I’ll listen when I weave or am repairing/finishing up some fabric. I listen to classical music or old country music.
What is your favorite time of day (or night) to work? Any time!
Do you have a favorite accomplishment involving fiber? I had a silk dress make it into the Convergence 2010 fashion show and having it look great on stage was pretty special.
What fiber artists inspire you? My grandmother whose fabrics woven in the late 50’s still look fantastic today. She had a great sense of color.
Do you have favorite shops or suppliers? Favorite websites? Favorite tips to share? I have enough yarn to last a lifetime, so I don’t really shop much anymore unless I’m at Stitches South or Convergence where the vendor’s halls are too good to pass up. I usually bring a list of what I want/need to a conference and then walk through the vendor’s hall once without buying anything to scope out who has what I’m looking for and at what price. It’s easier to avoid being overwhelmed or going hog wild that way.
If you couldn’t touch fiber, what kind of artwork would you do? That’s a tough one. I can’t draw or paint. Does gardening count?
Where do you see your work heading? Are there any new areas of fiber you want to learn or pursue? Mostly I’d like to spend more time weaving and to be more productive. I’ve always said that eventually I’d like to sell enough to support my yarn habit, but I still haven’t gotten to that point. I’d also like to have a 32- or 40-shaft computer-controlled loom some day.
What advice do you have for aspiring fiber artists? Make time to pursue your interests, find others who have similar interests for support, inspiration, and encouragement and don’t listen when someone tells you “you can’t…”
What does SEFAA mean to you? It’s important to me to see the fiber arts community interacting and working together and that’s what SEFAA is all about. I probably won’t come up with an innovative weaving approach or technique and I don’t want to teach, so being involved with SEFAA is my way of giving back and supporting the fiber arts. SEFAA has been a lot of work, but it’s been enjoyable and it’s really rewarding to see it growing up so nicely!