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Susan Willen


When Susan was in 7th grade, girls weren’t allowed to take shop as an elective, so, given a choice between sewing and cooking, she chose sewing, and has been sewing in some form ever since. She has always enjoyed working with her hands, creating things from simple materials. After receiving a BA in Political Science and working for some years in the corporate world, she returned to school and received a BFA from Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, where she majored in painting. Perhaps it was inevitable that her twin loves for art and sewing would merge, as she began quilting in the mid-1980’s when she was at home with young children.  She soon discovered the nascent world of art quilting, after visiting the Visions exhibition in San Diego in 1990.


Since then she has studied improvisational piecing with Nancy Crow and dyeing with Carol Soderlund. She is currently investigating ways to use dyeing and screenprinting to give a softer appearance to her quilts, so that they take on the look of paintings in fabric. She takes full advantage of the rich opportunities to see contemporary art in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and has recently enjoyed viewing the work of Brice Marden, David Hockney, Mark Bradford, and a great favorite, the late Richard Diebenkorn.

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