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My name is Susie Chaikin and I am obsessed and inspired by Frida Kahlo, Mexico, idols and love. I lived and traveled in Central America for a year 20 years ago and it was here that I was first captured by textiles, pattern and colour. The abundance of all those things took my breath away and have had a huge influence on my artwork and my life. I was taught how to weave by the women of Tikal, a hilltop village in Guatemala, where my passion for embroidered roses grew. They all shouted at me a lot as i wasn’t very good to start off with and kept breaking the threads, but this didn’t put me off being totally captured by the joy and beauty of it all!
My main aim is to translate and inject this joy and beauty into my mosaics, textile hangings and sculptures using an eclectic collection of images, patterns, china, birds and figures that are either glued or stitched. I am a real cuckoo for colour and pattern and love rummaging around in car boots and antique shops for my finds. Making art totally thrills me – I create flowers, bird ladies and hearts that just seem to grow out of my body. If you have read The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz you will understand what I mean!
I now live in Cornwall with my sculptor husband, Michael Chaikin, and two beautiful daughters, Lola and Florence. We live on an old farm and are both lucky to have studios at home whilst renting out outbuildings as studios to other artists – all of us attracted to and inspired by the beauty, light and wildness of the surrounding countryside. You will either find me creating on my own in my studio alongside the voices of radio 4 or in a group as it feels very right to stitch with other women. I get a profound and extremely satisfying sense of ancestors, female lines and community working in this way.
for more information about Susie, please visit her own website www.susiechaikin.co.uk