Why I persist | Covid and civil unrest | Susan Hensel Projects


  “Hope is a fragile thing, Peter continued, as fragile as a flower. Its fragility makes it easy to sneer at, by people who see life as a dark and difficult ordeal, people who get angry when something they can’t believe in themselves gives comfort to others. They prefer to crush the flower underfoot, as if to say: See how weak this thing is, see how easily it can be destroyed. But, in truth, hope is one of the strongest things in the universe. Empires fall, civilizations vanish into dust, but hope always comes back, pushing up through the ashes, growing from seeds that are invisible and invincible.”-Michael Faber Many of you know that I live in Minneapolis, MN.  This is where the civil unrest began, with the homicide of George Floyd, in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic. The central east-west corridor that services my neighborhood, is destroyed.  There are no grocery stores, no liquor stores, no pharmacies, no library, few banks, few post offices and only one gas station and few low income apartments remain.  But we persist. And I persist in this studio.  My work is more important than ever.  Yesterday I wrote this post on [...]

The Art Business in times of Covid | Susan Hensel Projects


  What have you been doing during this pandemic? I’ve been reading about business! What have you been doing during this pandemic? I am looking at the gallery scene, mostly in the US.  I have been listening to interviews with people like David Zwirner and Jeffrey Deitch.  Reading online magazines: The Art Newspaper, Artnet News, Hyperallergic, Artsy, Artspace.  It has been very interesting. Like many artists, nearly 100% of my planned exhibitions were delayed or canceled. I’m not yet suffering financially, although most artists are.  Most galleries are in or about to be in dire straits. Some of the artist-run spaces I know are closing. So are some of the mid-sized spaces. Studio crawls are attempting to go virtual. Museums are shut as tight as a drum! […]

Log Rhythm | Music, Wordplay and Numbers | Susan Hensel Projects

2020-05-28T16:19:02-04:00Articles, Embroidery Art|

Music, Wordplay, and Numbers This new piece, Log Rhythm, is actually a tribute to my father. Not only did he love to play with music and words, but he also loved to play with numbers. My father was an engineer who loved music, wordplay, and numbers.  He could play a tune on any instrument that he picked up.  Mostly he played ragtime on our upright piano and comedic songs on the concertina. (I never played ragtime. I thought I was the next  Edith Piaf, composing and singing heartbreakingly dolorous songs as a teenager.) At Christmas we would go caroling around the neighborhood with my father leading the pack, playing the concertina. […]

What do Jazz & Machine Embroidery Have in Common? | Digital Embroidery

2020-05-26T11:25:49-04:00Articles, News|

What do jazz and digital embroidery have in common? Part of the answer is in this small interview I did on Jazz88 FM. https://www.jazz88.fm/2020/04/20/artist-susan-hensel/ Radio host Emily Reese has been interviewing artists during the “time of COVID” to see what and how they are doing! What I am doing is this: updating my website, writing blog posts, and, yes, plodding forward finishing some larger pieces, and testing out ideas. I talked about the business side of art. I also spoke about how I work improvisationally at the embroidery machines and how I got started in machine embroidery. […]

An Artist’s Studio Life is More Than You Think | Susan Hensel Projects

2020-04-24T15:49:01-04:00Articles, Embroidery Art|

Studio life for artist Susan Hensel is a lot of things.  It is playing with colors, materials, and ideas: the fun stuff.  It is making decisions about how to handle material mistakes: also fun stuff.  This piece, Jester: Clown of God, started as one thing and became another because of inconsistencies that turned up in the stitch-out.  I can’t even see the “problems” anymore, because the piece became itself once I draped it over a chair.  The paradoxical heaviness of the fabric against the visual lightness of spirit reminded me of a story by Tomi DiPaola: The Clown of God,  about a character who used his unique talent to bring goodness to the world. So absurd, to think that a talent for juggling could be so valued. But isn’t that what art does for us? That’s all well and good…but if you are an exhibiting artist, you will probably need to ship the work that you had so much fun making.  […]

Studio In the Time of ???| Embroidery Art | Susan Hensel Projects

2020-04-06T19:57:06-04:00Articles, Embroidery Art, News|

Studio time is LIFE. It is connectional, unrelenting, seeks order out of chaos and, in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it stacks up against the unexpected and unpredictable future.  Art IS long and demands to be made and put out in the universe.  But meanwhile, galleries, art fairs, and museums are closed down.  How many will re-open when it is safe to gather again?  The online marketplaces try to keep up, bringing in a trickle of income. What is it like for artists in the COVID-19 quarantine? […]

Choice Point! | Susan Hensel Projects

2020-04-06T19:56:39-04:00Articles, Embroidery Art, News|

Big things or little things, we are all presented with choices throughout our time here on earth.  We may think we control everything, but we don’t.  Sometimes, no matter what, things just get out of control and choices about how we respond to new events are all we really have to work with! (Thanks, Vicktor Frankl for that insight!) Read on about fiber art by Susan Hensel. ​ […]