I had the privilege of interviewing designer Susan I. Jones about her extensive career in the craft and hobby industry. Susan has worked in almost every medium including needlework, jewelry design, wearables, quilting, fashion and paper crafts. Susan lives in Austin, TX with her husband Skip and four cats.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AS A DESIGNER?
Inspiration is everywhere I look—colors, patterns, texture and forms, indoors and out, as well as in magazines, fashion, home décor and even media fire my imagination. I like the challenge a specific design project brings which usually begins with either form or function, or sometimes both. Using materials that are not always compatible with my personal taste requires me to leave my comfort zone and personal preferences behind while keeping my designs fresh.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A DESIGNER?
Always! It’s sort of like being born that way. Although my emphasis on different crafts changes, I’ve always been fascinated with making “stuff” out of “other” stuff.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN PUBLISHED?
Yes, in many different magazines, books, and on the web. Some of these publications include Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, Clotilde’s Sewing Saavy, Vogue Patterns, C & T Publishing, Quarry Books, and many more.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS YOUR PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
When I can teach my design methods and processes and the student adds her/his own style to the finished project. It’s always exciting to see a personal twist added to my design. I love presiding over Make-Takes at trade shows for that reason.
ARE THERE ANY CURRENT TRENDS THAT YOU FEEL ARE IMPORTANT?
I think it’s important to notice current color trends. If your design consists of traditional techniques in colors that look “dated”, then your project will look dated too. Color trends are probably the easiest way to update your projects. Shapes and forms are important for the same reason. Think of the “retro” trend popular now and in the past year or so. The colors, shapes, and forms are very specific with a nod to the present. Some techniques are ageless and can be refreshed by updating material, color, shape or general execution to drag it into this millennium!
ANYTHING ELSE TO ADD ABOUT YOUR WORK OR THE INDUSTRY?
Everyone is a designer. Each outfit you put on and accessorize, you’ve designed. Every dinner table set for company is your design. Your home, garden, and gift wraps are designed by you! I experiment constantly as in “what if I combine this with this?” Sometimes it doesn’t work and sometimes I get an entirely accidental success!