Why I Teach
At seven years old, when I grew up I wanted to be an artist, a veterinarian, or a teacher.
Now I’m a fiber artist making quilts of animals and teaching others to do what I do. That willful seven year-old still lives in me. She’s the one I rely on to make sure I’m following my dreams.
I am a hands-on type of teacher. In class, if I need to demonstrate a point I’m making about your piece, I’ll take the scissors and show you, if necessary. On the other hand, if I see that you understand, you may think I’m neglecting you, because I’m letting you work. I do this because I try to give students what they need, not always what they think they want.
I hope (and am told) that my art touches people in important ways. I’m fairly certain that for many my pieces help expand the definition of quilts from craft into the realm of “Art.” And as an unabashed animal lover, the message of my art is clear. As one person said upon seeing my quilt “Polka Dodo,” “I’ve known about dodos, but I’ve never really thought about them before.”
However, teaching takes my influence to a personal level. While working in my studio, I listen to podcasts that talk about finding your purpose, your mission in life. They ask, what can you do make a difference in the world? The feedback I get from students is about how my classes free them up artistically. They’ve been able to take something that’s been in their head and manifest it into art. They are amazed and proud at what they’ve accomplished. It changes them. I think about that when I get tired of traveling and just want to be home with my family and pets. When I’m in the middle of my classroom, experiencing my students’ energy and their insights, it keeps me going.
What They Say
Rave review from students at Susan Carlson retreats.
February 2012 Susan Carlson Quilt Retreat
“You are the perfect teacher: encouraging, helpful, generous with sharing your knowledge and experiences, very approachable, give good directions, nice order of presentations, open to letting us develop our own style, and love your positive, happy energy.”
May 2011 Susan Carlson Quilt Retreat
“It was a rich experience for a first time quilter. You made us feel comfortable with the newness of so many things!”
October 2016 Susan Carlson Quilt Retreat
“Susan, you have provided such a quality experience. You provide a tremendous amount of knowledge and coaching in a short amount of time, allowing your students to use the information immediately to turn out great results.”