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Susan grew up in Wheaton, Maryland, just north of Washington, DC. She feels it was a great place to grow up since school field trips usually went to the national museums. She also feels lucky to have wonderfully supportive parents who were able to indulge her and her sister, Heidi's, creative desires. Susan attended the Maryland Institute, College of Art, in Baltimore, Maryland, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration in 1983. After a couple years of freelance graphic design work in DC, and various part-time jobs, she traveled to Maine on a summer vacation with a high-school friend. There she met a "really cute guy" who was working on his dad's fishing wharf for the summer. Susan and Tom Allen are now married. In the years that have followed that first introduction (Thanks, Kathy!), Susan and Tom have stayed in New England. They lived seven years in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, making many friends in the rich artistic community. In 1994 they moved to Berwick, Maine, where three years later their son, Sam, was born. Now they live just up the road from that wharf where they first met in South Harpswell. Two big ol' pups, Daisy and Hassan, complete their family. Susan has received numerous awards for her quilts, including a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts Artist Opportunity Grant in 1994. Her 7 1/2 minutes of fame came in 1993 when New Hampshire Public Television did a short program on her and her artwork. She figures she still has the other 7 1/2 minutes to burn.
Take the next step in free-style quilting with four projects which go from beginner to advanced and create beautiful, color-rich impressionistic quilts. The clear, visual lessons help you to 'let go of the rules' and Susan's free-hand cutting techniques guide you to turn cast-off fabric pieces into new design discoveries.--Fabrications, 10/2010 In this guide to free-spirited fabric collage, Susan Carlson begins by chronicling her struggles to achieve a less restricted approach in her work. She proceeds to share the discoveries that transformed her technique through a series of projects (each accompanied by a pattern) that increase in difficulty, gradually acclimatizing the reader to her unique method of quilt construction. The first project is a simple spiral quilt, constructed using the essential components of Carlson's approach: drawing an underlying image, selecting fabrics, and gluing them in place. More complex projects include a sun and moon portrait, a beta fish design, and a mandala quilts. Carlson's instructions go far beyond methodical, step-by-step directions as she includes anecdotes about her personal experiences, design advice, and ideas for how to make your collaged quilts unique. The artist's gallery at the end of the book, full of vibrantly colorful quilts inspired by a wide variety of subjects (from freshly caught fish to smiling pumpkins and beetles), will undoubtedly inspire you to loosen up your collage approach as well.--Quilting Arts, 8/1/10