Capturing iconic scenes of Boston and Cape Cod (USA), Sue Colozzi portrays the places she loves in fabric and stitch. Her landscape quilts have won viewer’s choice awards and critical recognition across the United States.
Growing up in the Midwest, Sue found Boston’s brick streets and brownstone buildings attractive on her first visit. She moved to the Boston area after earning a BFA in Weaving from Syracuse University. This background anchors her appreciation of textiles, textures and three dimensional work, which she continues to explore in her work today. Exhibiting her woven sculptures at the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, Sue began teaching elementary school. Her sewing skills were put to use constructing orthopedic corsets and textile supports for her brother’s company. Weaving was left behind due to other obligations.
As their family grew, Sue and her husband spent more time on on Cape Cod. Walking and bicycling along its marshes and ocean shoreline, Sue observed wildlife and changing colors throughout the year.
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Her experiments in art quilting began when she retired from teaching in 2009. Sue imagined creating landscapes in her own way. Inspired by the 1980’s trend of embroidered landscapes framed in hoops, Sue layered commercial fabrics, playing with the textures and colors, blending pieces to create depth and detail to represent the landscapes she loves. Biking along the Charles River, the benches and viewpoints of water and Boston’s city skyline inspired her first quilts.
Her techniques were self taught, or as she modestly says, “I make it up as I go along.”
“One If By Land and Two If By Sea” © Sue Colozzi
Whether depicting the Fourth of July fireworks, Boston’s Custom House or Boston from the Cambridge side of the Charles River, Sue plays with fabrics, seasons and light in each piece. Her landscape quilts of Cape Cod vistas and gardens combine a large scale appeal with small scale detail.
For those who know and admire this area, the landscape quilts strike a chord. Sue’s work portrays both iconic landmarks and tucked away spots. This sense of place is key to her recent work. Many of her collectors feel this same kinship to the area. Frequently, they can identify the vista. In other cases, the location may not be easily identified, but the composition clearly evokes a memory and sense of affinity. These fiber interpretations encourage up close appreciation of the detailed textures and beauty.
Celebrating ten years as a landscape quilter, Sue enjoys hearing the reactions and stories that people share as they enjoy her work.
“Since I retired from teaching, this whole new world has unfolded and now surrounds me,” Sue admits.
Marsh with Tansy – © Sue Colozzi
Sue describes herself as a landscape quilter, which may puzzle those unfamiliar of the combination of an established painting genre with something on a bed that keeps you warm. Beginning like many painters, Sue photographs and sketches inspirational locations. Her palette is a collection of fabrics of all weights and fibers. While her work looks like a painting, it’s actually layers of fabric fused and stitched together, then embellished. Fabric watercolor pencils and inks add dimension to the work.
Over the years, Sue’s tool box has grown. While she turns to favorite techniques for particular effects, “Sometimes a photo demands something different.”
Painting or eco printing fabric fills the gap when a commercial fabric doesn’t fit. Since 2018, the three dimensional pull that Sue felt when weaving has shown in her art quilts. While she often creates work in response to a call for entry, she enjoys the creative process most when she can experiment without restraints.
“Coleus Up Close” © Sue Colozzi
Sue creates a rich stream of small works. These pieces allow her to hone ideas. Collectors eagerly appreciate these popular pieces. Sue contributes to her local quilt guilds by providing mini quilts for raffles, which are perennially strong fundraisers.
Larger pieces, such as Salt Marsh Egret, received the Pictorial Wall Quilt Honorable Mention at the American Quilt Society Week 2019.
San Angelo (2019) is another example of her larger, detail-oriented work. The scene from the island of Ischia (Italy) was captured while on vacation in 2017. Progress was slow as Sue balanced her small work with art for juried competitions.
A member of the Studio Art Quilt Associates, Sue coordinates exhibits for the Massachusetts/Rhode Island Chapter. She networks with other quilt artists and has developed a behind the scenes understanding of the juried art process and exhibit management.
Sue’s ready for a new phase of experimentation and discovery in her landscape quilts. Having recently finished work for regional holiday fairs, Sue’s goals in 2020 include trying new techniques and letting her creativity take her to the next phase of her fiber art.
See more of Sue’s work at suecolozzi.com