June 18, 2014
Location:Penzance, Cornwall, UK
Susanna Bauer uses what is small and fragile to express what is universal and enduring in our co-existence with each other and the natural world. In a uniquely conceived approach to craft, she works with the everyday, inconspicuous details of our natural surroundings, skillfully embroidering found leaves with a halo of cotton thread and coaxing others into finely constructed three-dimensional shapes. Her work pays homage to nature; holding a fine balance of fragility and strength it expresses individual stories and connections that evolve in the process of making. Susanna was born 1969 in Bavaria, Germany, but has lived in England since 1996.
Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:
Your Name: Susanna Bauer
Where you live: Cornwall, South-West England, UK
Where you came from: Germany
Your Medium: leaves, cotton thread
The name of your work: A Dance
Dimensions: (Height, length, width & weight) main frame: 52cm x 52cm x 5cm, ‘tactile’ frame: 30cm x 40cm x 3cm
Price: Wholesale (how much would your work be to buy?) £700 (=approx. $1230) Consenses commission included
What made you want to participate in this project?
I was instantly attracted by the challenge and the unusual way of being inspired to create a piece of work in response to a dance. Also, the new approach to curating an exhibition by bringing together all disciplines of the arts and the senses seems very exciting and I am very curious to discover the threads of interpretation.
Without going back to the dance I sent you what do you remember about it?
A wooden barn building, a fig tree, a woman and a man appearing and disappearing, meeting and dancing together, separating, meeting again, connecting and towards the end sitting down at a table drinking wine and leaving together.
What was your first reaction to the dance? (thoughts, emotions, memories, tastes, smells etc?)
summer, wood, made me think of times spent with my partner at an old house in France
If you had to choose one word to sum up the dance I sent what would it be?
What emotion did it elicit?
What was the dance about in your mind? (Did it tell a story? Paint a picture? Etc.)
For me it told a story about a relationship, maybe the story of many relationships, the tangles and challenges, times of closeness and distance, sometimes confusion, finding common ground and connectedness.
Take me through each step of your process from getting the dance to the creation of your work.
Viewing the dance several times in a row, then not watching it for a couple of days just keeping it in my mind. The essence that stayed was the notion of movement and the development of a relationship. The question of how to visually express it. Transferring this to my preferred medium I thought of falling leaves, tracing their paths and how they might connect. The theme of relationships appears quite often in my work and for me a leaf has got personality and individuality – it took a while to find a couple that could dance together. Choosing a frame size to work to and then experimenting with different paths allowing the natural curl of a crochet line to have its say.
What did you title your work and why?
I simply called my piece of work ‘A Dance’ as this is where it came from and I would like to leave any further interpretation to the individual viewer.
What part of your work came to you first?
How do you normally create? How was this experience different?
When I work with leaves I don’t normally think about adding a tactile element to my work. Fragility, literally and figuratively, plays a big role in my work and the fact of not being able to touch, I think, contributes to the attraction of my pieces. I can see how it was necessary to fit in with the parameters of the exhibition with sculpture being associated with the sense of touch and I hope my touchable intertwining crochet lines give a sense of what ‘A Dance’ is about.
What techniques/tools did you use to help you express you’re interpretation?
I work with a very small crochet hook (0.5 mm)
Are there certain choices you made which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know?
Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project? More you want to say about your experience?
I very much enjoyed working on this project. The film triggered a very natural flow towards making my sculpture and I felt very comfortable with the process. However, I found answering the questionnaire quite difficult as my way of working is very intuitive and visual and trying to capture the process and content in words somehow detaches me from the work.