Creative flair springs from colorful life experiences
Once you’ve seen the work of folk artist and quilter Sue Spargo, you’ll forever recognize her signature designs.
Standout characteristics are bright, contemporary colors of sumptuous hand-dyed wool appliqu&233;d with primitive-style flowers, vines, houses, animals and many, many birds. The details glisten with her myriad embellishments — glass beads, buttons, rickrack and fancy embroidery stitches.
A chartreuse color scheme, for example, features wool, chenille fibers, seagrass and silk thread. Finished pieces seem to glow with warmth and color.
A multicultural background and an upbringing in Africa inspire Spargo’s creative life today.
As a resident of Uniontown, Ohio, this mother of four focuses on her home business, Sue Spargo Folk-Art Quilts.
That includes designing with textural fabrics, publishing books and patterns, and holding retreats and teaching workshops.
Spargo will be in Grand Junction on Wednesday and Thursday, lecturing about her designs at two quilt guilds and teaching an all-day workshop on a wall-sized quilt titled “Altered Textile.”
She’ll give two different lectures Wednesday: “Finding Your Creativity,” in which Spargo will show practical ways to use everyday experience and interests to express yourself; and “Travel Journals,” in which she will explain how her work is inspired by the countries where she has lived or visited. Those include Africa, England, United States, Italy, Vietnam and Australia.
The flora, fauna and cultures of all these places have influenced her quilts, Spargo says.
She will illustrate her many ideas with examples of her creativity.
Her vivid pieces include table rugs, totes, pillows, large pincushions or “pin keepers,” and large wall hangings with dimension and a variety of textures.
Her basic component is felted and hand-dyed wool, but Spargo enhances that with silk, velvet, corduroy and cotton along with couched threads, cording and sometimes heishi beads. Heishi beads are tiny and made from the shells of clams, oysters or abalone, or sometimes from semiprecious stones.
On Spargo’s blog, she writes about her excitement over specialized embroidery and shows close-up photos of the fly stitch, coral stitch, chevron, even a Pekinese stitch and some bullion knots.
“They give such depth to the wool,” she says. See for yourself at suespargo.blogspot.com.
I am enrolled in her Thursday class, having received an advance kit to prepare. I’ve whip stitched a wool vase and flowers to the wool background with a No. 24 chenille needle, per her instructions.
It was like sewing through butter — so relaxing.
I can hardly wait for a full day of her instruction on those embellishments. I hope I can master the Pekinese stitch.
If you’d like to hear Spargo speak and see her wool artwork Wednesday, the public is invited to both morning and evening guild meetings. A guest fee will be charged.
(See details under If You Go listing on this page.)
E-mail Sherida.Warner@ gjsentinel.com.