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Meet Sonoma County Artist Susan Stover

Mottainai Art by Susan Stover

Sonoma County artist Susan Stover creates distinctive works of art by blending traditional textile surface design techniques with a unique method of painting with encaustic, a wax-based paint.

She begins her innovative process with a sheet of silk fabric which she dyes, paints, or stamps with printing blocks to create an initial over-all design. She then embeds the silk in layers of colored and clear wax mounted on a wood panel, and occasionally incorporates metal, found objects, and other mixed media.

 “My art is inspired by ethnic textiles, tribal objects and the way other cultures integrate their beliefs into these items,” Susan described. Her intention is to use these traditional techniques while bringing them into a modern contemporary art context.

Coming from a family of artists, Susan is grateful that they have always encouraged her creative endeavors, and has fond memories of sitting in her grandfather’s studio as he painted her portrait. Susan grew up in the Midwest and attended Miami University in Ohio as an art major.

After studying painting, where she learned basic painting skills, she discovered the textile department and turned her attention in that direction. When she moved to California she continued to work in textiles while in graduate school at California College of Art in Oakland, but always maintained an interest in painting.

In more recent years, travel has played an important role in Susan’s artwork.

Experiencing other cultures, new landscapes, and ways of living have influenced the patterns, designs, and color choices in her work.

Susan is interested in the role that textiles play in societies, the beliefs that are tied to the making of cloth, patterns that are used, and purpose of the final product.

“By employing the same traditional techniques as part of my process, I feel that I can speak the same language and learn about other people distanced by culture or time,” Susan said.

Susan has lived in Sonoma County for 20 years and feels that the quality of life is very good here — where you can be away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and yet close enough to go when you want.

Most of Susan’s current work can be seen on her website. Her work can also be seen in the Room Art Gallery, in Mill Valley, California, as well as other galleries around the country. Susan also teaches workshops on her techniques, information about the workshops can be found on her website.

Check out this 3-day itinerary to see the art in Sonoma County

1. Mottainai (main photo)
2. Stover stirring vat of indigo dye (right)
3. Portal (left)

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