About Me

I consider myself a textile artist but more than that, a dyer.  It’s a term I connect to more strongly since my roots come from a place where one could do that for a living or at least practice as a craft.

My formative years were spent in Kagoshima, Japan,  on southern Kyushu (Satsuma Prefecture).  My closest neighbors were dyers and weavers. Their children were my playmates, so I was in their quarters almost daily.  That experience left a lasting impression.

My journey to textile work has been a long one. I studied art at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore and much later was introduced to the study of textiles and dyeing at Meredith College in Raleigh. My introduction to indigo came even later, and in a sense felt like a homecoming.

Teaching and workshops extend to Japanese language at a local high school, United Arts Council’s Artist In Schools Program, Artspace in downtown Raleigh, Meredith College, Beaufort Arts Center (Beaufort, NC) and Duke University through the Asian Pacific Studies Institute.

The work is simply a manifestation of a love of color and shibori techniques.  It’s an exploration in textiles as well, with the focus, of course, being indigo and the many challenges that it brings.  Teaching workshops and custom dye work from independent customers and Raleigh Denim has brought challenges and inspiration that feed my intrigue with this dye.  Needless to say, I am deeply grateful to each one as it always bring new learning.

17 Responses to “About Me”

  1. whereishenow Says:

    hi, you were introduced over on spirit cloth.

    I am in Nagasaki now…..have been for 22 years. I will go check out your blog, it looks great!!! My neighbor does some dyeing………she’s a potter, too.

    nice to meet you!!!! I am having a give-away on my blog, come check it out!!!!

  2. sofennell Says:

    Nice to meet you too!

  3. Morna Crites-Moore Says:

    I found you via Jude at Spirit Cloth. Having viewed your blog, I now have a great desire to explore this wonderful combination of textile-thread-stitching and an incredibly beautiful color. Thank you for sharing!

  4. sofennell Says:

    Thank you and go for it! Your work is beautiful too!

  5. Velma Says:

    This blog is an interesting journey into things Japanese, seen through American eyes, as I must also do. Thank you, very, very wonderful. The latest piece of mokumi is fine. Are you growing your own indigo as well?

  6. sofennell Says:

    Thank you so much! I don’t grow indigo. I’d love to try it.

  7. marie wheeler-nicholson Says:

    hi – can you email me – i had a quick question…
    marie w-n

  8. Jtex Says:

    Fabulous blog, love every bit of it – sugoi desu ne! Domo arigato gozaimasu!

  9. Diane Wright Says:

    I spent a couple of years in Hakata and Fukuoka as a child and acquired a love of Japanese arts and textiles. Currently my youngest son lives in Osaka which gives me opportunity to visit and refresh. I appreciate your blog…Japanese arts and textiles without the jet lag.

    • Susan Says:

      Seems to me, Hakata was a great place for crafts. I recall taking a few train trips to that area as a child. The train station always had wonderful Hakata “meibutsu” especially Hakata Ningyo. How fortunate you are to have a son living there! And thank you so much for the compliment. I really appreciate it!

  10. Laurie O'Neill Says:

    Hi Susan, I’m in North Carolina and I’d love to take one of your dyeing workshops in NC sometimes, but I can’t do the one in July. If you have a email list please put me on it! Your work is beautiful!

    • Susan Says:

      Hi Laurie,
      Thank you so much for getting in touch and for the compliment! I’ll definitely put you on my list for the future. I really appreciate it.

  11. Jon-Paul Dowdell Says:

    Hello, I recently came across your blog in a fairly random manner while looking up the Kanji symbol for Raijin. Upon stumbling across I decided to read some of your posts. I am a metal artist/knife maker who has always been heavily by Japanese culture ever since beginning training okinowan goju karate under a very traditionally trained instructor when I was 14. I found your words regarding your work and love of indigo very inspiring. I don’t mean to take up too much of your time, but just wanted to let you know that your passion has had an effect on someone far away and random. Life can truly beautiful at times I believe. You never know where inspiration may come from if you leave yourself open to it!

    Jon-Paul Dowdell

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