Susan McCraw


Fabric Collage
Wavelengths quilt
Katrina's Wake quilt

28"W x 23"H

Embroidery and layering with sheer fabrics provide a sense of varying depths in this design, in which parallel zigzag lines are reflected and combined into diamonds and X-shapes.


Katrina’s Wake
11”W x 19.5”H

The separate layers and shapes in this piece seemed to me to have come together spontaneously, as though carried for a while, but finally cast away, by the wind and water.  The only surviving human touch is a trail of stitching.
Regalia II quilt
Razzamatazz quilt

“Regalia II”
39.5” W x  33.5” H

A Nigerian chief’s robe inspired the shape and palette of this piece.  I overpainted some of the commercial fabrics used in it.  The background panel of V shapes is covered with machine embroidery.                    

25" W x 19" H

“Eye dazzler” zigzags decorate carpets from Turkey and Iran, blankets of the Navajo, and mud-walled houses in southern Africa.  Here, machine embroidery melds the contrasting blues and oranges on the sides of the design, and enables them to balance the strong central pattern.                         

Dark Spirit quilt
Black and White and  quilt

“Dark Spirit”
37” W x 48” H

Some Nigerian men’s robes bear embroidered decorations in this mysterious form.  Is  it a person? a bird? a fish?  Is it threatening, or protecting?  The broken vertical stripes here recall West African kente cloth, which is woven in decorated narrow strips that are then sewn together.

“Black and White and …”
27.75” W x 40” H

The elements that first caught my imagination for this piece were the multicolored stripes in the horizontal X-shaped bars near the bottom. The color scheme was inspired by a traditional wedding blanket of the Fulani tribe, who live in the Sahara.

Ribbons quilt
The Cloudbands Escapade

“Ribbons on the Wind”
20”W x 24” H

I made this after I visited the antique Chinese house that was moved in its entirety to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, which frequently has exhibitions of textiles from the Far East and South Asia.

“The Cloudbands’ Escapade”
32” W x 38” H

Cloudbands are ancient Chinese motifs that often decorate ceramics, brocades and the borders of carpets.  They have been borrowed by weavers in many other times and countries.  In this piece, an assortment of cloudbands in various sizes and colors have broken out of their usual places, and are floating free.

Fictitious Character quilt

“Fictitious Character”
32” W x 38.5” H

I adapted the arrangement of sharp triangles on both sides of this piece from a Persian tribal rug.  The central “letter” came entirely from my imagination.  The shapes that decorate the horizontal stripe near the bottom recapitulate the larger motifs.

31.25” W x 42” H

In this piece I adapted and combined motifs from textiles of the Shoowa and Bakuba tribes of central Africa.  I wanted to try building a complex and intricate design as they do, by repeating and manipulating a simple “V” form.  These weavers use raffia, a vegetable fiber, to produce elaborately patterned skirts that men and women wear for ceremonies and dances.


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