Susie is taking part in our coming Home is a Feeling show in Faversham on 13th and 14th November.
Describe what you do as a creative.
‘A Dance in the Moon Garden’ is my first children’s book and I’m now working on my second, set on a beach in Kent. I also curate group exhibitions in Margate under the name of ‘Barber’s Son – Hairdresser’s Daughter’, which is a joke relating to J.M.W.Turner who was a Barber’s son. I work in a variety of media and particularly enjoy making very large oil paintings.
Tell us briefly about yourself.
I have spent many years in teaching, but am now concentrating upon writing and illustrating books. I have one son who is a sculptor, currently living in Australia.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Growing up I wanted to be a singer, I used to learn all my parents’ records off by heart and sing the songs in the car!
How did you begin doing what you do?
I studied Fine Art at Newcastle university for six years. I was very fortunate to be awarded a British Academy Award for my post-graduate study. I’ve always had an interest in children’s books and the lockdown was the catalyst to creating the ‘Moon Garden’.
What turns on your creativity?
I find inspiration in a broad variety of experiences, but strangely enough heartbreak and difficult experiences often lead to creativity.
What do you like best about your work?
The complete absorption, when time evaporates!
When were you most satisfied in your work?
I’m never satisfied, I can always find something that requires change and improvement.
Describe a memorable response to your work.
Hearing a mother reading ‘Moon Garden’ to her small daughter in a gallery, not knowing that I had written the book and was there listening.
What is the most exciting part of your work at the moment?
Early morning walks on beach, perfecting the story and taking photos to capture sunlight for the illustrations.
What is your dream project?
The current book I’m working on!
Which artists / creative people are your heroes and inspiring figures?
A strong influence on my work has always been the British Ruralists, particularly David Inshaw.
Your idea of happiness
Watching the sun rise from the sea out of my window.
What art/creativity related book should everyone read?
I’ve just sent a copy of ‘The Decameron’ to a young writer and although many of the stories are too bawdy and completely unsuitable for the younger reader, I would recommend any older would-be storyteller to read this book.
Tell us a lesson life has taught you.
I’m still trying to learn self belief!