Artist Profile: Susan Lenz

Mixed media artist Susan Lenz presents her lovely portfolio. She talks about her process and her business.


"Lunette IV" by artist Susan Lenz


ABI:  Tell us about your materials and techniques.

SL:  My work is made primarily from polyester stretch velvet on recycled, black acrylic felt. I own every color I can find, no matter how seemingly garish. This is combined with heat-activated adhesives and lots of self-directed free-motion machine embroidery.


Melting a large stained glass fiber piece


Finally, I use a soldering iron to poke holes in the design and a heat gun for overall melting. This is a technique I developed and, fortunately, it continues to fascinate me as much as my clients.


Window LIX by artist Susan Lenz


ABI:  How did you prepare for your first trade show?

SL:  Internet research was valuable but not as important as actually talking to artists who use moveable panel booths. So, my husband and I went to a trade show, met a few artists, and finally ordered a perfect booth. We set it up in our living room.


Susan Lenz booth shot


Our cats loved it, but, more importantly, it allowed us to conduct a trial run. As a result, we knew exactly what we were doing, where everything would hang, and gained much needed peace of mind going into our first show. I also participated in the on-line conferences prior to the show. These provided great tips.


"Window XXXIII" by artist Susan Lenz


ABI:  What have you gained from your trade show experience?

SL:  I have learned so many new things as a result of the BMAC.  First, I had to figure out how to use an on-line shipping service. It was well worth learning as I’ve already had repeat business from these new clients. I’ve also gained the confidence to apply to other shows, something I really couldn’t do until I finally had that needed “booth photo”.


Mounting a large stained glass fiber piece


Happily, I’ve been accepted into two prominent shows later this year (The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and the Washington Craft Show.) Most importantly, I learned ways to engage a potential gallery owner in conversation leading to a successful, minimum sale.


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