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Susan Chase's Profile

About

I recently relocated to a funky little mid century bungalow on the central coast of California. I am looking forward to getting back into creating art and re-purposed pieces, and searching for interesting vintage items for my house and Etsy shop. Because space is at a premium here, I am more carefully selecting smaller scale items that I love or connect with, for my shop.

I grew up with a strong love of history, art and nature. I spent as much time outdoors as possible, often on my Huffy sportsman bike, exploring, observing, recreating and daydreaming. I love all animals, with birds and cats (separated of course) being the most fascinating to me. Growing up, my Dad always had tons of history books lying around that he picked up at garage sales. Since our TV reception was spotty at best after we moved to a remote apple ranch, I started cracking them open in desperation for reading…

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  • Female
  • Born on May 7
  • Joined February 21, 2012

Favorite materials

Sea glass, beach stones, driftwood, shells, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, embroidery, vintage jewelry, fabrics, ceramics, vintage prints, buttons

About

I recently relocated to a funky little mid century bungalow on the central coast of California. I am looking forward to getting back into creating art and re-purposed pieces, and searching for interesting vintage items for my house and Etsy shop. Because space is at a premium here, I am more carefully selecting smaller scale items that I love or connect with, for my shop.

I grew up with a strong love of history, art and nature. I spent as much time outdoors as possible, often on my Huffy sportsman bike, exploring, observing, recreating and daydreaming. I love all animals, with birds and cats (separated of course) being the most fascinating to me. Growing up, my Dad always had tons of history books lying around that he picked up at garage sales. Since our TV reception was spotty at best after we moved to a remote apple ranch, I started cracking them open in desperation for reading entertainment, when I wasn't rereading books like Call of the Wild or Island of the Blue Dolphins for the umpteenth time.

After college, I was a park ranger for California State Parks for 20 years in a very exciting and rewarding career with plenty of time out in nature and surrounded by historic artifacts. I also helped raise wonderful children during that time. Unfortunately, I had to retire early due to complications from Lyme Disease. The upside is I am now free to focus on my artistic pursuits and search for interesting vintage items.

I grew up going with my parents to the gigantic San Jose flea market. We also frequently went to garage sales looking for treasures. I still love the hunt (no animals harmed in this activity) for interesting vintage stuff, full of character and often beauty. I even love getting up with the birds to get there early. There is that little feeling of excitement I get, hoping that this might be the time and place I find something fantastic buried in a box of junk. I imagine it's a wee bit like surfing, when surfers set out day after day in anticipation of catching that perfect wave. Hesitate and it's gone.

Even though my favorite time in history is the 1920's, a particularly freeing and interesting time for women in history, alas I am a child of the 1960's and '70's. I know the ephemera well. It was a groovy, cool, mod time. A time of out with the old, and in with clean, modern lines and bold colors. As an artist, I think I have developed a pretty good eye for what's worth resurrecting from the back of someone's kitchen cupboard where it mostly sat for 50 years, and putting it in my Etsy shop for a new, re-purposed life.

I think my true love for vintage things came from the summers I spent at my Great grandparents' house in Santa Rosa, California. I had a lot of fun looking through all the nooks and crannies of their house and backyard. I have fond memories of rearranging the boxes of Jello and canned goods in the Hoosier cabinet in their pantry. I have that Hoosier cabinet in my home now, filled with vintage spice tins and kitchen utensils. My Great grandmother was very much about re-purposing items and not wasting. Her kitchen drawers were filled with strings, paper bags and rubber bands. They traded vegetables and meat with their neighbors in exchange for my Great grandfather resoling their shoes in his little shoe repair shop in the back yard.

My lifetime interest in art probably first came from watching my mother. She was always creating new things. She took a painting class when I was in first grade. I recall being very impressed by her rendering of a mule in front of an old barn. We drove by the scene everyday, but I had never paid much attention to it until I saw my mother's painting.

All through high school and college I was known for my unique style, wearing lots of vintage clothing and jewelry. Even though my major was Environmental Studies, I often took art courses at the same time. I still do.

My favorite artist is Henri Matisse. I love his use of bold colors and interesting shapes. I especially like his portraits of women and the backgrounds and objects he chose. I have a print I brought home from a visit to the Centre Pompidou on a low budget trip to Paris in my '20's. Even in Matisse's final years when he was often bedridden and could no longer paint he was cutting out shapes from paper for collages and placing them with the assistance of a caretaker. It would be hard not to admire that artistic tenacity and drive.

It was my mother who taught me how to mosaic several years ago. My first project was a river scene created from broken plates and flat river rocks on the top of an old coffee table that someone had set outside their house with a free sign on it.

Now I have the opportunity to really focus on my art. I am always coming up with new ideas while out in nature collecting driftwood, stones, and sea glass with Colby, my little rescue Schipperke dog, by my side. I always make sure I am abiding by laws, and collecting in a sustainable way. If I encounter trash when out in nature, I always pack it out with me.

I am looking forward to expanding my Etsy store, growing as an artist, and learning from the other members. To leave with a quote, "Art will never be able to exist without nature," --Pierre Bonnard.





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