Tag Archives: Susan Crocenzi

Artist in Residence at IMA!!

After the conference it was onwards and upwards to the Bay Area – my former stomping ground and one place I keep going back to. I always feel like I come home when I go there…

Laurel True was kind enough to let me do a stint at Artist in Residence at the Institute of Mosaic Art (IMA).  When I inquired about perhaps helping out with something at IMA, I wasn’t expecting an ‘Artist in Residence’ tag at all, but was more than happy with it 🙂  Laurel had mentioned the kitchen backsplash which piqued my interest,  amongst many other possibilities. I was worried that time pressures and other personal pressures may prevent me from finishing it, so I left myself open to anything. I had mentioned it to Susan Crocenzi – looking to collaborate with her cuz I thought it would just be fun! When I arrived and went over, I thought to myself the backsplash would be the perfect thing to do. Yet again proof of working well under pressure 😉 With no design ideas in mind and no inkling, at that time, that I would be surrounded by fellow artists a la  Linda Martin, Kelley Knickerbocker and Rachel Rodi [who are waaaay awesome!!! ;)] to help finish the installation I set about doing the kitchen backsplash direct (knowing that I had 4, maybe 5 days to get it all done)! – simply because I had no design in mind and worked it as I went. I knew that if I sat down and drew stuff out, it would not get finished.

Susan came in on the last day (all the way from Nevada City!) and added her tempered glass and polymer clay accents, all of which I think make the installation! Some of the polymer clay pieces she had made many moons ago and they just fit with the theme – colours, shapes… it was just perfect! Like it was meant to be somethin’… We finished just in the knick o’ time.

I have to say designing this was a little scary… 1 because I had no ideas, 2 because it’s in Laurel’s business, 3 because that business is IMA and 4 because how many mosaic artists go through there every year?! Laurel was way cool about it though and just let me go for it. I very much appreciate her support. I figured that she wouldn’t mind a walk on the wild side and wouldn’t necessarily need/want/prefer a traditional backsplash, so I went with something else and I think it fits with the spirit of IMA…

By day 2 I was starting to get just a tad panicked that I wasn’t going to be able to finish what I’d started! I was leaving to go back to Australia and not quite like I could pop in at any time… Mentioned as much on either Flickr or Facebook (don’t remember which) and Lovely Linda came to the rescue!!! She drove up from Santa Cruz to help me on the Saturday. How cool is that?! Kelley was there, having driven down from Seattle the day before, hanging her art for a show she’s got going on (go see it if you are close by – her work is amazing!!!!). We roped her in at some point in the day and when Rachel finished teaching her class… well we just had that glint in our eyes and she couldn’t say no 😉

Last day of installation and the name for the piece hadn’t even cropped up… Susan and I decided to call it Reach.

Have I mentioned how FUN it is working with fellow mosaic artists?!!! Spreadin’ the love is good in numbers!

Me and the Lovely Linda
Me and Linda Martin

Kelley, Rachel and Linda
The Gang – Kelley Knickerbocker, Rachel Rodi and Linda Martin

Crocenzi waving her magic TG wand
The LOVELY Susan Crocenzi

Photo by Gib Robinson

Reach - glowing
Reach, *glowing*

Susan Crocenzi's Polymer Clay and Tempered Glass Creations
Detail of Susan’s work

Photo by Gib Robinson

Photo by Gib Robinson



Filed under Architectural Installations, Art, Artists, Backsplash, California, Community Projects, Design Concepts, Events, Female, Finished pieces, Flickr, Inspiration, Institute of Mosaic Art, Kelley Knickerbocker, Kim Grant, Laurel True, Lifestyle, Linda Martin, Meeeting of the Minds, Misc. Design Concepts, Mosaic, Mosaic Materials, Murals, My projects, Oakland, Ornamental, Polymer Clay, Public Art, Rachel Rodi, Rant, Round the World, San Francisco, Schools, Susan Crocenzi, Tempered Glass, Travel, Uncategorized, USA

Artist Watch: Susan Crocenzi

I’ve decided to start a series of other mosaic artists that inspire me. I thought I’d start with Susan Crocenzi, aka sucra88. I found her through Flickr (good ol’ flickr!!!) and instantly fell in love with what I saw. It was an extreme ooh & aah session (and a few laughing moments) going through her photostream. I really like what she does. It’s very different, I think, to what I’ve been seeing lately and also I look at it and DON’T think: “I could do that”, so of course it’s very inspiring! Plus, she’s really nice and very funny and very interesting!!!

Susan seems to work alot with tempered glass, something I havn’t yet quite got my head around. I’ve used it in Kashmir before, with an indian silk underneath but it just didn’t quite have the same effect.

Susan’s love and study of art began early. She won a haiku contest about bunnies in fourth grade and years later managed to have three art classes her senior year of high school.

After graduating from Chico State in 1987, she spent the next thirteen years teaching middle school English. Being a teacher was the most difficult, joyous and significant accomplishment of her life.

She left teaching in 2002 and has been immersed in mosaics ever since, often pondering how middle schoolers and tesserae (the little bits of material that make up mosaics) have a lot in common:

  • There are a lot of them scrunched into a very small space.
  • They’re lovely, each in his/her/its own way.
  • Tesserae don’t love you like kids do.
  • On the other hand, tesserae don’t follow you around the classroom, pulling at the hem of your shirt, begging repeatedly, “Ms. Cro, Ms. Cro! Will you read your bunny haiku again, Ms. Cro? The bunnies! Hey! Ms. Cro, will you read your haiku? It’s so funny! Huh? I can’t believe that thing won a prize, Ms. Cro. Please? Come on!”

Now she lives and creates in a (very quiet) cabin in the woods of the California Sierra Foothills. As a kayaker, hiker, and gardener, her work is most influenced by nature, as well as poetry, and others’ mosaics.

Susan has studied under several esteemed mosaic artists including Laurel True, Ellen Blakeley, Sonia King, and Jenny Iams-McGuire. She has studied the mosaics of many countries, including Turkey, Spain, and Mexico. She is a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists, and Mosaic Artists Online.

Anyway, I think I’ll let her work speak for themselves…

Arcetri originally uploaded by sucra88 – I think this one, so far, is my all time favourite. I love this one!!!


Andrea originally uploaded by sucra88

Twilight on Mill Creek Lane
Twilight on Mill Creek originally uploaded by sucra88

Electric Kool-Aid
Electric Kool-Aid originally uploaded by sucra88

Shabby Chic/Victorian Yard Art Flower
Shabby Chic/Victorian Yard Art Flower originally uploaded by sucra88

originally uploaded by sucra88

And the artiste in question, sitting atop the stairway in Sunset Heights in San Francisco:

Susan being all inspired and thoughtful and happy and stuff
Susan being all inspired and thoughtful and happy and stuff originally uploaded by sucra88

Aren’t these stairs amazing?! They were made by Colette Crutcher & Aileen Barr a few years back now. Check out more pics in Susan’s staircase set.

I think Susan is an artist to watch! I’m looking forward to doing a swap with her soon! 🙂

If you are interested in purchasing any of her beautiful artworks, email her on sucra88 [at] hotmail.com



Filed under Art, Artist Watch Series, Artists, Emerging, Female, Flickr, Garden Mosaics, Inspiration, Mosaic, Polymer Clay, Rant, Round the World, Susan Crocenzi, Tempered Glass, Uncategorized, USA, Wall Hanging