Portrait of the Artist: Weavings by Susanne Tick
Spending summers and weekends at her father’s scrap-metal yard in Illinois, Suzanne Tick matured into a serial recycler. Two years ago, as his health began to fail, he moved into her home. That’s when, provoked by his presence or perhaps just her past, she grabbed a horde of wire hangers from a closet, instinctively recognizing what others might see as clutter as fresh fodder for the art of weaving. She’s been weaving for decades for her own personal satisfaction while building a career in the commercial world, most notably at KnollTextiles and Tandus Flooring. Now, she’s getting serious about finding recognition for her art. Securing representation at the Cristina Grajales Gallery in New York was a major step. Reaching out to the big design firms that spec her fabric and carpet was another.
The hanger sculptures first met their public in a sprawling wall installation commissioned by Interior Design Hall of Fame member Rysia Suchecka, a principal at NBBJ-staffers dutifully collected the requisite 5,000 hangers. Then Gensler principal and design director Mark Morton volunteered to curate an exhibition at the firm’s New York office. “I asked them to make this commission an educational opportunity as well,” she says. That meant “enrolling” two dozen Gensler designers in a course of Monday-night weaving classes. Those hours of teaching technique and experimenting with structure culminated in “Salvage,” running through mid-May. Discarded hangers, plastic bags, paper pulp, and fiber-optic cable all appear in Tick’s 22 weavings, which hang proudly alongside works by her Gensler students.