Susan Hoge


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    Long ago, I had the opportunity to repair indigenous beadwork from around the world brought home by scholars at the University of Michigan. This exposed me to many indigenous techniques and gave me a solid technical foundation. I apply the sensibilities and techniques of indigenous jewelry to fine jewelry materials. My work has been featured in Vogue, Elle, In Style, American Craft, and Metalsmith magazines. It has been worn by Janet Jackson at the Grammys and by actresses on the red carpet at the Oscars. It is included in the collection of the Museum of Art and Design in NYC.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I create my work using indigenous beadwork techniques used historically throughout the world. The metal beads in my work are antique French aluminum (c.1890-1910) and cut steel (c.1850). The aluminum beads are a neutral matte platinum color which accentuates the sparkling, colored gemstones. I weave the base of the piece out of the metal beads and then individually knot each gemstone bead to the base. This results in a durable clothlike structure. It is strong and drapes fluidly over the body.

    A: I have always loved rock hunting and gemstones. I am excited by the search for materials. Finding something rare is always a delight! When working with the stones, I can almost taste the juicy colors of the beads. A gemstone is like no other material. There is a satisfying weight to the stone that feels good on the body. The subtle variations in color and the energy within the stone can only be created by nature.

    A: I began my career by making and selling beaded jewellery at Grateful Dead concerts in the early 1980s.

    A: Many of my pieces are very time consuming to make. While I am working on them, I get inspiration or ideas seemingly from, “out of the blue.” They are usually much better ideas than I get if I focus on creating something new or solving a problem directly. I am in wonder of and thankful for these moments.

    A: When I was growing up, my mother taught me many different types of needlework and other fiber techniques. We spent a lot of time together working on various projects. I got used to the slow pace and relaxing nature of the work.

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