Susannah Israel Workshop/Solo Exhibition at Black Bean

There is three parts to this post:

Black Bean Studio is an amazing studio space.  It's cavernous.  The scale, impressive.  The set up, envious!  Ruben and Will are instant friends - 5 mins (I'm not joking) after walking in the door and you feel like you've come home.  The air is filled with excitement and energy,,,,and did I mention space!  glorious space!  Big high ceilings, enough of everything, large garage doors, plenty of light, massive work tables....and a beautifully appointed, well designed gallery space!!

Susannah's work:  If you can see it; I am strongly suggesting you get to Black Bean!  If possible; I assure you it's worth the trip.  The work is so photogenic as you can easily see (I say nothing of photographic skills; I have none).  The work speaks for itself.  Susannah has work in private and public collections all over the world.  The work deserves to be seen up close, studied - though photogenic, pictures do them little justice.  There is a vast landscape over these pieces that to be fair to them required close attention.  Each piece an invitation to a long conversation with the viewer.  I've seen a piece here and there of Susannah's, but never this much work in one place.  I wanted to hang out with them, pull up a chair, get to know them, hear stories about their families and friends - much like I feel when I read a real good book.  The thing that comes closes to the surface for me is a deep compassion and empathetic nod to living in and experiencing this world.  They are rooted in real life.  compelling, really.  

The workshop:

Susannah built this "person on a chair in a boat" in the course the the 8 hour workshop - a feat of clay, engineering & stamina!  I am only posting a smattering of the pictures I took.  Because I'm a very visual learner, a concentrated amount of time watching someone work is a real gift.  There are so many nuances you can pick up on, so much information that happens between the lines, things unsaid that cannot be discussed or described but are experienced by everyone in the room. Susannah is very forthcoming about everything she does.  The real gift was her time - being allowed a window into her practice, her giving us so much time to watch and observe.  

One of the most enjoyable parts of the day was Susannah walking through the gallery and talking about each of the pieces; she answered all questions about surface, form, design, meaning, anything anyone wanted to know.

 it was great to spend some time with Susannah, watch & learn, and get to know her a little better.    
It was a real pleasure discovering Black Bean and meeting Ruben and Will!  Visit them if you can.  


  1. Linda, I am honored beyond measure by your beautiful images and words. The workshop was a wonderful gift, and like the work in the gallery, all part of the help and support and affection that has been with me at every step I've taken since Bill's loss. My thanks dear friend, and be sure I enjoyed the day as much as anyone!
    love, Susannah

  2. I mean every word Susannah! a great pleasure; I'm still thinking about it and mulling it over. Thank you for the inspiration to delve into some critical art/ceramics articles.

  3. WOW...wish I were taking Janet Lohr's Ceramics class @ City College Spring 2012 to have gotten a chance to hear your 2012 lecture...your work is quite inspirational and striking for the current obsession with "Modernism", which is just trendy and not really what I am currently interested in.