Like so many emerging artists, when Susan Dwyer graduated art school, she had no idea what she wanted to do. She began working as a studio assistant for various artists and soon developed a passion, “I knew that was the life for me,” she says. After the encouragement of friends, she started small by launching her first online shop - Up in the Air.
Susan lives and works in Chicago with her husband Ben, who is also her photographer and web designer for Up in the Air. Her ceramics and housewares are inspired by the beautiful forms found in industrial architecture.
“Water towers, warehouses, factories, and silos are abundant in Chicago and endlessly fascinating to me,” says Susan.
As far as her work goes, she approaches is as a sculptor rather than strictly a ceramicists, working in various different mediums (paper mache, ceramic, fiber, etc.)
“Though I went to art school, I didn’t study ceramics there. It wasn’t until I had an idea for a ceramic water tower that I decided to take a class at a local studio. Making things from this point of view allows me to be free to try strange techniques and make big mistakes. Oftentimes it’s the big mistakes that create something beautiful.”
Susan makes each piece one at a time without molds or castings. It’s labor intensive, but it’s an important part of her creative process.
“The saying “work creates work” is definitely true for me,” says Susan. “I’m inspired by my materials, and it’s only through asking questions like “what happens when I put this here?” or “what if I removed that part?” that I come up with something I like.”