2013 Susan Vida Judah

Portrait of Susan Vida Judah, Strathbutler 2013

Portrait of Susan Vida Judah, Strathbutler 2013

The exquisite visual poetry of her work embodies decades of sustained mastery …

As a textile artist, Susan Vida Judah makes an ancient art form new again. The exquisite visual poetry of her work embodies decades of sustained mastery and a profound technical command of her medium. She explores and expands the expressive power of weaving and tapestry, incorporating elements of sculpture, installation and decorative art.

Nominator Beth Powning describes her as “a force in the artistic life of this province” and “an important contributor towards the vitality of the visual arts.” As both a teacher and artist, Judah has been deeply engaged with the cultural community and shown leadership through her participation in countless institutions, advisory committees and boards. Fellow nominator, Peter Larocque, observes that “the current strength and extent of textile art in the province is due in large part to the solid foundation she helped lay.” The members of the jury are honoured to name Susan Vida Judah the 2013 recipient of the Strathbutler Excellence Award.

In the artist’s words

What is this work of tapestry?
The hand’s imprint;
the fascination with bringing an idea to
form and with form itself;
the laborious building 
with fineness of thread integrating 
image to fabric;
an eye for detail and concerns about structural integrity;
a form of image-making that is not surface
It is a glimpse of a vision:
the inherent experience of centrueis of weaving condensed
in one action
 for all the meticulous preparation of yarns;
its attributes of physicality;
flexible endurance;
the luminosity of
tightly spun fiber; its intimate warmth.
I have in mind an image – a starting point, a colour, a form;
a simple sketch to follow, or
a detailed cartoon.
At this point my hand dictates the quality of the tapestry and,
by increments,
the consequent power of the woven image emerges.

That thead, that moment, that motion happening in the short distance
from hand to the weave,
inimitable and irreversible,
the only conduit for its realization.
I have adapted traditional styles and techniques to develop personal ways
 of working.
As the weaving unfolds to completion for me,
The tapestry is the recipient of a vast amount of cultural history, 
its geneology embracing the past
traditional roots of its makers;
the vibrant presence of life.
The textuality,the basic nature of tapestry, is that the warp and the weft
Interconnect and many tiny elements are brought together into a whole.
A metaphor for life forms; for life.