Susan Canfield

Susan Canfield was born in London and now lives in Suffolk. Her interest in textiles was initiated in secondary school by an excellent needlework teacher and the Needlework Development Scheme, Glasgow. She trained as a primary school teacher in Nottinghamshire and taught for seventeen years, developing textile work in the classroom during that time. After giving up a deputy headship to pursue her interest in creative embroidery, Susan enrolled for the City & Guilds Creative Studies course at Cambridge, completing parts I and II in 1992 and 1994 respectively. A year later she became a founder member of EAST, of which she is currently treasurer. She exhibits with EAST and works to commission. Her textile artwork has now found its way into homes from Braintree in Essex, to Preston, Lancashire and the Isle of Mull. She had a cushion selected by the Embroiderers’ Guild for auction at Phillips, New Bond Street in December 2000.

Although Susan’s work in the last fifteen years has taken a wide variety of forms, more recently the majority of it has been three-dimensional. Some of her pieces have been elaborate constructions, which have taken their inspiration from a wide variety of sources, including Maori ketes (bags woven from the New Zealand flax plant), the Sutton Hoo grave goods, and silver birch trees. In each new piece of work, she endeavours to explore further possibilities for fabric construction and to extend the medium in new and unexpected ways. A principal technique employed has been “free” machine embroidery, which is used to create a variety of textures, further worked with hand stitching.


For the 2012/13 exhibition, “Making a Point”, I wish to highlight some of the British artists, designers and writers who were prominent in the nineteen-thirties. .” For more information about the exhibit, ...the diamonds of the dust heap, click HERE.


The research for my work in Between the Lines (2014/15) led me to study The Waste Land by T.S.Eliot. For more information click HERE.

In the Autumn of 2014, as I began to work on ideas for Following a Thread, there was an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery focusing on the life of Virginia Woolf which showed a photograph of Virginia Woolf with T.S.Eliot. For me this linked my last two exhibits therefore, with Virginia Woolf in mind, I began Chasing Imaginary Footsteps. click HERE.

Power of Stitch


Man harnessed earth’s natural power to launch the Industrial Revolution.

This eventually led to the mechanised loom, driven by a steam engine, and the production of different fibres for the warp and the weft.

It transformed a cottage industry into a highly automated process, thereby producing finer cloth.

A wider variety of threads were increasingly available for the stitching of garments and nowadays make creative textiles particularly exciting.


I have followed these steps to begin the research for my work in this exhibition. These images (left) show some of my first sketchbook pages.


My mini-art for Following a Thread

A detail from Death by Water,

Part IV of The Waste Land


Detail from a cushion which was part of EAST at the Warner Textile Archive exhibition.


The images above are from

"...the diamonds of the dust heap".


The second page from the exhibit To Abi (2010) based on the Shakespeare text

Seven Ages of Man.


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