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Suzan Kostanich

New Plymouth is the home of Suzan Kostanich, a very experimental felt maker, stitcher, dye mistress and crochet artist. Suzan talks about her art life here:

For over forty years I have had an enduring interest in textile arts, engendered by my late Mother’s encouragement and practice of these.

My current practice encompasses the knowledge and skills I have developed over this time .Choosing to work in textiles has been a conscious decision based on the tactility and ability to manipulate commonly found fibres to achieve objects that transcend the ordinary.

For the Made Over – Preserving and Reinterpreting Exhibition on at ‘from out of the blue studio gallery’ until May 10th 2021, Susan created a boro work. This work uses vintage boro cloth, second hand cotton sheets, second hand cotton bed sheet that Suzan has carefully indigo tie dyed and stitched with sashiko cotton thread. Susan describes the heritage of these practices:

Nuno o sonchō suru is a work celebrating the Japanese concept of boro. Boro is derived from Boroboro meaning “something tattered and repaired”. Boro refers to the practice of reworking or repairing textiles generally of a domestic nature. Traditionally boro was the province of hard working Japanese labourers, who patched over or cut up and reworked garments. Joined with running stitch or sashiko, boro is an expression of “mottainai” conveying a sense of regret concerning waste and demonstrates both thrift and creativity can be used to regenerate and reinvent what we in the West often regard as unsalvageable.

Detail of stitching.

For more images and details of this stunning wearable art work please check out the gallery webshop listing.


Suzan has an eclectic textile practice.

I predominantly use handmade felt to achieve this and then dye, stitch, and hand-mould the felt to make more complex statements.

The physicality and often capricious nature of the process provides me with both a challenge and the satisfaction of achieving what at first may seem impossible.
“What if” is a principle that underpins my work as I constantly strive to increase the scope of my practice.

Here is Suzan’s background statement about the body of work in Dreaming of the Future – SDA Exhibition:

The Dilly Bag Series – Past, Present, Future

Traditionally a Dillybag is an Australian aboriginal bag woven from plant and or bark fibre and used to transport food items primarily used by women but also used by men to carry tools for hunting or as a holder for personal and tribal artifacts.

This trio of bags was made to symbolise different aspects of my practice, the internal void is a repository for ideas and skills learned. Knowledge baskets to both draw upon and add to, these represent the past, present and future of my practice.

The Past.
The Present.
The Future.

Although these Dilly Bags are a trio they are also available as individual units. More images and details of each of the Dilly Bags are on the gakkery webshop. If you want any extra images or information please contact the gallery.

Suzan also created another series of works for the Dreaming of the Future Exhibition.

Blue Triptych: 3 small framed works.

The Blue Triptych examines small pockets of personal internal musings on aspects of who I am, the patterns and connections which determine actions; threads from my past that reoccur and glimpses of new forming patterns for the future.

Blue Triptych #1.
Blue Triptych #2.
Blue Triptych #3.

Microcosms Triptych: 3 small framed works

Merino fibres and kozo paper felted together. Acrylic inks and cotton thread.

Microcosms is a dissection of elements in the first series Blue Triptych. Selecting elements of the first, breaking through the confines of the past, reforming those continuous threads and simplifying unnecessary elements.

Microcosms #1.
Microcosms #2.
Microcosms #3.

Novis Initiis: New Beginnings.

Novus Initiis is the final piece and represents a reformation for the future, the kernel remains the same and recognition of this allows it to be contained and nurtured. Acknowledgement of the kernel allows an expansion of new “ways of being”, new connections and intersections become possible and from this springs a new future.

Novis Initiis: New Beginnings. SOLD

The works in the two triptychs are for sale as individual items or as the set of three together. They are available with more details through our web shop. Please check it out. If you want more images or information please contact the gallery.

Artist Bio for Suzan Kostanich.

Based in Taranaki Suzan Kostanich is a textile artist with a decades-spanning practice. Self-taught her interest in expression through the medium of textiles has been a life long practice. Caught up in the day to day expectations of life it is only in the past 5 years that her practice has become the main focus in her life.

Through this medium Suzan finds the means to express her artistic voice. The tactility, creation of surface design and mindfulness of the process are the predominant forces behind her work.

She creates “canvas” on which to express her intent using wet felting as the process to produce the “canvas” then dyes, paints and stitches the surface to create the finished work. Recently the incorporation of kozo paper into the felting process has provided another dimension and allows the extension of her process into new realms of exploration.

In the past Suzan has successfully run a Pasifika inspired hand-painted textiles company, been both a winner and finalist in Pasifika Style, worked in the fashion industry as a pattern cutter and sample maker, and as an Interior Designer. Her current work can be found in both private collections and a number of Galleries in Taranaki.