Sass Tetzlaff BA MSDC
Who am I?
I am a textile artist and tutor based in East Sussex, UK and an award winning member of The Society of Designer Craftsmen; the largest and oldest multi-disciplinary Society in the UK.
As a small child I was either drawing on any surface available to me or sewing on my grandmothers hand Singer. Fast forward to now when I combine my two greatest passions to make beautiful textile art.
My work is largely figurative and uses a dense form of machine embroidery combined with preloved or overstock textiles, yarns, trims and broken bits of jewellery to create images and tell stories.
What do I make?
For my personal and exhibition pieces I often draw (sometimes literally) on my experience as a wedding dress designer/maker for over 30 years. Combining these skills with my passion for art and story telling has resulted in an award winning creative textile art practice with pieces in private collections all over the globe.
I am fascinated by the way women and the female form are portrayed in art, fashion and society and my work often reflects the role women play in both rejecting, embracing, redefining and perpetuating visual depictions and social stereotypes of themselves.
How do I do what I do?
The technique I now use was initially developed as a way of combining my two greatest passions: drawing and stitching during my Embroidered Textiles degree studies. It is often called needle painting, drawing with a needle, free motion machine embroidery or free-hand machine embroidery.
I use ordinary sewing threads and pieces of fabric as a palette to create densely stitched “portraits of people” in situations sometimes real, sometimes not. Whilst the stitches have a painterly effect the technique distorts the fabric which I view as a reminder of our connection to cloth as both protection and decoration that goes back to the dawn of mankind and continues to this day.
I love to re-use and upcycle where possible; it’s something I’ve always done, right from my first sewing escapades on my grandmother’s hand propelled singer sewing machine back in the 60’s (yes, I started VERY young!) I source my materials from my extensive stash cultivated from 30 years as a couturier, from charity shops, jumble sales, cast offs, overstock and waste from garment manufacturing.
I’m a bit of a magpie and love a shot of bling so I add broken jewellery, beads, ribbons; anything I can get my hands on, really.
What can I do for you?
Commissions are a result of conversations with you to discuss what it is you want me to interpret, the colours, scale etc. to create a “stitched portrait” that celebrates the topic. I’m happy to do landscapes, houses etc in addition to people.
Please see my gallery for inspiration.
As a qualified tutor I regularly design and deliver textile courses, classes and retreats both through my own Sewing School and for a variety of clients. Previous clients include Local Adult Education providers, City and Guilds, The Embroiderers Guild, private groups and even HBO!
I also create online courses for Udemy and UAL.(University of the Arts, London)
If you are interested in attending one of my creative classes or booking me for your venue or group then check out my students gallery for inspiration or contact me so we can talk.