Meet Susy Pilgrim Waters


Larger + Smallish: May 4 – July 22
(much like our audience)

Our very first Minni Gallery exhibition is live! We’ve partnered with local artist Susy Pilgrim Waters on this inaugural exhibition of large bold shapes, which – in Susy’s own words – truly presents “adventures in paint”. We think it’s pretty in keeping with how our resident Minni Artists like to view their own art making processes. 

The actual installation consists of wooden canvases ranging in size from a tiny 4 inches square to a substantial 4 feet square (hence the exhibit’s name!). The display brings together a number of multi-surfaced panels of color and texture, each layered intuitively with mixed tones and lines. “Banks” – or groups – of panels encourage exploration and evolution as pieces are mixed and matched and evolved through their dynamic environment. So many wonderful themes emerge from this installation for discussion in our upcoming classes: the role that shapes and color play in art. The part that placement plays in art. The idea that simple changes – i.e. the addition of a simple thin line to a canvas – make to our interpretation of a creation. How size impacts our impressions of a piece of art. We are excited to see our Minniest visitors’ reactions to Susy’s work! 

Susy was kind enough to answer a few questions about her own creation process for our curious audience. 

M: Have you ever shared your work with children before?

S: Yes! Most directly because I have done a children’s book, Grandma and the Great Gourd, a Bengali folk tale, and also an app for the book. I have illustrated many book jackets and also magazine pictures. I should probably also mention the 200ft+ frieze for I created for the New York Public Library children’s room 10 years ago. And finally – I have two grown children. They are my original audience!


M: Have you watched children create art/design?

S: Again, yes! I love to watch them, especially before they are too self aware or self-critical. Young children let their intuition lead them on an art adventure. I love to let them do their own instinctive thing. I make a conscious effort to not try and corral them or direct their work. 

M: Did you begin your own design career as a child? 

S: I definitely did. There was a period when I was convinced I would teach art. I was always drawing, making up elaborate scenes, layering colours and imagining the `layers` beneath, not always what was tangible to the naked eye. I LOVED drawing people (and horses! they were popular then), playing, and designing letter forms. I was also always dressing up and always wearing hats – which translated to elaborate drawings of customs and fancy outfits!

M: What inspired you? 

S: I do seem to have had a rich inner life and rather active imagination. Apparently I talked to flowers, saw a fairy, and happily played in mossy banks!  I was simply inspired my imagination. I was (and still am) transported when I am unselfconsciously creating with paper, collage, play doh, clay, fabric. I also LOVED rabbits, which even now pop into my drawings (possibly a poor substitute for a dog – ha!)

M: How do you think Minni artists will react to your work? 

S: Good question! Some might be curious and enjoy the freedom of my work. Some might want more figurative aspects and shrug! I hope we can share with them that not everything has to be perfect, and that letting yourself go to the edges of paper and yourself is good.

M: Is there anything else you want to share? 

S: I am almost always up for "an adventure". Exploring materials is STILL a great source of pleasure. I love designing and creating functional, useful things: the journey for all creativity is the most interesting part.

Our Minni students are very aware of color and shapes: we expect the work of this grown-up will catch even the littlest eye!

About Susy
Susy Pilgrim Waters is half of the dynamic PilgrimWaters, her home and apparel product design company also helmed by her husband Keith Waters. PilgrimWaters joins Susy’s award-winning illustrative skills to Keith’s pioneering graphics works and presents a modern, handcrafted aesthetic across the brand’s suite of home products, expertly fabricated in the US as well as in Nepal and India. Functionality is key to PilgrimWaters, with color, natural materials, and graphic elements mixing and matching in the creation of elegant scarves, tea towels, and trays.