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November 23, 2014 / susanmccaslin

Make. Art. Work.


Download the PDF

Yesterday, I attended a lecture by Andrew Simonet, put on by Make. Art. Work. Career Strategies for Visual Artists workshops. Here is a link to download Andrew’s book, which he gives away for free as a PDF or you could buy it for $18.

This is a book for all artists in all disciplines –– Making Your LIfe as an Artist. I encourage you to read it and pass it on.

From Andrew….

Thank you for being an artist. Thank you for making your work.

Thank you for choosing a life which can be hard, and hard to explain.

And for those artists who are also parents, here is a great resource.

Help applying for grants! Secrets of the Grant

October 26, 2014 / susanmccaslin

City-Wide Open Studios – 2014 Installation “Fears and Familiarity”

"Fear & Familiarity" at 2014 City-Wide Open Studios

“Fears and Familiarity”
October 10-12, 2014 • Alternative Weekend at City-Wide Open Studios Goffe St. Armory, New Haven CT

Materials used in this installation:
Paper Mache Rocks and Boulders • Top Soil • Fallen Leaves • Various Objects • Video • Coat on Dress Form • Audio • Fabric • Photographs

This installation addresses the effect of familiarity on our fears. The room has been divided in two, one side representing the inside and the other representing the outside. Hanging landscape photographs is the action of bringing the outside in­—taming it for our own comfort.

Fear is strongest when something or someone is unfamiliar to us. But once familiarity is established, fear dissipates. The fear of place, person, or animal can be replaced with intimacy. When we are new to an environment, we stand in or outside, alone, until something like a conversation or an observance moves us to feeling comfort and power.

December 11, 2013 / susanmccaslin

Now & Then: An Exhibition of Artist Fellowship Recipients

Detail of exhibition

What an honor to have received an artist fellowship grant in 2012 and again, an honor to have been included in an exhibit of six other recipients in the Gallery at Constitution Plaza in Hartford CT. My work is among great company in the works of Cara DeAngelis, Caleb Portfolio, Linda Lindroth, Chris Osborne, and Carol Padberg. And is was a treat to hear the poetry of Joan Seliger Sidney.

My “leaves” are in the foreground of the photo and Chris Osborne’s paintings are in the background. I hope any of you who are in the Hartford area can stop by to see this show!

Gallery at One Constitution Plaze, One Constitution Place, 2nd Floor, Hartford •  •  Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm • Through March 7, 2014

Logo for Connecticut, Still Revolutionary

June 5, 2013 / susanmccaslin

Howard el-Yasin Sculpture

Howard-elYasin Wall SculptureHoward el Yasin Sculptural wall pieceHoward el-Yasin’s work is some of my favorite. This piece is called “Folded Lines” and it measures 8″ x 11″ x 5″ and hangs on the wall.

The delicate accordion panels are made of paper that he stitched together and there is corrugated cardboard, wood, dowels and more. It has a sense of machine that I really enjoy and an overall muted tone with punches of bright color here and there. Every time I look at it I see something else. Right now I am seeing the verticals and the horizontals that create a conversation. Here’s Howard being interviewed on Gorky’s Grandaughter.

May 9, 2013 / susanmccaslin



No one knows his real name. No one knows where he came from.
No one knows why he kept walking and walking and walking.


Drawing inspired by a photo of the Old Leather Man as he crossed Shrub Oak Plains, New York, about 1885. ©Susan McCaslin

Fact: The Old Leather Man made his clothes from hides and old boot tops which he sewed together with leather straps. He had knowledge of tanning hides. In 1870, one witness who had found one of his caves, said he saw cow hide in a water bath being prepared for tanning.

Fact: Between 1883 and 1889, the Old Leather Man walked the same 365-mile route every 34 days for over six years. This was well documented by many who recorded the time and dates of his appearances. He walked through hundreds of towns and villages in New York and Connecticut. He walked through New Haven and Westville.

Fact: The Old Leather Man slept in many caves and natural shelters throughout the region. Artifacts such as hand wrought pipes, small tools, leatherworks, etc. were found in some of these caves and shelters.

Fact: The Old Leather Man died in 1889. His body was found in a cave in Ossining NY. He died from blood poisoning, a direct effect of cancer of the lip.

Photograph of the Old Leather Man taken on June 9, 1885 by James F. Rodgers at the Bradley Chidsey House, Branford, CT

Photograph of the Old Leather Man taken on June 9, 1885 by James F. Rodgers at the Bradley Chidsey House, Branford, CT

Cave and Shelters

The Old Leather Man spent his nights in the woods, in cave-like shelters created by ancient rock formations. He added branches and fallen timber to some for extra warmth and protection. In 1870, one of his shelters was found and two witnesses reported that there was a small garden outside the shelter and inside were two hand-hewn wooden troughs, one filled with water and cow hide and another used for drying and storing food. The Leather Man was not really “homeless.” Current supposition is that he was a skilled woodsman, possibly part Native American, for he was able to survive with few resources.


A Leather Man Shelter in New Canaan, CT — Drawn from a photo dated early 1900s

Shelter drawing inspired by photographs of Old Leather Man Shelters. ©Susan McCaslin

Shelter drawing inspired by photographs of Old Leather Man Shelters. ©Susan McCaslin

Did he revel in the beauty of nature? Did he fear its violence?

Drawing after a photograph of a Leather Man shelter in North Greenwich CT. ©Susan McCaslin

Drawing after a photograph of a Leather Man shelter in North Greenwich CT. ©Susan McCaslin


Did he avoid people or did he feel kinship with some? Did he have any friends? Did he have pets?


Painting of an Owl and the Leather Man in relationship. 18″ square, acrylic on canvas. ©Susan McCaslin

©Susan McCaslin

©Susan McCaslin

I think he would have loved owls and I think owls would remember him and greet him on his return.

©Susan McCaslin

©Susan McCaslin


Leatherman Drawing 4-11-09

1000_10 (1)


1000_12 (1)

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You can learn all there is to know about the Old Leather Man in this book.

Available at Wesleyan University Press:

Available at Wesleyan University Press:


March 14, 2013 / susanmccaslin

Alone to Be Together

Alone to be Together Vol 1 prt_1354900631I feel very fortunate to have the chance to collaborate with my daughter Liza Corsillo. She is an amazing artist who works very hard at her craft. In 2012, she published two volumes of her zine called “Alone to Be Together” (ATBT). I had work in both issues and in the second, my art was in a spread with my mother‘s poem.

Elizabeth Corsillo
“This is not a joke.”
Watercolor on Paper

You can see more of Liza’s work at these two links. Art ( or Illustration (

March 13, 2013 / susanmccaslin

McClain’s Printmaking Supplies

"WA" which roughly translates to "harmony; unity; balance."

“WA” which roughly translates to “harmony; unity; balance.”

It has been quite sometime since I last did a woodcut for myself. But last year my sons asked me to do one for a pocket square they were producing as a fundraiser for the recovery effort after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. It was a simple design and I enjoyed it so much, I thought I might try again with one of my own designs. Well time has passed and I still have not started one but I did order some special wood from McClains in Oregon. (Here is a link to their catalog.)

Don Axleroad"Lost Souls Crossing River Styx" woodcut, 42" x 30"

Don Axleroad
“Lost Souls Crossing River Styx” woodcut, 42″ x 30″

I learned of McClains when I went to a Walk & Talk with the artist David Axleroad. His prints are large and rich with many layers of color. He uses the reduction process for his woodcuts. He had a block with him and it was one that he bought at McClains. It was light and very smooth and in his words, very easy to cut.

The next day I found the site and ordered the catalog. Each time it arrives I spend time reading it carefully and with great want. Eventually I did order wood and some new tools which sit in my studio near the window, waiting for me to finally get cutting.

I hope to start a print next week and I will post my progress as I work on it.