Sue draws inspiration from visits to Cornwall, the moon and “everything in between”. Artists who have particularly influenced her are Naum Garbo, Martin Creed and Agnes Martin.
Inspiration for her shapes comes from lots of found objects from the fields surrounding her studios; skeletons, bone fragments, stones, and from the seaside, shells. Even though she has produced many objects in her moon series she doesn’t work from templates, each piece is made from scratch and evolves through the making process maintaining spontaneity. She draws directly onto a slab freestyle using a potter’s pin then cuts out the shapes and joins using score and slip. If she makes a large moon she uses coils to upsize. She always works with the piece upright rather than flat, the top piece going in last as it needs to be wetter than the body to get the bend in the clay and avoid it cracking, she uses lots of slip so the join is secure. She then goes around all the joins with a simple surform blade to refine the edges and shape. She is careful to avoid symmetry and strives to create shadow and light on the surfaces, making the pieces more interactive with their surroundings. Once the form is complete she uses a serrated kidney to add texture, once complete the whole piece is painted with black slip, which is left to semi-dry before the slip is scraped back with a flat kidney leaving behind black lines where the slip has inlaid into the textured pattern. Good judgement is required to get this process right – the slip has to be in just the right condition for this to work, too wet and all the slip smudges or is scraped right off. Various slips are used to create colour, underglaze colours as well as oxides are also added to enhance the colour and texture, manganese produces a shine when applied more thickly. The piece is then fire to bisque after which a transparent glaze is added then wiped off with a wooden kidney leaving a slight residue. Clay used for the Moon pieces is a Potclays Smooth White Stoneware to which Sue adds grog.
Her ‘Lignums’ were developed from tree shapes she saw whilst travelling in Australia. These start from a thrown bottle shape base then hand builds on with coils to add height, constructing and deconstructing as they rise until she gets the desired shape. Clay used for the Lignums is a mix of Scarva black with Porcelain inlays, the clays fuse well together.