Stitched Fabric Collage

 Just as a painter works colors from their palette, I choose and arrange fabric pieces. Various methods of collage and sewing unite these separate bits into richly detailed and textured artwork.

Example of Stitch Detail


I love the technical and expressive versatility of thread. Stitches, seen and unseen, made by machine or by hand, build strength and character in my work.


My work arises from my own stories. Experiences of things seen and felt come through the process and materials.


Textiles speak to me like no other creative medium – their designs and colors, even their familiarity, evoke the feelings that I want to convey in my art.

New Work:

“The Genius of Zachary”

A mixed-media tribute to the spirit of Zachary Harrison Polansky, 1997 – 2023

multi-media artwork by Susan Polansky

Zach’s early fun-loving participant in strategy games and creative play

Zach gave me a box of Washi tape for a present awhile back. Bittersweet that I never had a use for it until now.

Memory of Zach’s 25 years of colorful life festooned with unique, glittering moments. The cords are unfinished as they are only a sampling of the memories. From attachment to base approximates his height at 6’ 2”.

A School Scrabble National Champion, Zach loved wordplay. Anagrams, puns, palindromes, curious signage, grammar, syntax and etymology – it was all fun!

 I made Zachary custom game pieces with little people to show his enjoyment of the social aspect of gameplay with his friends. 

Years ago, I altered the pages of this book as a present for Zach, giving him my visual take on some of the definitions. We had a wonderful intersection between his language of math and mine of art.

Zach’s abilities in mathematics, logic and computer programming were far beyond me, but I recalled his explanation of the elegantly simple yet profoundly complicated mobius strip from his study of topology. This never-ending pathway of dichotomy fits so well with his boundless creativity and his ability to reduce even the most complex ideas into simple truths.

My entire family are avid game players. The seven of us met at least once a week for years to play games (6 meeples and a jack – Jack Lance is Zachary’s online nom-de-plume.) Zach was most often game master– remembering rules and explaining strategies.

Zach liked to shuffle cards and try mastering new sleight of hand tricks. Some of his logic games involved playing cards.

Various cultures use food offerings to connect to the spiritual world. Here I hope to invite the Genius of Zachary to stay near, imparting joy and imaginative play to others.

Zach would say “I’m in it for the cake!”  The sweet taste of the experience was better than any other reward.

Zach liked candy, and since he had few desires for material goods, he would often receive sweets as presents.

Also, loose candy is a nod to art by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (“Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.),1991.) where candy is heaped up on the floor. This display along with other museum exhibits, provoked long discussions about many aspects of art, which we so enjoyed together.

in Thailand, Strawberry Fanta soda is the ubiquitous offering in spirit houses. Here in the States,  Zach liked to sample the brightly colored flavors offered by Mountain Dew.

Follow My Process

Butterfly and Flower

Finished Butterfly and Flower Quilt

“Butterfly and Flower” began with the central flower. I painted it on silk in a class taught by Andrea Brokenshire. This collection of posts details how I created a fitting background for it with paint, collage and stitch.

An Ordinary Day

Finished An Ordinary Day Quilt

The Making of “An Ordinary Day” chronicles progress from initial requirements to final steps. Parameters of size, techniques and deadline were set from the beginning. See how those factors influenced this 30” x 50” fabric collage as I recalled my travel in India.

Skirmish On Insecurity Hill

"Skirmish On Insecurity Hill" art quilt

Take a look at these posts to find out a little about air-brushing on fabric. The original thought was to incorporate the painting into a larger fabric collage quilt, but when that failed, it took on a life of it’s own!

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