Disassembled doll parts and clown figurines are the stuff of nightmares for some people. But for Suzanna Scott, they are the base of much of the art she creates.
“I’m always buying (broken dolls parts), it’s kind of creepy,” Scott said.
One of her favorite pieces right now is a large clown, made from an old bowling pin (the body), mismatched ceramic doll hands, and a baseball sized vintage clown head. Old game pieces were used as buttons and Scott painted a row of harlequin diamonds on the body. She also gave the entire piece a dark, antiqued patina.
The clown is for sale on Scott’s online Etsy store, Sushipot, along with various other assemblages Scott creates in her Manhattan home from found, vintage pieces. Scott said the name Sushipot comes from a combination of the nicknames her husband and she had when they met 13 years ago.
Etsy is an online e-commerce website that allows anyone to effectively rent space on the site to sell their items. After Scott started creating assemblages and collages, she opened Sushipot in September 2006 and has watched her clientele grow since then.
“It took three weeks to get my first sale,” she said, and about six months until she felt like she could make an income off of it. But, she said, “Once things started moving, it just took off.”
Scott’s most popular items are the collage art blocks she makes, which are only 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches big. Scott cuts out images from old books and old paper she finds in thrift stores for the images, which she glues onto wood blocks and then varnishes.
The images vary but recently she has been busy creating fall and Halloween blocks, featuring pumpkins, bats and black cats.
Scott said the blocks are particularly popular around Christmas, when, she said, they get more cutesy. “I look for any Santa I can find,” she said.
Scott also makes art plaques that she calls “prickly plaques” because of the carpet tacks she glues on as a frame. Like the art blocks, Scott finds images from old books and magazines for the plaques.
For these, though, she generally finds anatomical images which she adheres to a wooden plaque that she then gives a dark patina. For the frame, Scott said she buys carpet tacks from hardware stores, sands them down, paints them and then glues them to the plaque.
Scott lives in Manhattan with her husband, Patrick Scott, who is a graduate student at K-State, and their seven-year-old daughter Lizzie, who Scott homeschools.
Lizzie is often an inspiration for Scott and has influenced several pieces, including a clown assemblage Scott recently constructed that she painted pink per request of Lizzie. Though much to Lizzie’s chagrin, the clown was purchased by a Sushipot patron.
She is originally from Philadelphia, while her husband is from Alabama, but Scott said they met while working at a newspaper in Kentucky, where she was working as a graphic designer and he worked in advertising.
Scott attended Asbury University, located outside of Lexington, Ky., where she studied art with an emphasis in sculpture.
At that time, Scott specialized in stone carving. Her creations still sit in different corners of her Manhattan home, but she said she switched to the assemblages and collages when Lizzie was an infant, since the stone carvings required power tools to create.
Scott has a basement studio in her home and typically works on her art at night once Lizzie is in bed.
Scott, a lover of vintage, also has another Etsy shop called SushipotVintage, where she sells items that she finds in thrift stores and estate sales.
Both her pieces and the vintage items for sale are used to decorate the Scotts’ home, which means any of the pieces could be shipped off any day. “We have rotating décor. It keeps it fun,” Scott said.
Anyone interested in Scott’s work can find her Etsy page and her blog and Twitter feed linked to the online edition of this story at www.themercury.com.