Opening this weekend on Camano Island


I’ve been working primarily on ceramic tiles for the last half year. A selection of 8 of my newest tiles will be on exhibition at Matzke Fine Art on Camano Island. The annual small works show, Honey I Shrunk the Art, opens Saturday,  November 16th.


This tile is Redbird and Moon. It is 4″x4″. The design was carved into a flexible rubber block and then hand pressed into a clay slab. I’ve been working on making multiples of my designs for the first time. However, each tile is carefully hand pressed and cured, fired and glazed and fired again.

There are birds all over my studio.

handmade ceramic tiles with hummingbird motif

Here are 8 of the many handmade ceramic tiles I have been working on all summer for a show in Seattle in October. Last night, I had a dream there were live birds in the house. No wonder. There is bird art in every room right now, as I get ready for two exhibitions.

Ceramic Tiles Waiting to Dry

Handmade Ceramic Tiles - drying the clay before firingI am in production mode with handmade ceramic tiles. The tiles are drying very slowly, to avoid warping. I carved my design into a block and pressed the clay into the design. Many of the tiles are additionally hand worked. I am planning to glaze them with some variety. This is my first real attempt at creating a multiple of the same design.

The tiles are for the Handmade Tile Show October 5th & 6th at the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington in Seattle.


4"x4" handmade ceramic tile with hummingbird motif

The Interconnection of Puget and Skagit

Oil painting by Susan Cohen Thompson in the live auction at The Museum of Northwest Art, June 15, 2013, LaConner, WA.The Interconnection of Puget and Skagit, oil on canvas, 18″x24″, will be in the live auction at the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, Washington, June 15th, 2013.

This is the first painting in my Luminous Nature series. It began as a painting of a line of trees with sky between. If you look at the painting sideways, you can see it resembles some of my earlier paintings from my Puget Tree Series (link) of watercolor paintings where the trees are lined up with equal spacing between each tree, as in the painting Puget in the Trees (link).

At some point, I turned the painting sideways (horizontal to vertical) and began visualizing the tree forms as farmland with bodies of water in between them. My painting process can be somewhat complex. I see the connections between things. While I am painting, objects in the paintings shift form from one thing into another. It is my interpretation of how I see the world.

Shapeshifting objects in my paintings can be seen throughout my body of work over many years. Leaves and tree limbs become birds, humans merge into tree forms or the other way around.

The vessel shape at the base of this painting, in the middle of a red field, suggests it is filled with water, and perhaps sky in the midst of a field of tulips. I see the forests, water and farmlands of the Puget Sound and Skagit Valley as completely interconnected. One does not exist without the other.


You can see a preview of the auction art catalog at the Museum’s website.

Studio Tour Brochure Cover

Camano Island Studio Tour 2013 Brochure Cover



There is a lovely article about me in our local newspaper this week.


Stanwood Camano News Camano Scene

see article: An Interdependence of Nature and Life


We look forward to our May open studio, greeting friends and visitors to our island.

Camano Island Studio Tour

Stacks of brochures for the Camano Island Studio Tour are now being distributed. The brochure features my painting “Guardians of the Island” on the cover.

Art studios all over Camano Island will be open to the public for two weekends in May.

MAY 10th, 11th, 12th and 18th, 19th. 10 am – 5 pm

There are over 30 studios and the work of more than 60 artists featured on the tour. This is my 10th year participating in this fabulous annual event.

You can download a copy of the tour brochure and get information on the event.

For those of you who live in the Seattle area, we hope you will take this opportunity to visit the island and my studio.



April Showing near Tulip Fields

Pleasant Ridge Gallery

A selection of my ceramic pieces will be for sale at the Pleasant Ridge Gallery at the Rexville Grange, Mount Vernon, WA. The show opens April 5th and runs through April 21, 2013.

Featured is my Moonset Bowl. It is photographed here sitting on a mirror, revealing the carving on the outside of the bowl. It is one of a few porcelain bowls I have made this year and it will be on my table at the gallery.

Click here for exhibition details.


Matzke Fine Art

A selection of my ink drawings are at Matzke Fine Art Gallery through April 14th. On Camano Island, opened weekends.

Luminousity in Porcelain

Porcelain Bowl by Susan Cohen ThompsonHappy New Year and welcome to my Thompson Art Studio blog and website.


In all the years I have worked with clay, this is my first attempt to work in Porcelain. There is a interesting mythical quality working with this clay that is very different than the other clay bodies I have worked. The clay is very fragile and takes great care. It is easily broken, easily warped. Very challenging. It has a history that is quite different than the more earthly clay bodies I have experienced. I am aware of this sense of history as I work it.

This is my second porcelain bowl. The first one is in shards. It broke apart in my hands after I meticulously carved a design into its surface. It became a wonderful surface for glaze testing. Since I am working on luminosity and surface reflection right now, the porcelain is offering me a perfect material to explore.

“Porcelain Moon Vessel” is 7″ diameter x 2″ tall.


More of my work can be seen by clicking on the gallery pages to the left. You can subscribe to my blog by entering your address on the form on the upper left of this page. Thank you for your interest in my work. Enjoy my site.

Award for Tulip Birds Tile

Status Award fro Tulip Birds Ceramic TileI won a prize for my Tulip Birds tile last month in the Botanical Tile Juried Exhibition, part of “A Handmade Tile Show” sponsored by Artisan Tile Northwest and UW Botanical Gardens which was held at The UW Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle. The Status Ceramics Award was for color, detail and originality.

I’ve been so busy in the studio since then, I almost forgot to post this. This is the first time I’ve entered this show. Artisan Tile Northwest is an association of professional handmade tile makers. If you are interested in handmade ceramic tiles and live in the Seattle area, this is a wonderful show to watch for.

The tile is hand carved, 5.5″x11″x1″, $ 425. It was fired in an electric kiln at cone 6 twice to bring out the colors.


More of my tiles and other ceramic pieces are on my Ceramics pages on this site.

Opening a package with my art inside.

Raku Bird Rattle, hand carved by Susan Cohen Thompson.Selling art on-line is an interesting challenge and can be a delight to connect with a buyer who would otherwise never have the opportunity to see your work or bring it into their home and life. I recently sold the ceramic piece pictured here (Raku Bird Rattle) to a woman in Virginia who found me on-line. I love the personal experience of selling directly from my Northwest studio and wanted the package to convey the feeling of warmth and attention I give to people visiting me in person.

Following is a copy of the e-mail to me from the buyer……

“Your beautiful handwriting on the box arriving at my office signaled much to look forward to.  Last night when I got home, I carefully opened the box, lifted out the packing to reach your note and the evocative cards of your paintings – thank you greatly for that extra generosity;  it will be such fun sharing your artwork with a few cherished friends via those cards!  Then I lifted out the lovely box and unwrapped the rattle –which is even more beautiful in person.  Its substantial heft surprised me and is so anchoring and comforting to hold and gently move to hear the just-so sounds.  Then I smiled to see the wire cradle you’d created for the rattle to nest in.

When I felt your rattle in my hands I instantly understood what my (now grown) stepson, Daniel, taught us when he was a little boy.  He’d sleep with every new baseball glove or other special treasure, so happy to have them in his life that he did not want to give them up for even a few hours.  I decided not to risk the rattle rolling off the bed and breaking, but smiled to feel Daniel’s “wisdom of delight”.  Who knows what stories such objects could tell, what flavors they’d give our dreams?

Thank you again and always.”