n a recent, quiet Monday afternoon, Susan Porteous, a local sculptor, letterpress printer and bookmaker, was busy working at the large shared table at The Workhouse on Scott Street, where her studio is located. A woman strolling through and enjoying her latte from Sparrow Bakery stopped upon seeing Susan's work and asked her if she could fix the old, tattered and much-loved Bible she carried with her.
Susan couldn't, but instead, she delicately took the precious book and created a leather cover and wrap to keep it protected. The woman gladly waited the hour it took Porteous to make the book cover.
"Minimal, modern and geeky." — Susan Porteoustweet this
This is Porteous's superpower: sweet, delicate and much loved items that connect you to the things you probably already deeply love. Originally from Sheffield, England, Porteous moved to Bend in 2014 with her husband, who she met during a year-abroad program at Arizona State while working toward her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Leeds in England. After returning to the U.S., she earned her Master of Fine Arts at California State University, where she focused on book-binding and paper-making.
Using traditional letterpress technology, Porteous works on two letterpress machines, combining the old with the new. This summer she acquired a second, larger letterpress that allows her to work on larger scale items. But it is in the small and sublime that you will truly understand her perspective, from tiny wearable journals to note cards and coasters that feature her love of what she calls, "minimal, modern and geeky."
As the holiday shopping season approaches, Porteous is getting excited by the prospect of the new "Stars Wars" figures she can incorporate into new designs, combining a traditional approach to design with a modern and sci-fi twist. If you're a lover of clean lines and "Game of Thrones," Porteous is the artist for you.
Studio at The Workhouse
50 SE Scott St. #6, Bend