Susie Leiper: Library

April 2020

Susie Leiper: Library

In the long Library, with the coloured light filtering through its great end window, and its dim recesses among the laden shelves … thought, … the essence of man’s long tussle with his destiny, was captured and preserved …

Nan Shepherd, The Quarry Wood, 1928

A library is a collection: of thoughts, of interlocking spaces and laden shelves, books, documents, letters. Wood rubs shoulders with leather, vellum, paper, thread.

Susie’s recent work forms a library of sorts: large oil paintings reference shelves, books, pages and words; small wooden tablets hint at book covers and page design; upcycled vellum documents take on a new life as abstract paintings; and one-off artist books recall the precious manuscript books of the middle ages.

Susie’s practice is also something of a library. The computer put paid to her editorial career, encouraging her hands to take over as a calligrapher. Trained formally as a scribe on Donald Jackson’s vast Saint John’s Bible project, Susie has gone on to combine lettering and painting as well as pursuing the two disciplines separately. She is as happy painting large canvases and walls as making smaller works and artist books, while carrying out regular commissioned calligraphic work. Susie lives and works in Edinburgh.