Inside the Studio with Sue Huggins Leopard: Artists’ Books

I have worked full time as a printmaker and book artist for the past four decades. In recent years I have concentrated on making artists’ books although I continue to make prints with an eye to experimenting with monotypes and digital processes. LEOPARD STUDIO EDITIONS was established in 2002 and operates from a restored carriage house adjacent to my home and garden in Rochester, NY.

CIMG5035wwalt image

The world of books and stories, drawing, manipulating materials, sequenced imagery, the narrative, the allure of handmade papers, color’s emotional impact, the visceral world – all hold great interest for me and I feel a sense of adventure exploring these realms visually. Waiting to see what unfolds in the process; what lies beyond the bend or in hidden depths.

The Pink Transit crop

An interest in 19th century literature as well as contemporary poetry and psychology informs the work that I do. My husband, George and I have made a life involving restoration of historic properties here in Rochester and I think that the processes involved in this pursuit find parallels in my bookmaking. The making of structure, based in story, unbuilding and rebuilding, a love of materials, craftsmanship, design; a debt to the past with an eye to the future.


Girl Struggles Sue huggins Leopard

I often work with contemporary poets as well as printing my own writings in unique book formats. I print letterpress on a Vandercook #3 press. Etchings, monotypes and relief work are done on an Ettan etching press. All design, artwork and binding is done by me in the studio. I  explore the use of eccentric materials such as plexi glass, wax, plant materials and felt in my bindings. A good amount of time is spent at The Printing and Book Arts Center in Rochester using their extensive collection of antique wood type. I have recently completed THIS PAST WINTER, pictured below, using antique wood type printed in white and hand waxed.

This Past Winter

My current project is a trio of books inspired by the mystical poems of Rainer Maria Rilke which seem to be following a visceral trail from darkness to light.


View Sue’s artwork online at Stop by Main Street Arts to see Sue’s work in our current exhibition, Ink and Paper. The exhibition is up through Friday, March 25. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter Emily Glass.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Emily Glass

I spent my childhood outside in rural Vermont, taking care of animals and watching wildlife grow. As a kid I photographed my surrounding world extensively, always documenting, always looking. I loved art classes in high school and first worked with oil paint at the State University of New York Potsdam in 2004.  I found the challenge of oil exciting and completely engrossing.

24 by 42.5 inches, Oil on Canvas, 2015

I Discard (in progress during the residency), 24 by 42.5 inches, Oil on Canvas, 2015

I think of my work as a mix of abstraction and realism.  With it, I seek to communicate subtle narrative and commentary on our current culture. I am beginning a shift into using more plant-based imagery and questioning what it means to have a particular plant on a dinner table or in a yard.  The privileges and beliefs that come with iceberg lettuce versus arugula (or dandelion leaves versus cabbage) reveal differences in class systems and political associations.

My residency studio at the Vermont Studio Center

My studio at the Vermont Studio Center

In the Flora and Fauna exhibition, four paintings were started at a residency at Vermont Studio Center (VSC) in June 2015.

Here is an excerpt from my time there:

While parts of the country were fighting drought, the Vermont sky opened up with rain.  I would keep the windows open, breath in the wet air and paint for hours.  When the rain broke (about every two days or so), I was exhausted from painting and needed to think before beginning again. During those breaks in the rain I spent my time walking, writing and reading outside, documenting what caught my eye and turning over thoughts. Everything was so green, so rich.

Studio Workbench

Studio Workbench

It was summer but the rainy days were cold. I wore a fleece hat and kept an extra pair of dry socks in my studio for the next rainfall painting session.

I have only mentioned my working habits at the residency, which was one half of the experience.  The other half were the 45 or so wonderful visual artists and writers that were also residing at VSC and whom I shared my meals with.  The experience is one I recommend to anyone looking for a nourishing and intensive space to develop work.

My Agent Says the Neighbors are Nice, Oil Paint on Canvas, 43 by 180 inches, 2014

My Agent Says the Neighbors are Nice, Oil Paint on Canvas, 43 by 180 inches, 2014

During the year I teach painting and drawing at Rochester Institute of Technology and spend as much time as possible in my home studio, developing oily canvases and putting together plans for future works.

View Emily’s artwork online at Stop by Main Street Arts to see Emily’s work in our current exhibition, Flora and Fauna. The exhibition is up through Friday, February 12. Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by encaustic painter Kristen T. Woodward.