Glad I Jumped

For those of us at Handwoven having Susan E. Horton take over as the new editor was a no-brainer, but for Susan the decision took a little more thinking over. In her Endnotes article from the May/June 2017 issue Susan discusses her leap of faith and why she’s glad she jumped! ~Christina

A friend of mine recently asked me how things were going with my new job as editor of Handwoven. My response: “I’m so glad I jumped.” I am glad. To be honest, when I was first asked if I was interested in applying for the job of editor, my initial reaction was “I don’t think so.” Then as I talked about it more with my family, I started to warm up to the idea and, to my surprise, I realized that I really wanted the job.

When I look back, my path to this position had a fairly straight trajectory. It began more than twenty years ago when I was a student at the Guilford Art Center in Connecticut where I learned to weave with the assistance of Linda Edwards and Lucienne Coifman. I’m pretty sure the cabinet in the classroom held every Handwoven dating back to its inception. The students would page through the magazines, find a project that struck their fancy, and either weave the same project or use the project as the basis for planning their own project.

After I won the Handwoven Weaving for the Home award in 2003, Madelyn van der Hoogt, the editor at the time, asked me to submit a project article based on the pillow that won the award. That started the next segment of my path, which was contributing project articles and writing the occasional blog for the website. A few years later, with help and encouragement from Sarah H. Jackson, I became a technical editor. That seemed to fit my personality, which led to my becoming the technical editing wrangler, and finally here I am, the editor.


Senior Discount Day by Susan E. Horton. Photo by Jenny Grinsell

So why do I describe it as jumping? Perhaps because I was happily living in California, working from home as a freelance technical editor, going to guild meetings, having lunch with friends, and selling my scarves at a local gallery and in craft sales. It was a very satisfying life. I wouldn’t have said I was looking for anything more. The problem was that a little voice in my head was saying something else, and I blame that voice on my father. He had a theory that if you do the same thing year in and year out, after a while your memories of life blend together and your life seems short. He believed that the first time you do something new, you remember it the most clearly, and it is those new experiences that make your life feel longer. I decided to embrace his theory and take this job for the new experiences and challenges it offers.

Of course, I was scared when I accepted. Honestly, thinking about what I didn’t know how to do kept me awake some nights. Look who came before me: some of the fi nest weavers and editors I can think of, including Anita Osterhaug, Madelyn van der Hoogt, Jean Scorgie, Jane Patrick, and the founder of Interweave, Linda Ligon. They have competently and creatively guided the magazine through almost forty years of changing styles in the weaving and fiber world. It feels presumptuous to think I can follow in their footsteps. But I love a challenge, and I sort of like to be scared, so I closed my eyes and jumped, and here I am. I hope you join me in the journey.

Weave well,

Featured Image: “Origami” Napkins with Silk Overshot by Susan E. Horton from the May/June 2013 issue of Handwoven.

To see where Susan is taking Handwoven as the new editor, make sure to check out the May/June 2017 issue and beyond!


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