Leaside artist’s transformative art


Artist Suzanne Pratt.
Artist Suzanne Pratt.

Following the Bruce McArthur tragedy on Mallory Crescent, local decorative artist Suzanne Pratt helped me to paint my infamous garage door. Then she applied inspiring lyrics from the song “Nothing More” by The Alternate Routes.

She changed the mood of passersby from discomfort or smirking curiosity to thoughtful interest.

Increasingly, local decorative artist Suzanne Pratt is being recognized for her talent. She is featured in a recent issue of House and Home magazine.

One of her specialties is verre églomisé, from the French term meaning glass gilded, a technique that dates back to ancient Egypt. Suzanne travelled to New Orleans to study the art form with renowned decorative artist Miriam Ellner.

This method created the glorious mirrored panels in the magazine (see House & Home pages 77-79). The floral design highlights and shadows were handpainted in reverse on the rear face of clear glass followed by the application of 22kt yellow gold leaf. Then feather thin and light small squares of white gold were applied with a gilder’s brush edge to edge over the entire surface. The result is a reflective surface that is authentic and warmer than an industrial age mirror.

The endlessly flexible process can enhance the features of a traditional house or personalize a new build. Suzanne has been asked to use the technique for antiqued mirrors, back splashes, shower enclosures, glass wall panels, door panels and transom windows.

She has extensive experience in both high-end residential and commercial surface design and works with well-known designers like Colette van den Thillart.

Some projects are the ultimate in glamour, like applying a shimmering pearlescent plaster to the ladies’ room at the new Chanel in Yorkville, but Suzanne is equally at home creating custom designs.

She is also not shy about pointing out to clients that a gilded or Venetian plaster wall with small children armed with markers in the house is probably not the best idea.

She can rescue a decorating idea that is a bit disappointing and has given presence to many lifeless steel front doors by creating the look of rich warm wood, using professional products that are both durable and easy to maintain.

One distraught client said her DIY attempt at a Venetian plaster finish in her dining room using a big box store kit made her home look like a derelict building. Suzanne worked her magic and the result was the Tuscan ambiance the client had envisioned.

When another client found the luxurious mahogany panelling in his home office had been painted with high gloss brown paint, Suzanne made the walls look like mahogany using glazes and artists’ brushes.

She can create a mood by applying your favourite quotation or lyric in an elegant script to a wall or furniture piece. Her work can be truly transformative.

We are One. We are 
how we treat each other when the day is done. 
—The Alternate Routes.

Column written by Karen Fraser.