POCKET ALCHEMY [ˈpä-kət ˈal-kə-mē]

craft | costume | choreograph | (c)repeat

susankendal_headshot2016Pocket Alchemy is the Ontario, Canada based company of contemporary artist Susan Kendal. It serves as an umbrella for her various and sundry contemporary dance, craft and textile adventures.


"Cumulonimbus and the Fable Keepers" choreography & costumes by Susan Kendal for Simcoe Contemporary Dancers, 2015
“Cumulonimbus and the Fable Keepers” choreography & costumes by Susan Kendal for Simcoe Contemporary Dancers, 2015

I created Pocket Alchemy in 2002 as a vehicle for my various creative projects. I do many things to fulfil my living and curiosity – from dance to stitching. The common thread (ha!) is that it’s all creative, that’s how I like it!

I choreograph and teach contemporary dance. I design and make costumes for contemporary dance and for theatre. I make felt matryoshka dolls. I sew quilts and burping cloths for babies. I knit things both flat and 3-dimensional. Lately I’ve been embroidering like a fiend. I write about dance and edit dance writing. I am drawn to texture and nuance and am simply inspired to create. I appreciate the care and love inherent in hand-made work.

The Amelia Mobile (piece details), 2014
The Amelia Mobile (piece details), 2014

As for the company name of Pocket Alchemy: creating, performing and witnessing art is alchemical to me: a bit of back-alley, sleight-of-hand magic that even when my own retains a dust of surprise, an element of the fantastic. So Pocket Alchemy it is.

I make textile art works both tiny and large scale. My work has been included in the book Strange Materials: Storytelling Through Textiles by Leanne Prain (2014), commissioned by the Dance: Made in Canada Festival (2017), and installed as a forest installation in the town of Deep River, Ontario (2021).

In 2014 I co-founded Spool Lounge, a sewing studio and shop in downtown Barrie, Ontario. I now teach textile art and sewing classes to people one-on-one and am currently offering textile art classes for women in transitional housing in Barrie, called Under Our Skin.

Littlest Felt Matryoshkas, 2015
Littlest Felt Matryoshkas, 2015

There are two little boys who make me mom, a creative-inventive-improvisational journey at every turn! I attended Waldorf school as a child, which inspired early knitting adventures, a wide imagination and a firm appreciation of wonder. Eventually I found my way to The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program in the late 1990s where I studied contemporary dance.

I worked in various capacities at The Dance Current magazine for  over 10 years as a news editor and writer, in circulation and advertising, and eventually as managing editor. I still work as an independent arts and small business virtual assistant.

I am surrounded both personally and professionally by a wealth of creative, excellent folk who help keep me grounded, silly, inspired, edited and generally filled with goodness.

Pocket Alchemy craft fair set up