Fiber is alive…it’s alive even after it’s been sheared from or made by any animal. I am fascinated by it, and I’ve been playing with fiber since my mother taught me to knit at the age of 12. Until recently, as a closet artist, I’ve played with knitting, weaving, spinning, and felting.
Today I find myself enthralled with the medium of “wet felting.” First I scour “fiber fairs” in search of roving and other delights to use to create my visions. When I return home, I create a “palate” on which to “paint.” Then I create images I’ve embraced through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and otherwise experiencing in the world around me. It’s my way of experiencing the wholeness and fullness of my life on this planet.
When we are born we are free…joyous in spirit…filled with wonder and eagerness. With no preconceived notions of thoughts about how we should be or what we should or should not do, we explore everything around us, seeing, looking, watching, tasting, smelling. Then something happens. In one way or another we are told “No.” We are told, “Don’t do that. Stop that. That’s not a good idea….” And we pull back. We become more reserved. We are taught to “think” before we step out. We take less risks. We explore less. We get comfortable in our daily routines.
What if it could be different? What would it take? How would it be if we just said “Yes,” for 10 seconds, and then ten seconds later chose again…the same or something different?
For many years I worked tirelessly to “change the world” or “make the world a better place.” You know…helping people get along with themselves and each other in families or at work.
Today I find I am ”coming home”…to myself…here…now…as I was as a child. I’ve given myself permission not to “fix” me or others. In choosing to live “ten seconds at a time,” I find myself more curious about everything around me. I am fascinated by the animals inhabiting this Earth, including people and all their creative capacities, I relish the exploration of what animals and the rest of the natural environment (the trees, flowers, birds and bees…) contribute to us and how our physical surroundings, including the spaces we live in, nurture our lives, imagination, growth, and expression.
My “home” is the Earth. It is the essence of what is creative in life. In my fiber work I go to the source of how the Earth continuously fills me with wonder, joy, and possibility…especially the animals and the fiber they provide. The actual process of working with fiber is my way of going home and embracing my journey from beginning to end.
Raised in the Midwest and widely traveled, today Suzy Vance lives and creates in the Indiana Dunes. She is a fiber artist who “paints” using animal and other fibers, creating works honoring our environment: Earth, the heavens, and nature. She is a retired lawyer and current fiber artist, life coach and “No Regrets” facilitator.
Mostly self-taught, Suzy began playing with fiber when her mother taught her to knit at the age of 12. One thing has led to another…knitting…weaving…spinning…in 2007 felting…and, most recently, combining felting with paper-making. She offers any and all of us opportunities to grow and express ourselves in her “No Regrets Experiences” workshops on subjects as varied as writing Haiku, forest bathing, and baking bread, among others.
Suzy says, “My home is the Earth. It’s the rock on which we all create. The actual process of working with fiber is my way of embracing my journey from beginning to end. Through my creations I hope to imbue gratitude in each of us for all that we are and all that contributes to us…each day…every moment…and to inspire us to look beyond the picture…beyond what we see…into the possibilities we haven’t yet acknowledged or even considered…”
Suzy also serves as President for The Depot Museum and Art Gallery in Beverly Shores, Indiana. She is sharing her fiber paintings with the Valparaiso community through the Valparaiso Public Library.