DR. SUSZANNE HAWTHORNE-CLAY
Director of Creativity
Suszanne is the oldest child of parents that encouraged and supported imagination and innovation. Both parents expressed their creativeness through drawing, calligraphy, gardening, millinery, upholstery, tailoring, and photography. Having the influence of a mother that sewed and took pride in well-constructed garments Suszanne observed and began to create fashions for her dolls from her mother’s remnants. Sewing mostly by hand as a child and as a teen she learned to read patterns, make simple alterations, and construct clothing while mastering the basics of machine sewing. Her mother also introduced she and her sister to knitting, crocheting, needle point, and embroidery. As a high school student her father’s drawings and pencil sketches were recognized and his talents were acknowledged with the award of a scholarship to art school. Under her father’s tutelage Suszanne perfected the dying art of script and as a teenager was often paid to hand address invitations, as well as design certificates and awards, etc.
In comparison, at a very young age, it was evident that visual arts came natural using such mediums as pen and ink, charcoal, pencil, pastels, watercolors, clay, and all things fiber and textile arts. Suszanne explored film and photography, block printing, calligraphy and lettering, drawing and painting, papier-mâché and sculpture, macrame and weaving, punch needle embroidery and punch hook, knitting, and crocheting, and a special love for sewing (clothing construction and home décor). She believes excursions to local museums and art studios, in addition to weekend fieldtrips to arts and craft shows, and makers workshops, as well as supporting local artisans are special treat. These days she finds welcoming and peaceful fellowship with others in local knitting circles. And, she always has a project in the works!
Quoting Suszanne, “…the creative arts have become more than a hobby or diversion from the busyness of life; it’s a settling expression of the spirit.”
NOTE: Professionally, Suszanne has worked as an educator (Pre-K to Higher Education) for over 30 years and has earned advanced degrees and licensures enabling her to teach, counsel, supervise, and lead. She is ordained and currently active in various areas of ministry such as: co-leading and teaching an inactive online bible study, facilitating virtual cross-cultural and racial reconciliation groups, besides co-leading a monthly book study for women of color.