A little about me.

I grew up in rural eastern Pennsylvania first on a small family run dairy farm, then a home just down the road a bit.

I met and married my husband of 46 years, George, while attending Albright College in Reading, PA. After I graduated from nursing school(RN)in Philadelphia, PA we moved to a farm in a ‘holler’ in the middle of West Virginia. Our path then took us through rural Georgia, outside Athens. From Georgia we moved to our current home outside of Knoxville, TN.

George continues to be my best friend and support as we move into a new phase of our life, retirement. We now get to spend many hours of our days together and with our furry family. He can often be found reading a book to me as I pursue my crafts. Or we may be out in the gardens around our home ‘playing in the dirt’ together.

My creative story.

I discovered my gift of noticing small things, details, as a little girl. Picking four-leaf clovers from a patch, finding tiny seashells on the beach and watching little bugs are some early memories.

This attention to detail keeps showing up in my choices of crafts and served me well in 44 years working as a registered nurse.

Hand weaving on table and floor looms, off-loom seed bead weaving, paper basket making, jewelry making with beads, metalwork and kiln enameled components all require focused attention to create a work that is unique and beautiful. I feel that attention to the little things in the process of creating a piece allows me to infuse it with positive energy that can often be felt by the recipient of the completed piece.

I have been able to share my enjoyment of my crafting through teaching at a number of outlets: White Fox Beads (in Homberg), JoAnn Fabric stores, Knoxville Arts and Fine Craft Center, JC Campbell Folk School, Burlington Branch Library, as well as in my studio.

I am a member of the Foothills Craft Guild, a juried guild dedicated to supporting and preserving the fine crafts and art of our region. I have been juried for the categories of paper and jewelry, showcasing my paper baskets and jewelry at our annual show.

I discovered the books, The Art of Quilling Paper Jewelry by Ann Martin and Quilled Mandalas by Alli Bartowski. A way to combine these two areas!

Having accumulated a whole bunch of supplies I started experimenting and seeing things all around that could be quilled. Pictures with strong outlines in childrenʼs books with lots of color caught my eye whilst volunteering at our library. I used them as ideas for quilled pictures. I just kept going from there. Mandalas, with their repetitive use of elements, are great for practicing shapes and focusing attention.

Pet portraits started with my sister’s cat who likes to drape on edges of furniture with his front legs hanging down. A picture of him became my first portrait. It was so cool being able to capture a critter in quilling that I solicited pictures from friends to quill. The responses were overwhelmingly positive when I gave the the finished portrait. And I was having a lot of fun.

I have quilled pieces and jewelry in the gallery at Davis Studio here in Knoxville.

In fact, I enjoy it so much I now have this website (designed by Janet Edkins of Jay Designs Inc as a way to share my work and classes as I continue my journey.

Susan G Bernard

Chief Cat Herder.
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