Featured Contributor

Suzanne Joy Teune

About Suzanne

Suzanne Teune paints portraits with plant dyes and inks that she creates herself by foraging plants from the landscapes around her. She spends time with the Earth and loves her. Suzanne experiences the Earth as her mother. She has a practice of asking for permission first from the Earth before she takes anything, and listening. She invites the Earth into her studio. She paints portraits because she feels energy moving through her body as she does. She paints on fabric and watercolor paper and often incorporates embroidery and hand stitching into her work. For Suzanne, what’s most important as an artist is to paint from her heart and thereby be a channel for the Spirit and as a result, a healing presence of love in this world. 

It has saved my life to know this

“I got obsessed with two things this past summer; hand made paper making and Mary Oliver. I have loved Mary Oliver for a long time, but this year in my school, Southwestern College, I took a class called “Consciousness”, where we chose someone who has passed on who inspires us and we studied them throughout the quarter. In the class, we called them “Light Figures”. Truthfully, this is the reason I came to this school. This was what caught my attention 4 years ago now when I first discovered this school on the internet. 

They had posted several videos on the school’s website of people embodying their Light Figure and telling their Light Figure’s story from first person. I was so moved I stayed up til 2 in the morning watching them. Light Figures are “change agents”, healers in the world, “Bird Tribes” if you will. They are people who lived their lives in such a way as to be a healing presence in the world.

I chose Mary Oliver. 

I studied her life and poetry throughout the quarter and began writing out her poetry on beautiful hand made paper that I found at the art store with black walnut ink that I made myself from Appalachia. When I ran out of hand made paper, I started making my own. 

Here is my little film of the process. I thought about putting the many Mary Oliver poems that I wrote up on my website and offering them to people for free with the request that they make a donation to my friends at the Nihi K’é Baa’ Mutual Aid (Navajo people supporting the Navajo Nation), but my request to do this was kindly denied by Mary Oliver’s estate caretakers. Which is for the best, I think because it helped me to switch gears back towards making my own work.”