About Me

Short and Sweet

Artist, photographer and upcycler living in Vermont.

Creative Director at Wild Apple.

Maker of art with ink, paint, paper, old prints and canvas.

Plein air (outdoors) painter when the weather allows.

Viewer of the world through eyes and lens.

Sew-er and upcycler with new and found textiles.

Schlabach with dogSue-Schlabach-mossSue-Schlabach-garden

The Wordier Explanation (because I like words almost as much as visuals)

“I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”
— Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

Recently I was reminded of a galvanizing moment in my life. I was talking with Ryan about it, when he remembered this Annie Dillard quote. A quote that rang true.

Back to the galvanizing moment. We were visiting my parents who were living in London for a few years. It was September of 1999. We reveled in London’s pleasures for a few days and then drove south to Lewes, near the famous cliffs of Dover, to visit the home of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It was balmy in England and the roads were lined with inky purple elderberries. The fields were the color of caramel.

Charleston, the house Vanessa and Duncan began to occupy in the early part of the 20th century, is now a restored historic site, open to visitors. Nothing prepared me for how I’d feel upon entering Charleston. Annie Dillard’s words describe the exact feeling. Until then I had put my creative life on hold with excuses. Each surface of the house was decoratively adorned with paint or textiles or collage. Even book spines were painted. And the garden was an extension of this artful exuberance. I felt a sense of urgency that now was the time to start, not the time to wait until it was convenient. That urgency hasn’t left me, though it’s been expressed in a variety of ways. For me the act of creative expression is a very elemental thing, and when making or imagining something I feel the most alive, bell ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing.

Charleston, Firle, England, SueSchlabach.com

These days I spend my time working with a diverse and colorful cast of artists. Most days I make art myself. Or create an artful garden. Other days I direct and aid in the development of art for Wild Apple where I’ve worked for 21 years. And when I can I sew something or build something. Whenever possible I weed the garden or dig in the dirt.

In between I am thinking about what makes home. I am processing the joys of renting a special house for a few years and the bittersweet emotions of selling our hilltop house last year. I dream about new gardens to build and new walls to paint, but seek to fully inhabit the place where I am now.

This space is the ripples outward of that September day at Charleston.