About artist Susan W. Showalter
About artist Susan W. Showalter
Award winning professional photographer, Susan W. Showalter, has traveled and worked on location in California, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Canada, China, Egypt, England, Italy, Mexico, Scotland, Switzerland and Turkey for 56 years. She settled in the historic artists' colony of Brown County, Indiana in 1972. A recipient of numerous corporate, state and national grants for her fine art photography and photojournalism, she continues to work as an artist, at seventy-three years old, and to enjoy the serenity and beauty of her private 109 acre Goat Hill Forest Preserve.
Susan Whitcomb Showalter was born in Columbus, Indiana on April 17, 1947 to a teacher, Laura Whitcomb Showalter, and attorney, Sidney Harrell Showalter, who each valued and exposed their children to a variety of cultural experiences. Ms. Showalter attended elementary school in rural Bartholomew County, IN where she met and enjoyed relationships with children from diverse backgrounds. Looking back, she is grateful for both the early exposures to culture and diversity which she feels were very positive influences on her life.
Showalter was very active in 4-H and designed and made most of her clothing by the age of fourteen. She began writing and photography careers at age seventeen and attended a High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN to train for her new job writing a daily column and taking pictures for her local newspaper, The Evening Republican. Susan graduated from Columbus High School in 1965.
Showalter attended IU to major in Journalism, Business and Education then transferred to The State University of New York 's The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City where she graduated with honors on stage at Carnegie Hall in June 1968 with an Apparel Design major. Moving west, Susan was hired as assistant designer at Lorrie Deb, Inc., a bridal and evening gown manufacturer in San Francisco. She moved to Toronto in 1969 to partner with former F. I. T. schoolmate Bonnie Bickel to create Bickel Originals. Susan designed, manufactured and marketed men's accessories though out eastern Canada. Ms. Showalter also worked as an assistant designer for Ruth Ducas, LTD. of Toronto designing garments for international entertainment celebrities.
Susan was hired by a Canadian advertising firm and G. W. Photography of Toronto as a Free-Lance Fashion Coordinator and Photographer's Assistant on location in London, Glasgow, Naples, Venice, and St. Moritz to photograph garments designed by top Canadian designers.
Returning to Indiana in 1970, Ms. Showalter worked for the US Office of Economic Opportunity as a marketing consultant to crafts cooperatives owned by low-income southern Indiana residents. She served as Crafts Specialist for the National Institute of Cooperatives and Economic Development in Oakland, CA and as a marketing specialist for The Zuni Tribal Craftsmen Cooperative of Zuni, NM. Susan was hired as Director of the BBJ Youth Development Program at a five county Indiana Community Action Program in 1971.
Ms. Showalter opened a studio and shop, The Stoney Lonesome Bazaar, in Nashville, IN in 1971 where she created and sold garments, leather goods and crafts. She married artist/metalsmith Jack Brubaker in 1972 and they moved to Van Buren Township, Brown County, IN and built and operated an organic dairy goat farm, Goat Hill Farm, while continuing working as professional artists. Susan and her husband built an international blacksmithing business, Brubaker Designs.
Showalter helped organize local craftworkers in 1973 then served as president of The Brown County Craft Guild and The Brown County Craft Guild Gallery for five years. She was a charter member of The Indiana Blacksmiths Association and was exhibition curator of Indiana Blacksmithing: Forging Ahead, at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. She was Treasurer and Librarian for The Artist- Blacksmiths' Association of North America and has served on the Crafts Advisory Panel of the Indiana Arts Commission. She worked consulting with other American artists and musicians with marketing and promotions.
Showalter worked with local residents to produce an annual earth day event, Mother Earth Day then became more active in environmental affairs in 1986 when Texas Gas Company threatened to condemn nearby properties and clear-cut a twenty-six mile long swath of forest in Brown County through Goat Hill Farm in order to run a gas transmission pipeline to Indianapolis. Ms. Showalter organized STOP (Stop The Objectional Pipeline) with neighbors and began the yearlong struggle with Texas Gas, which she and her neighbors won.
Susan revived her writing and photography career and received numerous awards for her photography. Her poems, The Other Patriots and The Day the Queen Tried to Silence the Poets were published in an international anthology of poems, Poets Against the War, which was presented to the US Congress and other national governing bodies world wide in 2003. Her writing and photography have been published locally in The Brown County Democrat and The Republic newspapers. Ms. Showalter's feature stories appeared in Discover Columbus, The Zone, She, Pen It and Our Brown County magazines and she and her works of art have been featured in various publications.
Susan, who divorced in 1993, still adores living on her private 109-acre Goat Hill Forest Preserve in rural Brown County, IN and wintering in CA. Currently she is a fine art photographer, jewelry and clothing designer and a papermaker. Her works are all sold in Handmade in Brown County Gallery during the Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour each October and online in her ETSY shop, Peace Dove Jewelry, and on her website: HandmadeinBrownCounty.com. Susan enjoys gardening, cooking, visiting with family and friends as well as listening to birds and music. Her daughter, artist/writer Laura Showalter Brubaker George, studied Egyptology at American University in Cairo and Metalsmithing at Indiana University. Laura lives in CA with her husband and two young sons.