By Haven Ashley
Winner of Best-in-Show Award for The Art League Gallery’s November 2020 Feast! Exhibit, “Fruit Bowl” is a bubbly tablescape by fiber artist Susan Callahan. Using hand-printed textiles, the artist created a delightful spread of summer fruit, cheerful blossoms, and a tantalizing three-layer cake, stitching together a variety of fabrics to form a soft mosaic of ruby, rosebud, and lemonade yellow.
“I love working with pink. It’s joyous. It feels like a sunny afternoon, the pinks and yellows. It’s inviting,” Callahan said, remarking on her appetizing tableau. “I’m proud of this piece. I don’t say that a lot. I’m just really thrilled to have been chosen as best-in-show. I think that fiber art is sometimes misunderstood, and I’m honored to represent this media.”
Callahan brings heart to the hearth, approaching her work with a special understanding of the symbolic relationship we share with food—she is a professionally trained chef.
“As a chef, I believe that food is the center of life. Especially so around the holidays, when we want to gather and enjoy food together. This year has been so difficult. I worry about my friends and family that work in the restaurant industry.”
Callahan has been finding ways to stay hopeful and, like many of us, has turned to cooking and baking as a reprieve. “I’ve been obsessively perfecting certain recipes,” she commented, describing her recent triumphs: a classic bagel, a ripe and robust strawberry jam, and a piquant pumpkin hot sauce. Sounds like a feast to us!