Meet Susanna, a creative force in Lewisburg, WV. This Q&A may make you ponder the “impossible” and possibly help you take ownership of your natural gifts. Welcome to LBSPY’s newest column, A Palette of Possibilities: WV Artist on Display.
How do you describe your palette?
I have so many interests, and I move from one to another, depending on what inspires me at the time. I do costumes, wearable art, whimsical kids’ clothing, wildly ornate witch hats, collage art, magical little birdhouses with tiny little fences and window and staircases, and i make lots of music. i was originally known for the jazz/swing genre, but i really like so many kinds of music, as long as it’s well-played and/or passionate.
What’s your greatest accomplishment?
I should say it’s the self-satisfaction of doing things right artistically and musically, but I guess one of the highlights was when I was commissioned to make ornaments for the White House Christmas tree, and went to the reception held especially for the artists. Musically, good memories are of when I’ve made appearances on Mountain Stage or with other really good bands as a guest, or when I had good, tight bands myself. Also, it’s a feeling of satisfaction and well-being just getting to hang around with musicians I admire and respect. Or just when the music’s right, the interaction with others, and you have your “moment” of perfection, that’s an accomplishment every time it happens.
What advice do you have for other artists?
Make something every day. Every single day. Don’t worry so much about what other people will think or want. Please yourself artistically and the appreciation will follow.
What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?
Well, of course, the physical surroundings. This cold brutal winter has taken its toll on my productivity, for sure. Sadness or grief can also grind you to a halt, but they can also bring you to a deeply inspired place in your heart. Physically, a nice space to work where your supplies are all around you helps. Sewing machine troubles really frustrate me. Musically, a well-tuned piano certainly helps to make you want to play, so if you dont have that, it’s harder to sit down and get into the practice of what i call “inhabiting” your music. So, emotional and physical hindrances can make you realize how fragile the connection to the muse can be.
How do you find your inspiration?
Sometimes I’m deep within myself, finding my muse, but sometimes I may be inspired by someone else’s music or artistic endeavor. Inspiration makes for more inspiration. If I find myself “stuck” in a non-creative mode, I just stay up really late or look at the moon or say a little private blessing/wish to bring out the best. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt, but you just keep the faith, and if it’s who you are, it will manifest itself in one way or another. And it helps if someone appreciates what you’ve made, but it’s not always what keeps you going. I think any true artist HAS to to what they do. | Learn more about Susanna at susannakenga.com
– Christina Entenmann, LBSPY #51 (March 10-April 7, 2014)
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.