Suzi Banks Baum
First community organizing?
Hoisting the receiver of the black rotary dial telephone back in to its cradle after calling her friends to tell them she was pedaling to Pottawatomie Park on her red bike, just recently shed of its training wheels. Suzi began early.
First laundry line moment?
Dozing with hot red corduroy-covered legs slung over the edge of a willow basket sitting on folded wash listening to her mom talk, having just returned from the ER where her head was stitched up because of a little bitty accidentay in the park, on that very same red bike. Story to follow.
Oh, to play a Boy who is magically transformed in to a long-tailed Rat in her first (ever)production of The Pied Piper of Hamelin at Indian Boundary Park in Chicago, right down the street from her own Bethesda Lutheran School. The red maple wooly knee-highs hidden under her rat costume imprinted her passion for costume changes.
Miles of mountain views in the margins of ruled paper in high school and so many dahlias. Suzi illustrated her first playbill for her Northern Michigan University première as a director. Only the doodling took.
Pages and pages into a pink leather-bound small book, the cover lavishly embossed with “My Dairy” latched with a key. The journal required wedging with her wrists to hold open. Suzi’s birthday gift had a thin-throated gullet to receive her first written words on its pale purple lined pages.
Being fired as a Sunday school teacher for not keeping to the curriculum. The hand-made books they filled were not up to snuff by Sunday school standards even though the kids were happy. Suzi was inspired by Sylvia Ashton Warner’s book Teacher. She had a hunch she was on to something, it just took 40 more years to get to it.
First art making?
Cutting out a picture of one hundred shoes from Life Magazine and gluing it into a gray-paged scrapbook. Lots of shoes, lots of glue. Gathering images has been her ready expression since four.
First mail exchange?
Letters home from Girl Scout Camp in Wisconsin to her mother, who held up her end of a life-long correspondence. Suzi just had to get away from home to appreciate it.
Suzi Banks Baum creates community wherever she goes.
An artist, writer, blogger, bookmaker, mail artist and mother of two, she lives in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Suzi’s wild soul is planted in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The music of her wild soul is laughter, questions, and bird song. While writing Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers, Suzi discovered her fascination with motherhood and creativity. This work led to Out of the Mouths of Babes, a live event, the blog series and writing workshops called the Powder Keg Sessions. This work also led to publishing her first book, An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice. Not satisfied to write only for and with herself, Suzi runs this website Laundry Line Divine as a host for her own writing and for over 50 other creative women. She leads Rampant Sisterhood, teaching artists and authors to build their online platforms with authentic and sustainable content. During 2014-15, Suzi will be on a book tour with An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice. In June, you can find her at Women’s Voices, Women’s Vision: Creativity, Leadership and Social Change. In August, you find her in Marquette, Michigan at Zero Degrees Gallery with three Anthology authors for a reading of the book. She will also be premiering her Slow Time Salon on Superior, a one-day immersion in art, writing and attention on the sunset side of Big Bay. She does other things, like garden, swim and make jam. You’ll have to come over for tea some day.
- If you would like to host a reading of An Anthology of Babes, a Powder Keg Session writing workshop or a Rampant Sisterhood social media workshop please contact Suzi in the form below.
- If you’d like to hear what Suzi has to say about the importance of telling our stories listen in here to nationally acclaimed Radio2Women, or with author Winslow Eliot on BlogTalkRadio or with NPR’s Susan Barnett of 51%.
- During the March 2014, Suzi will be appearing in several events for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. March 1 at Dewey Historic Hall in Sheffield, Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others. March 22 at the Whitney Center for the Arts, Rites of Passage: Writing Our Way Over the Thresholds of Women’s Lives. Friday, March 29 at the Norman Rockwell Museum with Joanne Spies, Writings on Courage. And for the final weekend of the Festival, Suzi will be appearing on stage with the cast of Motherhood Out Loud, produced by her long-time friend Jayne Atkinson.
- If you are intrigued by her FeMail art collaboration with Karen Arp-Sandel, go here. Suzi and Karen offer mail art workshops and artist talks about the Dailyness of Art. FeMail is hosting an IS-183 community event celebrating the life of Paulus Berensohn on May 17, 2014 in Stockbridge, MA.
- If you would like to join the discussion of motherhood and creativity on the Out of the Mouths of Babes blog series, please contact Suzi using the form below.
- An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice is available on Amazon and at Berkshire bookstores.
- Suzi writes a monthly column for Berkshire Family Focus and is a featured guest blogger at MotherWriterMentor, Studio Mothers, Story of Mum and the Museum of Motherhood.
- You can see some of Suzi’s visual art in the Brooklyn Art Library. Her 2014 Sketchbook Listing to the Left is on a national tour in the Mobile Sketchbook Library. Tour dates here.
- And, mostly, if you are curious about seeing and celebrating the sacred in daily life, please subscribe to this website, share these blogs with your friends, and start writing, pick up a paintbrush, doodle, listen to what you yearn for and follow that with all you’ve got.
Thank you for visiting Laundry Line Divine.