End of Year Campaign Artist Spotlight: Susan Pavel

Persistence has always been a quality among artists. In spite of adversity, opposition, and limited resources, artists have remained persistent in their work, creativity, and innovation. Bravery, patience, stamina, pluck – the act of persistence looks different for every individual but remains essential throughout the journey of any artist.

Persistence: What does persistence mean to an artist? What do they need to be able to persist? What level of support meets those needs? Those are the questions we’re asking Artist Trust artists throughout our fall campaign.

We spoke with Susan Pavel, a multidisciplinary artist, and a 2018 GAP recipient about her path with Artist Trust, and what persistence looks like for her.


“I have heard about and known of Artist Trust for many years. As an artist who also teaches, I am keenly interested in any way that I can preserve and promote the indigenous weave style of our region, Coast Salish Wool Weaving. I absolutely appreciate arts organizations and people committed to keeping our whole selves intact. Our whole selves are multidimensional and one component of artistic practice, meaningful activity, and/or soul-nourishing work.

When I read persistence, I interpret that in a bit of a different way because how my ‘work’ occurs for me is more akin to a ‘calling.’  When I am obedient (read as aligned with the spirit of the work), persistence occurs naturally.  To persist, I keep myself as a clean conduit for the spirit of Coast Salish Wool Weaving.  I meditate, I walk among the first people (the plant people), I listen to the teachings from both the human dimension and the spiritual realm.  Therefore, support from an organization helps the meditational practice since the ‘worry’ of finances can drop to the wayside.”


Where can you see Susan’s work next?

“November 6 – December 11, 2019, Lane Community College Gallery Exhibit.  Coast Salish Wool Weavings on exhibit, dyed with Native plants. Ongoingly at The Artist Gallery in Olympia, WA.  I have my weavings on display and for sale. December 6, 2019 4-7pm, Artist Reception at The Artist Gallery Olympia WA. Classes as well as artist demonstrations and talks at Centrum’s Northwest Heritage Residencies – January 18, February  15, March 14, and April 25.”

sa’ hLa mitSa ~ Dr. Susan Pavel first learned Coast Salish Weaving the summer of 1996.  Each summer, she would produce one ceremonial blanket and then gift it to various elders of the tribe.  By the fourth year she was selling the weavings.  By the seventh year she was invited to teach weaving classes and has taught over 2,500 students.  She has participated, and later solo exhibited seven museum exhibits.   With public and private collectors across the nation she continues to weave.  2016 marked 20 Years of Coast Salish Wool Weaving for her and, more importantly – SQ3Tsya’yay – Weaver’s Spirit Power.