Sue West shares a visual story of her foremothers

Stories of Our Foremothers continues with this story from Sue West. Sue is a wonderful multi-talented artist who recently retired from teaching art at the Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki. She created this necklace which tells the story of five generations of women, including herself and her daughter. To tell the story, Sue made a necklace from hollowed out eggs, inscribing the names of the women on one side and their personal qualities on the other. As she reflected on these women, Sue was honest about their personal qualities–from kind to fearful.

Describing herself as a “woman of questions, of hurt and hope; creator of new stories” Sue invites us to ask our own questions and perhaps, to create our own stories. It is this very power to create new stories that inspired me to launch the Foremothers Project. As we see “the hurt and the hope” of our past we can begin to envision new ways to move forward in our lives as members of our families and the broader community.

Five generations of women in (Mary) Susan West’s family

The story of her foremothers in Sue’s own words

Sue West states, “I made this piece as a protest about the ‘begats’ in the Bible which are all about male lineage and never mention the women.”

personal qualities of Sue West’s foremothers

Sue West continues, “I was named after my great grandmother, Mary (my name is Mary Susan) and I hear she was a very kind, wonderful person. Her daughter, Marion, was my grandmother who was not so warm or nurturing to my Mom. My Mom, Mary, is still alive at 99 years! She raised 5 children and struggled at times with all the work and hassles that job included. She has a wonderful sense of humor and joy when she is interacting with family. She chuckles at everything and appreciates all who reach out to her.”

“Thanks for doing this project on foremothers.” Sue West

Participate! Do you have a Story of a Foremother to share?

I would love to hear about a foremother who has inspired you. To share your story, please message me through my Contact page: I will be posting these stories here. Thank you for your interest in Stories of Our Foremothers.