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Pratt Mourns the Loss of Susan Balshor

Pratt News Story

Pratt Mourns the Loss of Susan Balshor

General News

Susan Balshor (1949-2013)Susan Balshor

 

We are saddened to report that Susan Balshor,  passed away suddenly from complications of the influenza virus on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.

 

Susan Balshor held M.A. degrees in Sculpture and Philosophy. Her art work was narrative mixed media, incorporating glass, metal, clay, wood, paint and paper.

 

For years, Susan was a fixture at Pratt teaching mold making and kiln formed sculpture, as well as an active member of the Education Committee. She was also on staff and an instructor at Pilchuck Glass School as well as a scholarship recipient at Pilchuck and Penland School of Crafts. She was included in Corning’s New Glass Review in 2009 and Bullseye Emerge in 2008. In addition to her love of art, Susan had a deep love of music and was an avid dancer. She co-founded the Valse Café Orchestra and started The Masquerade at Century Ballroom.

 

We are working directly with Susan’s loved ones to honor her memory. We will also be setting up a dedicated fund in her honor. To contribute to the Susan Balshor Memorial Fund, click here.  Please note “Susan Balshor” under “Recognition name for this gift.

 

Watch a tribute video to Susan by B. J. Bullert

 

UPDATE: A Time and Place to Remember Susan Balshor

 

Susan Balshor’s memorial is set for Sunday, February 24, at one of her favorite cathedrals: the Century Ballroom on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

 

Doors open at 1 p.m. For the next 30 minutes, as those who knew Susan hang their coats, greet, and find seats, the Valse Café Orchestra will play music Susan loved. Susan co-founded this ensemble 14 years ago, and was its Artistic Director as well as its lead vocalist.

 

At 1:30 the formal program will commence. There will be time allotted for those who would like to share a memory or a story of Susan during the next two hours.

 

When these formalities conclude, the orchestra will resume with more of Susan’s favorite music. Then, for another couple of hours we’ll eat, drink, reminisce, hug, cry, and, of course, dance. What more would Susan have wanted? (Well, she’d want you to bring your dancing shoes – footwear with leather or suede soles that won’t mar the ballroom’s classic sprung floor. She would of course explain, “You can’t dance well in shoes with sticky soles.”)

 

You’ll find the Century Ballroom on the second floor of the historic Oddfellows Building, 915 East Pine Street, one half block east of Broadway and across from Bobby Morris Playfield (a.k.a. Cal Anderson Park).

 

Parking can be sometimes tight on Capitol Hill, so allow a little extra time to find a space.  Two lots are close by and quite affordable: The Seattle Central Community College garage, on the northwest corner of Harvard Avenue and East Pine Street, is one and one half blocks directly west of the Oddfellows Building. And just a few doors north of the ballroom’s main doors, on Nagle Place where it t-bones with East Pine Street (across from the tennis courts), you’ll find an underground garage on the west side of the street. On Sundays street parking is free.

 

The Oddfellows Building has stairs and an elevator. Push 2 for Susan’s cathedral.

 

26 Responses

  1. Steve Galatro says:

    All day long I’ve been hearing stories of how Susan has touched people lives and I am in absolute awe of her impact. You are missed already, Susan, and may you rest in peace.

  2. I took the basic moldmaking class from Susan nearly 5 years ago, and I use her methods every time I cast glass. She was organized and positive, and helped everybody grasp the process. Later I took her some little castings I made on my own, which she was kind enough to praise. Also I was delighted to go to a cabaret-style performance of hers down at the New Orleans Cafe. What a firecracker! What a wonderful, useful, friendly, artistic personality! How sad I am that she is gone.

  3. I first met Susan 14 years ago when I took a wax working class from her. Her great sense of humor, intelligence, dedication to students is nothing short of amazing. As a fellow educator we shared many of the same area and when ever unforeseen problems occurred that would effect us both she’d reach out to help solve problems so the student experience remained stress free and inner departmental logistics happened seamlessly. She made the mold room a cleaner and better place. It was great to know her, she will be missed by so many.

  4. Alex McDermott says:

    Susan touched my life artistically, and gave me the power to believe in myself.

    Susan- Thank you for your compassion. You will be greatly missed.

  5. Marcia Van Liew says:

    After first meeting Susan in the tango dance community, she seemed to be everywhere. Her lovely painting was in the cafe I frequent in Georgetown and her sculpure in a downtown gallery. She was a regular in waltz, as well as tango. Next Thursday I will miss her terribly at the hour we planned to have lunch together. Now I keep her memory in my heart with such fondness.

  6. Mary Hornig says:

    Two years ago around GAS in Seattle I came early and stayed late to take Susan’s Floating Hollow Core casting class. It was great! She was wonderful! I looked forward to inviting her to my studios in Eugene as an instructor for advanced classes.
    Her passion and clarity, concern for students’ understanding and artistic vision are much appreciated and will be missed. Good-bye, Susan.

  7. Ann Suter says:

    Pratt has been so lucky to have Susan’s energy, spirit, diligence and the love of teaching. She is the model of the artist consummate, carrying her flair and dedication into all of her arts. She served on Pratt’s education committee and was always a cheerleader for instructors and students, listening carefully and providing to the point ideas. I also got to know her through Northwest Folklife where she was a Festival volunteer for years. Her ability to blend into so many communities makes this loss so deep; but it is gratifying to knowshe is loved and cherished in so many circles.

  8. Susan taught me 99% of everything I know about the fine art of kiln cast crystal sculpture, and she was my “go to” person for the last few years. I could call her whenever I had a cast crystal problem, which was often. We both have the same model of kiln and she gave me many tips that saved me from a lot of broken crystal. Susan encouraged my zest for trying many crazy experimental sculpture projects, including my most recent piece I am making. I have several photos of Susan working at Pratt, and at my studio, where we did our last big kiln firing. We also enjoyed going to art exhibits. I will miss her very much and I will help Pratt Art Institute in any way I can.

  9. Charlene Baugher says:

    Susan was a great inspiration and a great teacher with tons of patience. She also helped when I ran into a problem and I will miss her dearly.

  10. Susan Holland Reed says:

    Determination and calm capability were some of the qualities I admire so much in Susan. Working with her over the years at the Pilchuck auction was a privilege I will never forget. Her artistic voice as well as thoughtful approach to any task will live in memory of all who knew her. We miss you dear one.

  11. Laurel Schultz says:

    I learned so much from Susan, and most of it had nothing to do with glass. She taught me how to savor the process of making every bit as much as the final result, and she lived this in her own work and life. Goodbye Susan.

  12. Julia Ricketts says:

    What a loss to the community, and to her family and many, many friends. Susan was a lovely person, generous, kind, and a wonderful teacher. She will be greatly missed.

  13. Alan Anders says:

    A shocking loss of a friend
    Susan was such great mentor to myself and many others
    She will be truly missed

  14. I feel so lucky to have known you Susan!
    Your beauty, creativity and passion for life are rare and exquisite qualities. Thank you for sharing the magic of what makes life meaningful. Through the souls that you’ve touched your spirit will live on!

  15. Sebastian Grynberg says:

    Susan:
    Disfrute muchisimo de conocerte. Tenias un humor genial, me encantaba bailar con vos y tenerte de invitada en nuestras fiestas. Te vamos a extranhar muchisimo.

  16. Jamie McKay says:

    Susan, whether we were your students or fellow instructors and artists, you modeled for so many of us what it truly means to be a passionate person who loved life. You gave freely of your talent and your extensive knowledge. You never kept anything back; it seemed more important to you that your students learned well how to do the process you were teaching. I’m so thankful to have known you; a piece of you lives on in every person you’ve touched. Peace be with you in your next great adventure ~ I imagine you are busy teaching the angels to salsa dance right now!

  17. I am greatly saddened by the news of Susan’s sudden passing. I met her in Adelaide Australia, at the GAS conference. We adopted her as an honorary Tasmanian and helped her find out where the Tango dancers were meeting as she was struggling to understand the people on the phone with their broad Australian accent!
    She was a huge encouragement to me with my glass art, and in life. In 2006 she put me up for a week, showed me the amazing sites of Seattle and introduced me to some wonderful people.
    I hoped to catch up with her again later this year.
    Susan was such a lively, generous and thoughtful person and I have been enriched by knowing her. Condolences to all her friends and family. A beautiful lady has left us. I will treasure her memory.

  18. Eddy Radar says:

    Could we really be that old now, where those close to us can go so quickly? She had Thanksgiving with us, and was giving dance tips for my son’s upcoming wedding.
    I was in Los Angeles on Friday, helping a friend who has a only few months left when I got the email of Susan’s death. Now I was weighing whether it was better to have time to say one’s goodbyes despite the sufferings of illness, or to go quickly, vibrantly . . .
    And what a heartbreak I will miss her memorial on the 24th — that’s the day of the wedding. What an odd circle of life it is — the deaths and the births, the beginnings and the ends.
    I will save the last waltz for her.

  19. Susan adored lots of things: Art, dance, music, people and answering difficult questions. Her death is a difficult question but I will respect that Susan knew the answer.
    I met Susan at Pilchuck almost 10 years ago and she helped me make beautiful crystal castings. With precision and generosity she helped make my vision come alive. I send love to her and all who will miss her.

  20. Julia Harrison says:

    It only took one casting class for Susan to infiltrate my brain and become one those people who keeps on teaching me forever. The image of her dealing gracefully with our challenging batch of students pops up to inspire me when I need help in my own classes. Her constant presence at openings and events spurs me to be more supportive of our community. Her passion for dance lent me the backbone I needed to be more open about my own enthusiasms. I even think of her technical precision every time I make coffee (darned meniscus effect!). Susan, thank you so very much.

  21. Susan was an invaluable asset to the glass community. She was an intelligent, compassionate teacher to many of us. She helped me when I was at an impasse and couldn’t find my way forward. I can’t believe this news. Susan, we will miss you.

  22. Heather says:

    Please let us know if a memorial service has been arranged, I would hate to miss it.

    • Pratt Fine Arts says:

      Hi Heather, a memorial service is being planned for February 24 at Century Ballroom. Further details will be posted as we find out.

  23. I am so saddened by the loss of Susan Balshor. I took several classes from her at Pratt in the 90′s and she was inspirational, fun, and a skilled instructor. She was a great creative comrade in artistic expression. She touched my heart and left a lasting impression. I believe we touched base at the GAS conference at Corning, or else it was on one of my infrequent returns to the Seattle area, but I had always hoped I would see her and be able to revisit again. Her passing is so sudden and unexpected that I am at a loss for words. Her positive impact on so many people is a testament to her wonderfulness. I have a great deal of respect and love for her.
    If there is a memorial on the eastern seaboard I would like to know.

  24. so much energy for life.
    such an openness to the world.
    so generous.

    Susan I will miss you and keep you in my heart as an inspiration.

  25. Carol Milne says:

    A Time and Place to Remember Susan Balshor

    Susan Balshor’s memorial is set for Sunday, February 24, at one of her favorite cathedrals: the Century Ballroom on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

    Doors open at 1 p.m. For the next 30 minutes, as those who knew Susan hang their coats, greet, and find seats, the Valse Café Orchestra will play music Susan loved. Susan co-founded this ensemble 14 years ago, and was its Artistic Director as well as its lead vocalist.

    At 1:30 the formal program will commence. There will be time allotted for those who would like to share a memory or a story of Susan during the next two hours.

    When these formalities conclude, the orchestra will resume with more of Susan’s favorite music. Then, for another couple of hours we’ll eat, drink, reminisce, hug, cry, and, of course, dance. What more would Susan have wanted? (Well, she’d want you to bring your dancing shoes – footwear with leather or suede soles that won’t mar the ballroom’s classic sprung floor. She would of course explain, “You can’t dance well in shoes with sticky soles.”)

    You’ll find the Century Ballroom on the second floor of the historic Oddfellows Building, 915 East Pine Street, one half block east of Broadway and across from Bobby Morris Playfield (a.k.a. Cal Anderson Park).

    Parking can be sometimes tight on Capitol Hill, so allow a little extra time to find a space. Two lots are close by and quite affordable: The Seattle Central Community College garage, on the northwest corner of Harvard Avenue and East Pine Street, is one and one half blocks directly west of the Oddfellows Building. And just a few doors north of the ballroom’s main doors, on Nagle Place where it t-bones with East Pine Street (across from the tennis courts), you’ll find an underground garage on the west side of the street. On Sundays street parking is free.

    The Oddfellows Building has stairs and an elevator. Push 2 for Susan’s cathedral.