Susan Savory

Rowboat’s in
the greenly river,
gently rocking
up and down
Slooshing, skimming,
waiting, swimming,
’til we want
to row to town.

(Blue Boat, Cut-paper collage with colored pencil, 3.75 x 3.75″)

Rowboat’s in
the greenly river,
gently rocking
up and down
Slooshing, skimming,
waiting, swimming,
’til we want
to row to town.

I have been making collages, of one kind or another, for as long as I can remember. Time spent as a child with paste and tissue paper, National Geographic magazines, and my seamstress mother’s fabric scraps has had a direct influence on the work I’m doing now. I possess a pronounced magpie gene — my art is assembled from collected bits of detritus and treasure.

There is something remarkably satisfying about gathering, sorting, and examining the various bits and pieces that will eventually become hillsides, stands of birch trees, blue-green ponds, and tiny houses. The process of building each piece involves hours of arranging and rearranging, delicious trial and error, until the right combination/composition emerges and the work finds its own voice.

For the last six or seven years, a very specific tiny house has inserted itself into almost all of my collages. It began to appear at a time when I was feeling particularly ungrounded. My children were suddenly adults and didn’t need full-time mothering, and I had been chronically, incessantly, nomadically moving house (almost annually) for nearly a decade.

In 2010, an opportunity to relocate to Martha’s Vineyard presented itself, and while my gypsy nature was thrilled by the newness and adventure of it, my inner “tiny house” voice whispered that it might be the perfect chance to make a real home. The Tiny House Hill series became a full-time project once I was firmly rooted in the perfect little house on a hilltop in Chilmark. (Life imitating art or vice versa?) These collage compositions, most no bigger than six inches in any direction, are based on a personal exploration of the landscapes of my past and my dreams.

I’ve spent a portion of nearly every one of my summers — and a few autumns and winters and springs — on Cape Cod, and have been deeply influenced by the land, water, vegetation, and light there. The Island landscape transported me back to the fields, marshes, and dunes of the Cape, and I found new inspiration with the addition of ancient stone walls, verdant gardens, and flocks of sheep. The images are fanciful, yet rooted in reality . . . and I love the nebulous, wavering line between.

The next step for the Tiny House will be a picture book: a trip through the seasons in verse. Compiling and sorting, dreaming and building are currently underway.


Floating Blossoms, Cut Paper collage with colored pencil, 4.5 x 4.5″





Bees the size
of walnuts
figure eights.
Blossoms blooming,
pollen fuzzing,
a honey-comby home
Eggs crack open,
Picking, chipping,
baby birdlets peeking out.
Homely, downy,
barely ready,
hearts beat thumpy,
legs unsteady . . .

new things, new wings
Springly sprouts.

tiny house hlll - sweet peas

Garden with Sweet Peas, Cut-paper collage with colored pencil, 4.5 x 4.5







Snow is slowly
melting, going.
Spring glides in
on breeze-winds
Birds start winging,
to and fro-ing . . .
building nests
where eggs will rest,
high and low-ing.
We don our wellies,
rows to hoe.

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