Susan Prince Thompson
Susan Prince Thompson, teacher, artist, and writer, whose endeavors truly reflected her love of family and deep connection to her creative spirit and the natural world, died on June 3 after a short illness. She was 63.
Friends and family remembered the longtime High Mowing art teacher – who regularly carried with her colorful, woven bags stuffed with fiber and cut paper art projects – for her unending generosity, joyful creativity, inspired teaching, formidable talents, hilarious stories, and infectious smile.
"Her studio, like her heart, was always a welcoming home where learning was a gift offered, not a forced march," recalled her friend and colleague Cedar Oliver. "Those of us who love her know what it feels like to be welcomed by an artist’s whole wild whirling soul, what it means to be at home in a truly honest place."
A native of New England, Ms. Thompson returned in 1990 to Wilton, NH, from California with her husband George Thompson, whose book, "The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation," was published in 2008. There she began her teaching career at The Well in Peterborough and later at High Mowing in Wilton where she had also attended high school. For many years Ms. Thompson taught alongside her mother, the late and much adored artist Ruth Pittman.
Ms. Thompson’s intricate, highly praised artwork and installations have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout New England, including the Portland Museum of Art 2009 Biennial. A self-described fiber artist she created textile and wire sculptures, fashioned new maps from old ones, and cut paper banners, often compared to Buddhist prayer flags, from discarded objects and materials.
The banners were related to Mexican papel picados, hung like Tibetan prayer flags across walls and corners. "It’s a sort of meditation on the many ways of seeing," Ms. Thompson explained in her blog.
For over a decade Ms. Thompson explored and revealed the meaning of maps. About this effort she wrote, "The special language of the map is a complex abstraction: graphic representations of the natural features of the landscape, which is then overlaid with multiple signifiers. We can read into the map a wide spectrum of meanings from the most personal to the political."
Ms. Thompson is survived by her husband; sons Nik of Wilton, NH and Akira of New York City; sister Liz Prince, and brothers Aaron Prince and Craig Peyton of New York; sister Sara Peyton of California; brothers Alexis Pittman of Wilton, NH and Geoffrey Pittman of Maine; sister Martha Reynolds, and father and stepmother Roger and Nancy Prince of Walpole, New Hampshire.
Plans for a memorial service are underway. Contributions may be made in support of offsetting medical expenses for her son Nik Thompson, who is currently battling metastasized colorectal cancer to YouCaring Compassionate Crowdfunding site: www.youcaring.com/ susan-thompson-570548.