Autobiography of Susan Riha Parsley

My name is Susan Riha Parsley. My journey began in Cook County, Illinois on February 18, 1963 as Susan Sullivan. I grew up in Sauk Village, Illinois with my parents Phyllis and John Sullivan. I am the youngest of six children, my parents divorced while I was younger and my dad remarried and had my younger brother. While I was growing up I loved when my teachers would assign projects that allowed for imagination and creativity. I feel I did the best on these types of assignments. After high school I decided to go to John Amico School of Hair Design for cosmetology. After finishing cosmetology, I got married to my first husband and had two wonderful children (both boys) and lived in Chicago, Illinois. As time passed, our lives seemed to be going in different directions, so I made the decision it was healthier for me to leave. Even though those times were tough, years later I met my second husband and had two more beautiful children (one girl and one boy). Once again, he was not the right one for me, and we were on different paths in life. During that marriage we had made it to Ohio. So, as a single parent of four children I knew it was time for me to make a change. I decided to go to Cuyahoga Community College and receive my Associates in Liberal Arts in 2002. My main study in art at the time was ceramics and the pottery wheel. Along this journey I met my true soul mate and we got married in 2002 and are still currently married. We were not able to have any children so, we did foster care for a few years, which lead me and my husband adopting my youngest son. Now as a parent of five I refuse to give up art in anyway because it is my true calling. My husband is supportive and encourages me to try new things when it comes to experimenting with different mediums and art techniques. I had so many ceramic bowls, vases, and sculptures that I went on a quest to see if my art could help someone in need. I was looking around on my quest and came across an advertisement on Craigslist of this wonderful woman who was having an art auction to help people in South Africa. I reached out in hopes that I would be able to help by donating my art, so I packed up a closet full of art. Then I decided to try painting to be able to help more. So, I painted abstract representational images on Yupo paper and alcohol inks in December 2010. After the auction sale the wonderful woman let me know that everyone really enjoyed my paintings. This term of events leads me to painting more and more. One day I was going to make note tags for my artworks and thought I could use a torch to curl up the ends. The result of this led me to creating abstract shapes that I later used as pendants for necklaces. The use of alcohol painting was self-taught due to my high level of interesting with that medium. I also wrote a book called ​Art Ink It! Paint with Ink and Make Jewelry from Your Clippings

​ in 2014. The book is about creating jewelry with Yupo paper and alcohol inks, it provides steps, images of the process, as well as finished products. In 2016, I decided to go

back to school to receive my Bachelors in Fine Arts (BFA). Currently, I am almost finished with that degree and looking to receiving my BFA from Bowling Green University May of 2019. After, receiving my degree I would love to reach out to my community and help others through the process of art therapy or even auctioning/selling paintings to help better help my local community.