Susan Hicks graduated James Madison University with honors and BA degree with a concentration in textile design. A Best in Show award for student art in high school (for a psychedelic mini-installation) provided the initial drive to pursue an artistic future.
After working in graphic design and pre-press fields in the late 90's, she revisited weaving and explored fledgling Adobe apps and 2D art. Her paintings and digital work were shown regionally in Williamsburg and Richmond. Online offerings found homes as far away as Brazil. After moving to Alexandria in 2009, she began felting under Renate Maile-Moskowitz and exhibited fiber work at the Torpedo Factory's Art League Gallery.
In 2016, as strength waned due to the disease Myasthenia Gravis, less physical art forms were sought out. Using a tablet based app and stylus as drawing tools new doors to creativity opened, jump starting a foray into pet portraiture. Susan began offering her bold and colorful art for sale online under the brandname "Melasdesign."
Melasdesign shops were opened in print-to-order sites RedBubble and Society6 featuring art for framing, surface design for fashion, and a wide variety of themes explored through illustration and digital art on wearables, tech and home decor. Her art found homes throughout the US to Canada, the UK, Central Europe, Australia, and New Zealand .....Even Finland! Yayyy Finland!
Soon thereafter, Susan began learning the art of Metal Clay jewelry design under the able hands of teacher Paula Coupe, part of a very encouraging and giving group of talented artists in the Alexandria, VA area. Finally, a more illness-friendly way to create jewelry - an interest of Susan's since high school.
2017 ushered in the opportunity to settle in a small town with heart - Thomas, WV. Relishing the energetic arts community, it was time to get back to more "handmade" efforts. This direction is best represent in the Handmade Shop. Thomasyard became a welcome sales outlet for felted good and art. The Artspring Festival 2019 counts as the first official art premiere in the area.
Susan lends her efforts to drawing, mainly representational, and painting, mainly abstract. Graphic design with Photoshop is on the roster almost daily. Through this 2D art, she explores traditional subjects, abstract art, pet portaits (cats, dogs, and one mouse), current events, "dark" art, dreams, and Halloween. Political satire is not out of scope. Additionally, Susan is a metal clay jeweler and fiber artist. She makes objects, clothing, and accessories through wet felting, and creates gifts and original, one of a kind fine silver, bronze, and copper jewelry.
"I am an outsider artist at heart. I do what I have to do, because it oozes from my pores. If my work is chaotic, it's an honest insight into how my brain works. If it is pattern oriented, it is from years as a fiber artisan. All I ever want to do is bring a bit of joy about for viewers of my work. I am not going to follow "the rules" and sell images that look like everyone else's just to make a buck. Do I miss the mark sometimes? Yes, but I do it knowing it's a step along the way. I must remain true to myself in a world where originality seems to be discouraged. I invite you to witness my journey." Where does "Mela" come from? Listen.