Congratulations to Susan Morgan Leveille, recipient of the 2014 North Carolina Heritage Award.
Weaver Susan Morgan Leveille’s family has had a great deal to do with the resurgence and modern vitality of the craft movement in Western North Carolina. Her aunt, Lucy Morgan, was the founder of the Penland School, and her parents, Ralph and Ruth, were the founders of Dillsboro’s famous Riverwood studios. Susan continues her family tradition, both as an artist and as a supporter of and advocate for the arts. She is a lifetime member and former president of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, and with her husband Bob owns and operates Riverwood’s Oaks Gallery.
Leveille teaches overshot coverlet weaving, a form common in the mountains for generations. She says that she enjoys “sharing how these coverlets were made, and sharing their structure.” She teaches every chance she can get, she says, both privately and in many workshops and craft schools throughout the region. Among the other traditional weaving styles she teaches are lace weave of huck toweling, and the Summer and Winter weave that was popular in colonial times. She loves teaching children and adults and can gear workshops to any age or skill level. In her frequent school visits, she particularly loves “helping teachers relate weaving and fiber to whatever they might be teaching,” from arithmetic and geometry to history and music. These concepts all come together in surprising but natural intersections in the art of weaving.
Leveille has taught at Penland, the John C. Campbell Folk School, and numerous other important craft centers. She is also one of the co-founders of the Stecoah Valley Weavers, a guild that operates from Robbinsville’s Stecoah Valley Center on a principle of economic and individual development much like her great aunt’s vision for the Penland School.
Speaking of her work in the Oaks Gallery, Leveille told the Sylva Herald, “We have been blessed to see the arts thrive here, carrying the flame of traditional craftsmen and also paving the way for younger generations to succeed here as so many have before them.”
In September, 2013, the North Carolina Arts Council announced that Leveille will receive a North Carolina Heritage Award, the State’s highest honor for folk artists.
Susan Leveille teaches and demonstrates at schools, studios, festivals, and in many other venues. She shares a wide variety of skills and patterns, and enjoys teaching groups and individuals of all ages.