Bullskin artist rarely without needlework
If you happen to see Susan Zylka of Bullskin Township out and about, there is a good chance that she will have her knitting with her, spending time at meetings, sports games and social events working away at her craft.
Zylka is the February Artist of the Month, and many examples of her work will be featured throughout the month in the Fayette County Courthouse Law Library.
“In this contemporary world, where machines may outperform human dexterity and make in mass what at one time was only made by the finest artist, one might ask why do people still spend their time to create works of art,” Zylka said. “I cannot speak for others, but for me, it is a way of expressing myself in a tangible creation of which I can have a sense of pride.”
A longtime knitter, Zylka takes great pride in the creations that she makes for others, as well as cherishing the items that were made for her.
“To create your own sweater, scarf, afghan, et cetera, enables you to a new appreciation for the artistic sense of fabric, but more importantly, is the feeling I get when I knit, knowing that I will have a connection with the family or friends who will use the creation in a practical way,” Zylka said of the many handmade items that she makes for others. “This is the same feeling that I have with my aunt and grandmothers, whose stitchery and other forms of needlework and knitting I treasure.”
Zylka, a Master Knitter who teaches the form of needlework and is the Westmoreland County Fair superintendent for the knitting department, is teaching her grandson to knit, continuing a tradition, as she was taught to knit at age 9 by her grandmother.
Zylka's love of sharing her creations is still strong as she works daily on items made from different colors and textures of yarn.
“For years I have shared my works with family and friends, gifting to those I wish to show my love or appreciation,” Zylka said. “Not only do these gifts bring happiness to the receiver, but this lifts my spirits to know that what I have made will bring happiness.”
Patterns designed by Zylka can be purchased at Kathy's Kreations Shop in Ligonier, with all proceeds going to “Knit for the Cure,” an organization that supports the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Most of the items on display in the library, which range from knitted vests and scarves to coats and capes, are for sale to the public, along with several of Zylka's scarf patterns.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.