Susan Basch 1952 – 2022

Remembering Susan – by Adrienne Gaskell

Susan Basch exemplified everything an organization values in its membership; dedication, creative contributions, and financial support. But Susan always went above and beyond. Susan joined AKS at its inception as a founding member and attended the live AKS Gatherings. When the pandemic hit and AKS had to switch from in-person to virtual Gatherings, she provided the first donation (anonymous) and laid out the blueprint for the Chopsticks for Education campaign. Her generosity and vision helped raise over $5,000 for the organization. The money provided the support necessary for AKS to build a new website and continue to offer high-quality virtual classes to its members. 

Susan was an educator as well as an artist. She created natural dyes from the plants and flowers in her garden. She used these dyes for the silk fibers in her Kumihimo braids. Susan demonstrated and taught this process to AKS members in a virtual workshop. Each student received a box of materials from her garden which included both botanicals and fiber. 

Susan was a gifted artist. Her passion and expertise showed in all her pursuits but were especially evident in her fabulous kumihimo jewelry, for which she received much recognition and numerous awards. Her entry into the first AKS Braids Not to Wear contest won the Spirit of AKS award. Her piece, Omiyage with Kumihimo Sampler, appeared on the cover of the 2020 AKS Gathering Threads. You can read the article from my interview with Susan here.

I first met Susan when she was a student learning Kumihimo. Over the years, I was very fortunate to get to know Susan and count her as a friend. She was always fun to be with and had a kind and loving heart. As a curious and knowledgeable traveler, everyone enjoyed being with her the two times she joined my Japan Adventure Tours.

No words can adequately describe how special Susan was, but if you knew her, I’m sure you already know this and have fond memories of your own. I will always cherish the many beautiful memories I have of Susan.

AKS will miss her participation, her ideas, and her contributions. Her husband Eli, will ensure her legacy and support of AKS will continue.

From Carolyn Kerr

Last Sunday on September 4th I attended the funeral service for Susan. At one point the Rabbi asked people to share one word that came to mind when they thought of Susan. “Gifted”, “Creative”, “Class Act”, “Giving”, “Funny”, “Wonderful sense of design and color”, “Great sense of humor”, “Elegant”, “Silly”, “Warm”, “Generous”, “Kind”……. these were some of the many descriptions of Susan. During the service, which was very well attended, I saw first hand how important Susan was to her family, friends, and community.

I was so fortunate to have met Susan on the first Japan Adventure Tour. By chance we sat next to each other at the first dinner, shared each others’ food and conversation, and became close friends from that time on.

We lived not far from each other, she in the Hudson Valley and me in the Berkshire Mountains, and would often meet half-way to spend the day talking, walking, and always having a show-and-tell of what we were working on. I greatly admired her work—so elegant and graceful, just as she was.

I learned much from Susan, even how to make a great broccoli soup!

My heart still breaks when I remember that my dear friend Susan is gone.