Susan (Kennedy) Elkin (’70 applied art) always loved animals and always loved art. Her mix of classes in animal science, pottery, and other art subjects at Iowa State prepared her for a life on Cobun Creek Farm in Morgantown, W.V., where she has 38 acres of land, a pottery studio, and a flock of Coopworth sheep. She also has a smattering of geese, chickens, peacocks, and angora goats; a house full of purebred Maine Coon cats; an alpaca; and a couple of Great Pyrenees dogs to guard the sheep.
Though she came to Iowa State to study veterinary medicine, Susan fell in love with creating pottery the first time she took the class, and she says her work at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames set her on a path to making pottery for a living. She’s since given up the activity due to a number of health issues, but she stays active on the farm, breeding, raising, and selling animals and their products, including wool and peacock feathers.
“I try to be as creative as I can with the sheep,” she says, pulling out container after container filled with naturally dyed wool and yarn in a rainbow of beautiful colors. She sells her products directly to customers, but also to local shops and at the annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.
A sign in Susan’s kitchen proclaims “I’m creative, not neat,” and, indeed, Susan’s home, barn, log cabin, and studio are filled with such an assortment of stuff that you could spend a month just discovering all that’s there.
She says she couldn’t manage the place without her friends. And although she says she “misses Iowa terribly,” she’s content for now to live among her flowers and gardens and her real-life petting zoo.