Art Imitates Life in the Highlands

posted in: HH2024 | 0

By Ann Pangborn

As an artist living in The Highlands neighborhood for almost forty years, I find inspiration everywhere, every single day.  I am primarily a fiber artist, using wool and silk and other fibers and fabrics to make felt fabric wearable and functional art, spinning art yarn, and using botanical elements to eco-print and dye fiber and fabric.  My little studio is a pop-up room above our garage, with big windows through which I can hear birds, see evergreens, and glimpse the surrounding low mountains. I also love spinning yarn on our front porch.

Our family has always had at least one dog, and so we are out walking in every kind of weather, and we observe the changing seasons, and enjoy catching up with neighbors on our daily strolls. 

One of the many things we love about living here is the pleasant walk to town and campus.  My work reflects the local colors and textures and liveliness, as well as my sense of gratitude, that we live here, in a peaceful and beautiful environment; it’s often on these walks that I’ll see a combination of colors and textures that inspire my work.  

Among the many wonders of our neighborhood, my favorites are probably the four different kinds of owls that have visited us: these include a family of Screech Owls that perched on a tree branch above our daughters who were playing with Barbies on our deck.  

“There are kittens in the tree!” Lizzie exclaimed!  I loved the wee Saw Whet Owl that perched for several days on a white pine branch across the street; and the Great Horned Owls I’ve heard and seen several times on trees adjacent to our property; and the Barred Owl that appeared several years ago, resting on a hemlock branch on the side of our property.  

I’ve included some of my photos taken on local walks, and some of my recent fiber work embedded in this article.  I hope my perspective nurtures your sense of wonder, too, about our wonderful Highlands neighborhood!

In 1979, when Rob was offered a teaching position in Penn State’s College of Engineering, Ann agreed to move to State College without ever having been anywhere near central PA.  “There are mountains and farms!  You’ll love it!” said Rob.  He was quite right.  Ann and Rob both fell in love with Happy Valley, raised their three children here; and they, too, have settled into State College, much to their parents’ delight.  Ann is an artist member of The Gallery Shop in Lemont; has taught art to students of all ages; and earned a Master of Education from Rutgers, K – 8 teaching certification, and national certification to practice as an Expressive Arts Therapist. When not enjoying time with family, or chatting with Highlands neighbors while walking Misty, she’s often covered in fiber in her little studio space above the garage (near the owl that is always perched by the studio window).