Berks artist on a mission to save elephants from poachers

Berks artist on a mission to save elephants from poachers

READING, Pa. - A Berks County artist is now amidst an ambitious, year-long project in effort to save elephants from ivory poaching.

"What they do to them is just horrific," said Suzanne Fellows, a studio artist at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. "I came across the fact that 36,000 elephants had been murdered in 2013."

It's why Fellows, using that number, is dedicated to raising awareness through her art, spending one year to create 36,000 elephants, or, as it equates, 99 elephants each day.

"Every day has a different look to it, depending on the colors," said Fellows, who's using water color paper, paint and various homemade elephant stamps for the printmaking project.

Since the end of January, Fellows has created about 12,000 prints, nearly 1/3 of her final goal. She spends approximately five to six hours each day on the project.

"People are really responding and it makes it rewarding on a bunch of levels," said Fellows. "It is repetitious... it's sort of meditative."

In addition to raising awareness through her project, Fellows is also hoping to raise funds. In her studio and online, she's selling each print for $9, with the proceeds going to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa, a rescue and rehabilitation program for orphaned elephants.

"They feed them bottles. They put blankets on them," said Fellows.

So far, she's sold about 300 to 400 prints and has sent enough donations to foster two elephants.

From now until the project ends in January 2015, she hopes to raise enough to help many more.

"Everyone is alarmed by what's going on on the planet, and it's hard to figure out what to do," said Fellows. "But you have to do something. You can't ignore what's going on."

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