Meet Suzanne, the heart and soul of Project Paj Ntaub, the free monthly paj ntaub workshop offered through Hmong Museum. Since it’s inception, Suzanne has been the instructor of this program. She brings passion and wit to this art.
Describe the work and art you do.
I have learned the art of paj ntaub from my paternal grandmother, mother, and aunts since I was 7 years old. I am so grateful and happy that although it’s been over 50 years now, our your children and youth still want to learn how to make paj ntaub. I am so glad that Hmong Museum creates an opportunity to share and teach this generation about paj ntaub so they can pass it on to future generations. This is truly a Hmong art – and it needs to be preserved. I have faith that Hmong Museum will ensure that Hmong identity and arts do not disappear, so future generations will always remember who they are, and who have created the beautiful works of paj ntaub.
What inspires your passion for paj ntaub?
(a) Growing up, I always loved paj ntaub. I looked for opportunities to sew, and would sneak some time to work on my aunt’s paj ntaub projects. I love and enjoy creating paj ntaub – it reminds me of when I learned it among my family members.
(b) I am a Hmong daughter, and take great pride in that identity. Being a Hmong daughter, for my generation, meant knowing how to sew and make beautiful embroidery.
(c) I want to learn how to handmake beautiful items for my children and future generations to enjoy and learn from.
What are some things Hmong Museum friends should know about you?
There a few values that I learned in life that continue to guide my decisions and life path – and I would love to share them with you all:
(1) Beginning at age 4, I was taught to value hard work. I learned it by watching my family members work hard in the field, in the home, and in the community. Hard work can push you to learn discipline and possibilities.
(2) At age 15, I lived and studied with catholic nuns and during my time with them, I learned about charity and catholic values. These values centered around helping others less fortunate, and to give support when I could. Money is important to survive, but it isn’t the most important thing in my life – for me, charity and generosity are priorities in my life.