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Introducing : The Ripe Word. | Bethany Suckrow

Introducing : The Ripe Word.

It started with this little idea I had and it grew into something surprising. Something big and unpredictable and good. And I can’t believe I’m writing this post, that in mere moments my little idea will be out there for the world to see. Nevertheless, here it is. My little idea is now a big idea about to come to fruition. 
My friends, I have started a business. The Ripe Word is my very own Etsy shop I have created for selling my watercolor and ink paintings. 
Where did my little idea begin? It’s a long story, but in a nutshell, I’ve always been an artist. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was really young. For a brief while in college I was an English and Visual Arts double major, but discovered that visual art was more enjoyable when I was creating it on my own terms, rather than in a classroom setting. So I quit. I chose one over the other. For awhile after that I didn’t pick up a sketchpad or paint at all, I think because I felt intimidated, but also because I was preoccupied with finishing my degree in English/Writing. After I graduated, I began to pursue it again – slowly, quietly, when I was sure that no one was looking. 
What sparked the impulse to sell my work? A few months ago, a family friend began planning a silent auction for my mom to raise funds for her medical debt. She asked me to donate artwork for it, knowing that I dabble in it. I said yes without any forethought to what I would create in order to contribute. 
And then I began to think : what can I create that will be more than beautiful, but will also serve as a glimpse of my mother’s story, and mine too? 
Some of the text incorporated into the artwork is poetry written by myself, some are quotes from poetry or prose that inspires me and speaks to life as I see it : beautiful, brief, and sacred. The images themselves – mostly fruit and other natural objects – are meant to depict life, healthy, joyous and simple. Life the way that it was meant to be enjoyed. 

Noteworthy about The Ripe Word

Fifty percent of the profits from each sale will be donated to my mom to help her as she continues to pay off her medical debt. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and was later diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2002. Since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she has undergone a variety of treatments and surgeries, and spent much of 2011 in the hospital. [Read more about my mom's story here.] This is my way to honor her, and help her in a way that I am able. [In case you were wondering, yes, she does think I'm crazy for offering this, but since I inherited her stubbornness, she can't stop me.]

The Ripe Word is going green. I’m currently researching materials to make this an eco-friendly business. Paint, paper, ink, mat frames, packaging, and business cards are all on my list of to-find. If you’re an artist that works with these materials and can give me good recommendations, I am all ears. 

A Note of Thanks :
The auction for my mom was held in mid-October, and it drew a crowd of more than 800 of our “closest” friends, family and acquaintances. My family is truly blessed to have such a strong support system. Even in the midst of one of life’s hardest experiences, we have discovered profound joy. This business is in part dedicated to the people that continue to support me and my family, for the prayer and the visits and the meals and the hugs that keep us moving forward. Without you, I wouldn’t have had the courage to do this. 

With Love,


  • brynnalynea

    Wow. Everything looks amazing! I have to admit this is one way we are not at all similar…  I am terrible at drawing and only slightly better at painting. :) I absolutely love Ecclesiastes 3 in Red, your Zest poem, and that cute little grasshopper….

  • Tom Paine

    Given the cause (my wife died of breast cancer this year) and given the beauty of the drawings, how could I help but buy? Your picture of a fig will hang in the kitchen of my new home when it's ready next month. My daughter loves figs and will enjoy seeing it there.

    One suggestion for your new site though. Please don't talk of cancer as a 'fight.' If you want a metaphor for your mom's struggle, perhaps she's enduring a storm? As a writer, you can probably come up with a better metaphor. But calling it a fight – as so many do – makes those like my wife who don't make it into losers. They are not. They are just unfortunate. 

    The way the media talks about cancer; always looking for lifestyle causes and suggesting that (as research shows is not true) mental attitude affects outcomes, is profoundly upsetting for many people dealing with the disease. Many times my wife threw down a newspaper or turned off a news bulletin saying "..they are trying to say it's my fault."

    Good luck with your business. I hope this charitable start gives you the confidence to live by your arts. At the very least, you should hire yourself to illustrate the books you are going to write.

  • TGL

    Congratulations on opening an Etsy store Beth, and the very best of luck to you with it! Art is such a big part of who you are. I remember that well from our freshman year at uni. I love that you are combining your passions to create. You will do well xx

  • Heather

    This is amazing, Beth–you should be very proud of yourself. I know your mother must be very proud of you, too. Your paintings are beautiful and I'll definitely be checking your Etsy store out. Congratulations.

  • Lori

    Bethany….I am so very impressed not only with your wonderful talent, but your ambition, thoughtfulness and love that has gone into this.   WOW

  • Melissa Tydell

    Congratulations on this exciting, new project.  Your work is beautiful… I feel like it expresses the "you" that comes through all your blog posts and it highlights your talents.  That you are also helping your mom is even more inspiring!  Best of luck!

  • Samanthashorey

    oh, Bethany! How can so much talent for so many things reside in one person? Your illustrations are so simple and true. Over the moon for you.

  • Londonlisablog

    This is amazing friend. What lovely tribute to your mother and a way to express yourself creatively. So proud. Shipping to the UK?

  • Bethany Suckrow

    Aw, thanks for the sweet comment, friend. I could say the same about you!

  • Bethany Suckrow

    Of course! I already have a buyer from London, actually that purchased one today. Etsy makes all the currency conversions for me, so it's super easy. I can't wait to send one to you! 

  • Bethany Suckrow

    Thanks, Melissa!! 

  • Bethany Suckrow

    So true, my friend. Thanks again for your constant support. <3

  • Bethany Suckrow

    Tom, thank you for calling me out on that word usage. I've struggled with that word, too, but it's always great to get a different perspective on it. I hate using the term "cancer patient" as well, but sometimes survivor brings the same connotation – that those who have passed away somehow couldn't hack it. Such an odd thing that language does to add insult to our injuries. 

    Anyway, thank you again for your kind words and support! 

  • Bethany Suckrow

    Thanks so much, Brynna! 

  • Yes? That’s me.

    Can't wait to own one for myself and help spread the word. Love you!

  • alli

    Bethany, it is so great to see this! What a beautiful way to express your creative talent and do something thoughtful for your mom. I will definitely spread the word.

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