Our second artist we are excited to feature in September is Saloma Furlong. To learn more about the First Friday art gallery opening, visit the event page here.
Saloma Furlong was born and raised in an Amish community in northeastern Ohio. With the eighth-grade education of her childhood, she acquired her GED, enrolled in community college courses, and became an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College. She studied at the University of Hamburg in Germany for a semester. At fifty, she graduated with a major in German Studies and a minor in Philosophy. Furlong is the author of three books, and her story has been featured in two PBS American Experience films, “The Amish” and “The Amish: Shunned.” She is the mother of two grown sons and lives in Virginia with her husband, David.
Saloma will share her book, Liberating Lomie at the gallery opening. In this personal and moving memoir, Saloma (Lomie) traces the genesis of her desire for freedom and education and chronicles her conflicted quest for independence. She recalls her painful childhood in a family defined by her father’s mental illness, her brother’s brutality, her mother’s severe punishments, and the austere traditions of the Amish—traditions she struggled to accept for years before making the difficult decision to leave the community. Eloquently told, Liberating Lomie is a revealing portrait of life within—and without—this frequently misunderstood community.
Also available at the gallery opening will be her book, Bonnet Strings: an Amish Woman’s ties to Two Worlds. In this poignant coming-of-age memoir, Saloma’s freedom allows her to thrive in her new life in Vermont. Then late one night, her freedom comes to an abrupt end when members of her Amish community arrive to take her back into the fold. Thus begins a years-long struggle of feeling torn between two worlds. Bonnet Strings offers a universal story of overcoming adversity and a rare look inside an Amish community. Readers will find a story of competing desires between freedom and belonging.
Aside from writing books, Saloma is also the creator of handmade rugs. These beautiful works of art will be available at the gallery opening.