Category Archives: juried exhibits

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One then two now a Series

Over the past year my focus in design has been on how to develop the full story. Often, specifically in rug hooking, the motifs receive the attention: selecting colors, values, materials, and even techniques. When they are complete “we” fill in the rest with a quick selection of color and value. Evolving from this patternmaking routine has been conscious, deliberate and rewarding as I devote time and energy beyond a designer to being an artist/craftsperson.

The series ‘Leaves’ used full sized templates of one natural object to draw the audience’s attention. My effort was to create a changing and interesting environment –

Chestnut Leaves in grass

 

grass with evening shadows;

 

 

 

Virginia Creeper and sky

 

the blue sky poking out of foliage;

 

 

 

Maple Leaves on quilt

 

a neutral space harkening to another traditional craft, quilting

 

 

 

Trees in our Woods

Satisfied with this exploration I approached a large piece with the same attention. The viewer will be drawn in because of scale (74 x 36), arrangement with the central motif reaching beyond the edges, and presentation (the fiber work is stretched like a work on canvas and hangs on the wall about 2 feet off the floor). The texture of each tree is laboriously portrayed depicting different species by selecting tweeds, herringbones, overdyed wools of varying widths in cuts moving them into bark and shadow shapes. The distant sky is a crisp early spring blue completing the depth. I decided to hand stitch the wool fabric to the backing rather than distract the calmness with a multitude of hooked loops. The forest floor is the anchoring element and the lessons I learned in the Leaves Series were put to test – with enthusiasm and success.

 

 

Color in our Trees

 

Nature out of the way, the second version of the same design is half the size, colorful, and linear trunks with value changes to reflect bark.

 

 

 

Shadows of the Forest

There are two more versions in the works, each smaller by half. One will be fully embroidered and the other worked in collage and embroidery. To finish my exploration I have sketched out just the floor of the forest.  This piece will be a runner for the table or floor, taking the viewer to the actual space it depicts.

 

What fun to stay with a challenge, develop a design that can be explored and tell the story of our natural beauty – the forest.

 

Recognition and Education

Rughooking is a technique easily learned, leading to opportunities to master the materials, various techniques and design elements with practice – one loop at a time. With the method comes a connection to generations of people who enhanced their surroundings creating utilitarian rugs from material once part of a garment or blanket. Each of these aspects drew me in and comforted me as I developed confidence as an artist.

1968 purchase award McDonald Sisters rug

 

At least half a dozen years ago I saw a large tapestry on permanent display in the Legacy of Craftsmanship Room at the State Museum, Charleston, WV with a label describing the techniques as embroidery, appliqué and hooking. How exciting to know the same technique I was immersing my time and skills in had been recognized by the state of West Virginia arts commission. At the Appalachian Corridor Exhibition of 1968 (first of three bi-ennials under that name) a purchase award to Blanche and Otha McDonald for their rug was issued along with several other media.

These first art pieces entered the collection housed at the State Museum and are now joined, over the past 40 years, by a couple of hundred contemporary art pieces thanks to the Bi-Ennial Juried Exhibition conducted by the Commission on the Arts, Division of Culture and History.

On Sunday, November 12, 2017 ten more works were awarded purchase recognition. I am thrilled to announce there is another hooked piece in the permanent collection: Progress in the Mountains, Susan L Feller, Augusta, WV.

The exhibit is on public display through February 11 at the Art Museum of WVU, One Fine Arts Drive, Morgantown, WV. The award winners will next be displayed at the State Museum gallery and then become part of the archives.

Just think 50 years from now someone will research the collection to find and study my hooked runner for materials, techniques of dyeing and hooking, and respond to my design just as I did the rug from 1968. One difference is I have documented my process, written articles, continue to record and publish the tools and materials I use and contribute these to the archives at the Museum. The McDonald Sisters work does not have these answers compiled as conveniently for research. A lesson I learned to rectify because of my frustration after seeing that rug and label on display and asking who were these ladies? Why did they mimic rughooking with their needle, thread and fabric strips? What inspired their designs and development of product?

It seems I can now say I too am part of the generations of rughooking craft makers. And that makes me happy pulling new loops.

Juried work in 2013

Haying Stages, Iconic Liberty, Caraway Garden Runner

Haying Stages, Iconic Liberty, Caraway Garden Runner

The studio has offered me organized space to work and explore.  Several pieces were submitted to different juried and invitational shows.

Haying Stages was accepted in 7Stitch shown at Morehead State College in Morehead, KY this summer.  It was a Surface Design exhibit and juried by the President Jane Dunnewold.  It was also accepted in the WV Div of Culture and History Biennial Juried Exhibition to be hung in the Dunn Building in Martinsburg, November 24- Feb 27, 2014.

Iconic Liberty received first place in West Virginia in the national theme American Heritage for the NSDAR.

Caraway Garden Runner was accepted along with Veins of Energy – Coal in the Best of West Virginia juried show at TAMARACK in Beckley, WV.

Early American Life Directory 2012

  It has been a few years since the subject of hooked work I was creating warranted submission to Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts. The requirements include the highest standards of period design, materials, and techniques along with documentation for all these fitting the Colonial period of America.  Well this year I was ready and the jurors thought so too.  I am honored to be included with several other rughooking artists representing our craft at this highly judged level.  A press release published in Hampshire Review details the criteria and jurors. Click here to read Hampshire Review EAL Directory Listing

Friedrich Bandel’s Potted Tree, design Susan L. Feller

 The Shenandoah Valley exhibit last winter inspired motifs and compositions by “new” fraktur artists, along with the documentation in a catalog produced by the Rockingham Historical Society of Dayton, VA. 

This image is a design, inspired by the pen and watercolors of the artist working between 1800-1820 in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Entry accepted in WV Juried Exhibition

Just received notice that “Winter in West Virginia” was accepted in the  Inspired: A West Virginia Series of Juried Exhibitions Historic Buildings.  The opening ceremony was on January 24, 2011 at the WV Culture Center, 1900 Kanawha Blvd, E. Charleston, WV.  Show up through July 25.

Yes that is the Capitol of West Virginia!  Visit www.wvculture.org, exhibits for details about hours of the Commissioner’s gallery.

Winter in West Virginia, Susan L. Feller

This piece was one of the 6 works reviewed by jurors for TAMARACK for the category FINE CRAFT.  It was created in 2009 for a travelling exhibit titled STRIPES.  The artists from Japan and the United States each interpreted that word using some type of rughooking.  I happily packed my work up and sent it off today, for one more leg of its journey.  Japan, NJ, IN and now Charleston, WV.  It is for sale, but I do hope to see its return at the end of the show, since the inspiration is a view right out our kitchen looking towards Short Mountain.