I grew up exploring woods and fields with family and friends. Learning about nature, observing how humans use elements for immediate use and hopefully as stewards, has influenced my lifestyle and now artwork. After living in cities and towns for decades, my partner and I built our log home nestled into a hillside in the style of structures built a century before on enough land for me to feel at home again.
There is a tactile joy that settles me, working with fibers and textiles and using simple hand tools, slowly (very slowly) stitching and pulling loops, painting visual stories of my surroundings. The prep work often includes a hot dye pot and glorious colors soaked into the various neutral wools, creating a palette for the line drawing on linen stretched on my frame. With hook in hand each pulled loop added to the others creates a picture.
It is not easy for me to speak out about environmental issues. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I hope my work communicates the beauty and fragility of my subjects:
Barns constructed of chestnut a hundred years ago, a wood species lost from the forests by blight.
Wind turbine “farms” dot the ridge tops of our mountains changing the migratory paths of raptors and songbirds. They connect to man-made straight power lines taking the resource to metropolitan sites cutting up the forest habitats of birds and animals. Yet are harvesting a renewable resource.
The annual hay season farmers labor to cut, tether, roll and collect in- between rain storms and droughts to feed cattle which are sold at auction to highest bidder for human consumption.
Channeling generations of craftspeople as I work and mentoring the next generation, my passions for history and art are satisfied. I hope you enjoy seeing life through my craft.
Hopefully viewing my work begins a conversation with yourself, or even better with a neighbor.
Working with fibers, connects me with generations of artisans’ spirits. Due to the slow, repetitive process, there is time to dwell on natural subjects within my art and the materials selected. Now living in West Virginia, I have come full circle – back to the farm, and rural lifestyle of my youth.”
Susan L. Feller