Tag Archives: fibers

Exploring Seattle

Two days ahead of Puget Sound Rug School I have immersed myself in Seattle visually and physically. Who knew you could “hike” five miles in a city?  Camera in pocket and rain gear on here are some inspiring compositions.

Okan Arts Japanese cottons

Okan Arts Japanese cottons

First stop was a fiber mecca for me. Patricia Belyea has amassed an amazing collection of Japanese yukata cottons available for  US quilting and fiber artists from her shop in Seattle or online at OkanArts.com.  I selected bold patterns and intimate repeats of lines to be combined into my art.

Pikes Market produce

Pikes Market produce

Vendors carrying produce, flowers, artisan products, and baked goods entice the tourists at Pikes Market down along the waterfront. The blast of color and natural shapes caught my attention.

The city is filled with contrasting shapes, lines of different strengths, and shots of color in the structures, everyone vying  for attention.

Coffee Beans

Coffee Beans

And then there was the sensual allure of roasting coffee at THE Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.   Notice the gentle curves of the copper tubes and the warm color of the roasted beans awaiting the personal selection.

All of my senses were heightened. I am sure to end up with some visual artwork from these hours spent in the Emerald City.  Traveling from the West Virginia mountains to a metropolitan area increases the awareness of structure.

Country to City Artists Abound in Philadelphia

The end of March was an exciting time for Fiber Arts. 

 Surface Design and Studio Art Quilts combined to present a three day conference near Philadelphia, PA.  Off I went armed with business cards, wearing a necklace of punched work by Kira Bacon, and distributing postcards promoting the Schwenkfelder exhibit of hooked rugs just up the road.  The preparation paid off as participants asked what rughooking was about, and I learned much more about the contemporary visions of artists.

The two organizations created a wonderful format with informative panels and individual presentations.  One day we were transported into the city to independantly visit as many of the 50 exhibits featuring fiber arts as we could in 8 hours.  FiberPhiladelphia has grown in venues to a happening every two years.  Plan on your own visit in 2014.

Students and professionals attended the conference.  Eastern Carolina University was represented by graduate and undergraduates in the Textiles program.  These women were invigorating and conversations started about sharing skills in workshops at the University. The editor of Fiber Art Now, Marcia Young co-sponsored the event and introduced herself to members, gathering future topics and writers for the magazine.

Emerging Artists Show at Tamarack

Artists juried into Tamarack’s David L. Dickirson Fine Art Gallery in Beckley, WV in the past 18 months are featured in the exhibit opening with a reception on Sunday, January 22.  The show will be up through March 23. 

This collection was inspired by the shadows cast by objects along the roadway onto surfaces in front of me as I drove the thousands of miles this past year.  One image stayed in my mind of large round hay rolls lined up at the fencerow and 10:00 sunlight. 

There are two sets: one depicting the grassy field and then textured roadway; the other with a light snow on the grasses and roadway showing a slushy tire track.  The fifth image is the view out our kitchen window. Winter now with oak trees retaining their light brown leaves and the other hardwoods barren against a cold white sky.  I incorporated alpaca yarns, spun in Hampshire County at the Capon Bridge Fiber Works into the piece adding a soft texture. 

All the works are 5″ x 13″ mounted on 8″ x 16″ covered stretcher bars   They are priced at $135 each and available directly from the Tamarack-Gallery.

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.

Mountain State Fiber Artists Meet on Farm

October 16th dawned a beautiful FALL day. 

MSFA meeting Fall 2010

By noon 22 members and guests of the Mountain State Fiber Artists had arrived at Ruckman Mill Farm.  They unloaded with desserts and salads (note the desserts were listed first, and were the most in both categories contributed).  And also brought along finished hooked , needle work and quilted, items which were displayed on the front porch during our show and tell. 

Leaf Peeping Season by Susan Feller

  We have accepted the ATHA challenge to make  a 9 x 12 mat inspired by the color RED.  Completed pieces will be shown at the Morgan County Fair next August and then contributed by members to the ATHA Bi-Ennial in Lancaster, PA October 19-22 to benefit the Education Committee.

Hooked on the River

A retreat should slow the participants lifestyles down to just the focus of their work.  The Hooked on the River retreat does just that. 
New and old friends gathered along the Shenandoah River for three days creating fiber art, sharing words of wisdom, laughter and praise.  The core of this group is members of the Old Dominion Chapter of Pearl McGown Rugcrafters others from the region join in to make the 22 attendees.

Fall Fiesta in Vermont

Stephanie Krauss of Green Mountain Hooked Rugs created a great event: four days in beautiful Vermont during the height of Fall Foliage Season.  The first Fall Fiesta was Sept 22-26 and I advise you mark your calendars for just the same times in 2011.  I was one of three instructors (others were Jane Halliwell Green and Lisanne Miller) along with a store, retreat session and fabulous food prepared and served by the New England Culinary Institute students.  Located on the campus of Vermont College of Fine Arts just up the hill from Vermont’s capitol, Montpelier this event had everyone attending smiling and calling each other friends in no time.

Fraktur Workshop at Fall Fiesta, VT

 Our class stands outside of College Hall, a massive elegant building housing the workshops for the weekend.

My urban experience- Ottawa

Why not just go two hours out of my way after travelling for two weeks and visit Barbara Lukas and Ottawa, Canada. She lives right in the city, yet in a tree-lined historic district, and took me by car and foot all over. We hit the hightlights and more, even stopping to hear part of an outdoor concert, whizzing past the longest ice skating rink (not in season),  over to Quebec and the thrift shop haunts for stuff and FRENCH fries. 

My art lesson was at the National Gallery where we toured the Canadian Arts Galleries focusing on the Group of Seven towards modern.  Seeing artwork in person validates the scale, techniques, materials and colors which the artists chose for their pieces.  Reproductions are informative but I can’t emphasize too strongly to anyone, “Visit art”.

We went to the Farmers Market and I had bubble tea.

Two Bubble Teas and Barbara's stripes

The caramel Tapioca pearls are fun and come through the special wide straws quickly.  We had to return to this shop as the tapioca were not ready when she opened at 10;00.  Well worth the return for the novelty and visual.

Barbara invited several fiber friends over for dinner. And each brought along some of their work.  The evening was filled with sharing and learning from each other. We covered topics as broad as how to preserve using new media current fiber artists at work, in studios or even as we just did in a salon session talking about creativitiy. Other topics were use of color, materials, inspirations for designs, how exact one medium (quilting) is and forgiving another (rughooking).  What benefits we derive from working slowly with our hands and fibers to create.   I look forward to returning to this group in the next year and continuing our effortless journey.

Fresh Air Friend

Sometimes you need to get away from a regular routine.  Jennifer Larmour thought that a few weeks ago and called us up.  Seems New York City in the summer gets hot ?!  Determined to travel approximately 320 miles using “public transportation” she caught the Mega Bus from NYC to DC, walked the few blocks to Union Station and AMTRAC to take the 55 mile trip out on the ONLY train going west through Harper’s Ferry, WV on Saturday. 

Great shadows and stacking of shapes

That is where I came in, completing her trip out to Hampshire County in our Toyota (another hour and 45 minutes). You see I wasn’t going closer than Harper’s Ferry to pick her up.  More on the return trip later.

Jim had planned on Jennifer’s visit food wise, shopping at the Romney Farmers Market for fresh snap peas from Bryan Beveridge, cooking up Bob (the rooster in previous post) into broth for Greek Lemon Soup (cold), and marinating some venison from the property till very tender for delicious kabobs with new red potatoes (Bryan’s again) cherry tomatoes and mushrooms (did have to resort to FoodLion for these). 

Talking to the broody hen, while collecting breakfast

We started every morning with farm fresh eggs collected eagerly by Jennifer and served fried on a bowl of oatbran bought in bulk at Miller’s Market, or with bacon and greens from our garden.  Sure is nice to have someone around who enjoys food and preparing it well. Jennifer and I did appreciate Jim.

2010 Garlic Harvest on the Farm, with help

We enjoyed her visit and she stepped in willingly to help with our chores. The big team effort was harvesting the garlic rows before the 90 degree sun got too high in the sky.

A fellow fiber artist, Jennifer and Susan spent hours happily working in the studio.  She finished a portrait of Grandma with very young Jennifer on her lap.  The freedom of interpretation is one aspect of her art we truly enjoy.

Jennifer's hooked rug 2010, Grandma and Jennifer

Tuesday came too soon and we returned to Harper’s Ferry in time for the 11:16 am to DC, coming from Chicago.  When the temperatures get as hot as currently, the trains slow down for safety reasons.  Someone called the 800 number and found out the arrival would not be until 1:45!!   TOO Late for a bus transfer in DC to NYC, we thought about it and agreed to take David (Appalachian Trail hiker who needed to get to a plane for return to Portland, OR) and off we went to Vienna METRO Station about 38 miles closer to the city. Thank heavens for the GPS and my knowing something of the area.  Traffic picked up, the lanes widened to 5 lanes across at one point, but we were in the middle of the dayso not bad.  Pulled into the station, and the travellers had decided to take a cab which would assure them of a quicker arrival in town, WALL-AH a Yello Taxi appeared! 

Received an email from Jennifer around 9:00 pm and she had arrived safe, having consumed a pound of snap peas on the bus trip.  We look forward to another effortless, and very friendly visit soon.  The farm isn’t the same without her, Bob, the cat, misses the extra attention.

Green Mountain Design Workshop 2010

Orange/Blue, Red/Green and Samples

A full class with beginners and very experienced rughookers settled in on Friday, June 4 for three days experimenting with the design elements and principles at the 29th Green Mountain Hooked Rugs School in East Randolph VT.  Each lesson plan’s end result was a five inch square hooked using materials and exercises to understand the particular elements or principles. 

Colorful Explorations began with a neutral bundle of wools in a warm palette of natural to deep brown.  There were solids and textured wools and the lesson was to use the basic elements of line, shape and form to create a simple composition.

Next we introdced a 6 value swatch from Dorr Mill Store.  The color choices were from the primaries: red, blue or yellow and their complements: green, orange and purple. And the lesson was to work with contrast, and value to enhance the depth of a shape.

Yellow/Purple and Hooked mats by Susan Feller

Third lesson the participants chose four pieces of wool from the color they had and its complement.  This pile included several values of solids and three different textured wools.  Each time they were encouraged to delve into their own scrap bags to suplement the wools.  My bag had been previously sorted by color families and was also well scavenged.

Fourth, put all you learned together and if you want to add as many colors, values, textures you want.

I can conduct this workshop in modules of three hours each, and have a 5 day lesson plan which will be used at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario in July.  Interested in your guild playing with small hooked pieces and learning more about how to design and colorplan? Contact me at 304-496-8073 or through the website.  http://www.RuckmanMillFarm.com  (see pages over on the right hand side)