Tag Archives: fine craft

Searching for Inspiration

5 inch hooked mats Susan L Feller

5 inch hooked mats Susan L Feller

Granted I have 365 sketches to “inspire” me creatively. But there is something about beginning to do that has eluded me for a block of time. Don’t fret, we are not holed up here in the mountains though rather traveled to new museums and collected inspiring details.

 

 

Studying a favorite, Georgia O'Keefe

Studying a favorite, Georgia O’Keefe

The Chrysler Museum of Art is in Norfolk, VA and open (free) every day. Galleries are filled chronologically covering worldwide history. The contemporary exhibits change and a separate Glass Studio includes opportunities to watch work in progress.
Labeling can add to the experience and the information with the artwork enhances our understanding of time and technique. We also found the docents to be the friendliest and most knowledgeable.

 

Shadows in Contemporary Gallery

Shadows in Contemporary Gallery

 

At the Michener Museum, Doylestown, PA  color was abundant. Kaffe Fassett presented “Blanket Statements” exhibiting quilts from a British collection alongside the contemporary results through Feb 21, 2016.

 

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Bucks County Impressionist collection

Bucks County Impressionist collection

The Michener collection focuses on regional artwork and features the talent of Bucks County Impressionists hung in a salon manner with labels as handouts not interspersed on the wall.

Inspiration can and should come from traveling. Vancouver, BC was an exciting trip filled with Emily Carr’s vast Pacific Northwest rainforest, city structure, and studio visits. All made extra special by spending with several art friends.

Shapes, texture, color, scale and awe.

Then there are the every day scenes filled with memories that can trigger a design.  I am energized by selecting these scenes and with a snow storm predicted will gather materials and tools for a long weekend of creating.  Hope you too are prepared or will find inspiration in the days ahead.

 

Documenting Work

Two paths converge with my work: history and art. Documenting who created the artwork begins the archival trail for future researchers, bringing “life” to an object.

The squares are not individually signed within the work but I am stitching a label to each along with the online archival record at Year Study.

Those which are framed include labeling in several steps.

Thrilled with the end results – a unique piece of art, off to its new home.

 

Revealing Squares

4-24-14 Positive Negative; hooked

4-24-14 Positive Negative; hooked

I am thrilled to announce the administrative work is completed and you can virtually explore the Year Study – square by square.  Review the exhibit here online.

From November 2013, through November 2014 the  individual squares are listed for sale at squareup.com/store/Susan-Feller-ArtWools select STORE then the month you are interested in or scroll through. Sold pieces are not listed on the sale site but you can still study them at www.ArtWools.com/year-study.

Looking forward to conversations in person, here online and through articles about creativity, process and product.

Premiering Year Study at Sauder

Year Study Journals

Year Study Journals

One month to go! The prep work is administrative now – scanning journal pages, photographing, cropping and uploading images and creating labels for the only public exhibit of all 365+ squares.  The YEAR STUDY will be hung as twelve panels (months) at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week in Archbold, OH August 12-15. On Saturday morning I am conducting a gallery talk, sign up for this or enjoy the visuals while at the show.

The variety of techniques, materials and composition styles are sure to encourage fiber artists. Taking the time to educate myself with these elements has been more important than I first expected.  As an artist there are times when everything clicks and volumes of pieces are the results.  The satisfaction of sales and ease in making similar work just keeps flowing along.

BUT I have observed the spark of the artist does not end up in every one of their pieces. Back in my college days when a roll of photographs was taken there was probably only one or maybe two which were great, artists know when the object has a soul.

Working in uncertainty everyday to create a visual record was helpful to learn how to communicate visually.  Besides improving drawing skills I learned to simplify, enhance shapes, use colors and values to direct the viewer. Using a variety of techniques within one square, I have been able to create interest in a small object.

Several themes are haunting me and the studio has been reorganized, purged of clutter and is ready to be used for creativity. While cutting up the panels and adding the finishing to each square is still ahead, knowing they will be purchased and enjoyed by others makes this step enjoyable along with educational.

Let me introduce you

The best way to meet is through a friend. Here are some West Virginia artists I recommend:

Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson

 

Michael Anderson is multi-talented from computer guru (my go-to guy) to photography and linocuts. He can be found on Facebook at Michael Anderson and is updating a website for online sales of print work.

 

 

2015 wenweave Collection

2015 wenweave Collection

 

Wendy Clark weaves her own hand dyed yarns into scarves, wraps and purses. The wild and wonderful scenery surrounding a comfortable log home studio provide inspiration and a necessary peaceful environment.  Her collections are sold nationally and on her website wenweave.com

 

 

Nellie Rose Textiles

Nellie Rose Textiles

Nellie Rose Davis grew up with parents manipulating fabrics and immersing them in dye pots creating colorful shibori garments and accessories. With her own flare, NellieRose scarves and dresses are marketed through national galleries thanks to assistance from the Tamarack Foundation’s From WV to Urban Markets.  Look for them in your local gallery or online at NellieRoseTextiles.com

 

Jan Dodgins

Jan Dodgins

 

Jan Dodgins shows us the beauty of West Virginia through her camera lens often coming close to wild animals and flora.

Connect with Jan on Facebook at Jan Dodgins

 

 

Lisa Kovatch NICHE Winter 2015

Lisa Kovatch NICHE Winter 2015

 

Lisa Kovatch can be found at WestWind Potters in Harpers Ferry, WV. This shop is filled with American Made artwork (including my mats and artwork) and is a great destination when visiting the National Park of Harpers Ferry.  Her own line of pottery has been selected as a 2015 NICHE Finalist, and is sold nationally under the name of LK Pottery

 

 

Michael O'Brien

Michael O’Brien


Michael O’Brien
works in stained glass, mixed media, and drawings all built up in layers of materials creating stories. The musician side can be found jamming in a variety of styles with Hampshire County friends. His work is available at Anderson’s Corner, 8 West Main Street, Romney and  you can meet Michael there during the Highlands Studio Tour in the fall. His web presence is at mkobrien333.tumblr.com

 

Rebecca Wudarski

Rebecca Wudarski

 

Rebecca Wudarski makes Tucker County her home and muse. A musician, mixed media artist and barista at Tip Top Coffees in Thomas, Rebecca lives an artist’s lifestyle. Visit her website and look around www.RebeccaWudarksi.com

 

Progress in the Mountains

Progress in the Mountains, Susan L. Feller 2015

Progress in the Mountains, Susan L. Feller 2015

After three years of muddling over this topic I created “Progress in the Mountains“, a seven foot by 27 inch hand hooked runner.

Envision the impact on geography, environment, culture and community the human drive for progress has had on the natural resources of West Virginia (a micro example of the globe).

1. Major interstate highways create jobs for the construction industry, allow quicker access to towns and destinations for tourism and commerce but disturb migration paths, feeding and lodging habitat for fauna and flora.

2. Corporate farming in the form of one breed of cattle, poultry buildings for thousands, and processing plants for each creates excess of waste which needs to be distributed by vehicles to wider destinations or processed into a stable by-product.

3. Lumbering of the forests, many of which were contract planted for the pulp or board feet affects the terrain.  The undergrowth is necessary to keep erosion from happening, contributing to pollutants in the rivers.  Slow traffic from lumber trucks is alleviated with the new highway system.

4. Coal mining strips the tops of mountains to find the veins, moving the waste often into headwaters of small streams which will run into the major river systems.  But the coal is used to create electricity for the metropolitan population’s requirements to communicate, work, entertain.  The power lines to distribute the energy create wide cuts in direct paths economical for the corporations taking years of negotiating with landowners, environmentalists, historians and politicians but eventually “for the good of the majority” being implemented.

5. Wind turbines line the highest ridge lines feeding the energy generated into those power lines again going out of our state to the metropolitan region.  Although a regenerable resource (wind) the effect on birds’ migratory paths is being studied.

I find it interesting to use a traditional hands-on process of pulling one loop at a time, manipulating the fabric into shapes and directions (rug hooking) to depict these issues of the 21st Century.  For months this design was drawn horizontally spreading the seven feet with layers of hills, roads and power lines intersecting the organic shapes.  It did not seem to be the right format. Finally in my daily journal on June 27 I tried a vertical format and could see more layers allowing a longer trail to be able to tell more stories.  The piece evolved easily from there.

Study for Progress in the Mountains

Study for Progress in the Mountains

Working this runner was like reading a great book, each chapter and character held my interest. They built on previous sections with shapes, colors and values evolving along the path, progressing to the top and end.  Imagine walking along, following the flow of road and hills then turning around and coming back down the mountain in your hallway.

Following are subjects taken along the Robert C. Byrd Highway system in Hardy County, WV and the rug in stages of completion.

 

Opening of ‘Hooked Art 2014’

Entrance to UConn Gallery Hooked Art 2014

Entrance to UConn Gallery Hooked Art 2014

Opening Receptions are great opportunities to meet artists and view artwork and Saturday , October 25 was no exception.

Fifteen of the 18 artists were in attendance to discuss and enjoy the 55 contemporary textile works curated by Liz Alpert Fay in the 10th exhibit sponsored by Newtown Hooked Art Shows with Sherry Paisley.

Conversations between artists included topics on process, progress and future studio work while audience members were overheard saying their work would be influenced by the innovative directions they observed on the walls at the UConn Gallery on Stamford, CT campus.

Below are two images of work included in this exhibition of contemporary hooked art on view at UConn Gallery in Stamford, CT through November 29.  Visit if you can and enjoy the scale of each interacting with the others.

See www.NewtownHookedArtShows.com fora  link about hours and directions.  A review in Fiber Art Now magazine Fall 2014 issue includes an interview with Juror of Awards-Lee Kogan, Curator Emerita American Folk Art Museum, New York City.

I am happy to announce receipt of a travel grant from WV Div of Culture and History for my trip to the opening and a luncheon with fellow artists.  The grant allowed me to meet with my peers, view their work and discuss future fiber projects outside of the State of West Virginia.

December Studies

It was exciting to put out two months of squares and see the variety of techniques, materials, subjects and color/values.  I have found it challenging to keep coming up with new images and then decided I do not have to.  Revisiting a composition and changing some element involves experimenting.  The landscape subjects are especially good to look at again, weather and seasons change the details.  SNOW brings out high contrast and changes shapes along with visual focus.

Not surprising, the December squares are filled with white and neutrals.  Color still abounds, but like spring in the Arizona Desert you need to look closely.  Bluebirds flitting, holly berries, sky blue, the warmth of our wooden buildings are all examples represented this month.  Enjoy a sampling including some subjects photographed but sketched from memory.  First a blank slate staring at me on January first:

January 2014

January 2014

 

Support the Arts

 

Willow 21st Century, Susan L. Feller

Willow 21st Century, Susan L. Feller

One hundred years ago craftsmen and women dedicated their skills to creating work by hand.  The Arts and Crafts movement is alive today. As a lifestyle or during a piece of their time, artisans and arts organizations are presenting unique objects to reflect on in your personal environment.  This was a long way of suggesting you BUY ART, buy from an artist you met or who’s story is communicated to you at a gallery, BUY LOCAL.

I am grateful for the support of clients who chose original pieces from the studio and through Tamarack in Beckley, WV.  Those of you who are working up rug patterns or using our dyed wools from Ruckman Mill Farm, thank you.  To the participants in workshops this year I look forward to seeing your personal designs.

We purchased these pieces for our collection.  I am sure each artist has some more work if you are interested. Look up Lori LaBerge, Gail Becker, Marie Sugar or visit my work at Ruckman Mill Farm. One was purchased at an auction supporting ATHA, one through an art gallery during a hooked art exhibit, and one directly from the artist.  I admired each of the individuals work before and was happy to be able to select tangible memories.