Tag Archives: fine craft

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.

Tamarack Foundation Fellowship

Tamarack Foundation logo jpeg

During Tamarack Artisan Foundation’s 10th Anniversary celebration three Fellowship Awards were presented for artistic excellence and lifetime commitment to promoting and fostering the arts in West Virginia.  I am honored to have been selected by the review committee along with humanitarian photographer Paul Corbit Brown of Oak Hill and sculptor/author Carter Taylor Seaton from Huntington.

Ex Director Sally Barton; Carter Taylor Seaton, Susan L. Feller and Paul Corbit Brown

Exec. Director Sally Barton; Carter Taylor Seaton, Susan L. Feller and Paul Corbit Brown

The support for artists within West Virginia is unique in the United States.  TAMARACK at Beckely was the first facility built as an entrepreneurial opportunity for all art/craftsmen in our state.  Since 1979 a Bi-Ennial Juried Exhibition with $30,000 in awards funded through the Division of History and Culture has acquired for the State Museum contemporary works.

The Tamarack Foundation is extremely important to the proliferation and continuation of art made in West Virginia because it raises funds from corporate and private donors and distributes these by supporting artists to create a national market; grants and awards for juried shows and lifetime achievement; and acts as ambassador and lobbyists for independant craftspeople.

I submitted a project to research the social environment of Blanche and Otha McDonald of Letter Gap, WV during the 1960’s as they created fiber works using hand sewing techniques (including ‘faux hooking’).  The funds will help in travel expenses to catalog stories and images of works from collectors into a publication with step-by-step directions for fiber artists to be inspired to create contemporary works.  Teaching these skills and the story of these two independant women is my goal.

Flowers for the McDonald Sisters, Susan L. Feller

Flowers for the McDonald Sisters, 2013 Susan L. Feller hooked, trapunto, braiding, beads

Best of West Virginia 2013 at Tamarack

The summer show at Tamarack in Beckley, WV is titled “The Best of West Virginia”.  Juried, 400 pieces were reviewed and 140 selected with awards given for Best in Show, 1st-3rd and Honorable Mention.  The gallery exhibit and SALE is up through August 2.

This year I entered a traditional design inspired by floral Fraktur motifs.  It was selected and hangs as a stunning piece of art right next to the Best in Show photograph.  Guess that is good real estate.  Visit facebook Tamarack WV and look for the photos of opening to catch a glimpse of Caraway Garden Runner over the shoulder of the Best in Show winner.

"Caraway Garden Runner" 18 x 52 designed & hooked by Susan L. Feller  2013

I decided to use a restricted palette of reds and oranges stretching this by including warm and cool members of each hue.  The foliage is dull sage greens, neutral to the flowers.  It has been some time since warm yellow was the background for a design but it lends a bright cheery mood to the feeling of “Caraway Garden Runner”. 

Working from one end to the other, and alternating light and dark values in motifs (sort of), this runner was a delight yet challenging piece.  I found the limiting palette needed some pick me ups and worked turquoise and purples into centers and the central motif.

Originally the edge was going to be a simple 1/4″ of red whipping yarn but that seemed too delicate for the raucous yellow.  Looking back at Frakturs (PA German illuminated manuscripts) I pulled from their border techniques a simple geometric repeat to edge and contain the organic shapes.  Using the yellows and greens I alternated pulling a loop which is a technique called “beading” in rughooking.  It looks as if there are contrasting beads strung around the border.  Still not satisfied that a thin red line would be enough, I played with widths of red fabric, settling on a 1 1/2″ wide one. 

The design is available as a pattern for fellow rughookers at www.RuckmanMillFarm.com Below are some detail images, Enjoy.  Click on the first image to view them larger in sequence.

Working on a Commission

The following series takes you through an exciting design project.  I was contacted in August of 2012 and the rug was delivered on April 5, 2013.  This design reflects the owner’s creativity in building their home and the natural site they chose.  In retrospect I would call the style Arts and Crafts (my mind and creativity are intertwined with the process).  The size is 40″ x 84″ and I used #8 cuts (1/4″ wide hand cut strips of wool) hooked through a primitive linen.

Steps involved contact from client based on a label on previous small mat purchased four years earlier.  We arranged a visit to the home to see surroundings, meet and discuss site in house, size, color, environment.  Three sketches were sent, the selected one was then drawn to scale and brought to the house with wools for color and approval.  At this point an estimated time for completion was established and deposit put down.  Wool prep including dyeing began and the hooking process is illustrated.  On final delivery the owners walked on the rug, and I photographed it at home.

Juried into 7Stitch: Kentucky Surface Design Exhibit

Exciting email today, juror Jane Dunnewold, President of Surface Design Association accepted “Haying Stages” into the upcoming 7Stitch: Contemporary Textile Art from Kentucky & the Surrounding States exhibit at Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky. 

Coordinated by the Kentucky region of Surface Design, the collection of 35 fiber works will open on June 1 with a reception from 3-5pm at the Claypool-Young Art Gallery and continues through August 30, 2013.

Hampshire Highlands Studio Tour 2012

The first full weekend in December for the past 5 years has meant visitors and locals shopping at Hampshire County studios.  DECEMBER 7-9 are the dates this year, and I have just finished some fun items hooked with wool. Hope some of you can come out to Hampshire County on the weekend and visit with us.  This year our log  home is open with my work hanging among the other artist’s pieces we collect, a great opportunity to see Jim’s log house and our working studio. 

IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO COME BY BUT SEE SOMETHING INTERESTING, Email me at rugs2wv@yahoo.com and ask if it is still available, we would ship!

PINS which are 2″ x 3″, each titled and labeled are $25 each.

Push/Pull, Up Hill, Shadows in the Valley, Moonlit Hill

Push/Pull, Up Hill, Shadows in the Valley, Moonlit Hill


Starry Night, Fall Road, Fall Stream, Coppery Moon

Starry Night, Fall Road, Fall Stream, Coppery Moon

There are several 8″ x 10″ mats for $90. Many with complimentary mini 5″ square mats at $25.

Coloring Box: 8 x 10 mat

Coloring Box: 8 x 10 mat


Orange Flame, Geode, Energy Paths, Hayfield and Sumac

Orange Flame, Geode, Energy Paths, Hayfield and Sumac


Nature's Beauty, Apple Blossoms in the Valley, Jewel Light

Nature’s Beauty, Apple Blossoms in the Valley, Jewel Light

Fall Leaves 8 x 10

Fall Leaves 8 x 10

Sky Through Honeycomb 8 x 10

Sky Through Honeycomb 8 x 10

We have a new “designer” BOB (the second female tabby cat named Bob) and yes the first one is still around.

Bob with Layers and Celebrate each $165

Bob with Layers and Celebrate each $165

Painting With Wool

Congratulations to Pat Levin and the Artisans Gallery, 114 North Prince Street, Lancaster, PA for coordinating an artistic exhibit (and sale) of hooked works.  The artists representing the full range of techniques and design styles in this Septemer show are: Judy Carter, Peggy Hannum, Cindy Irwin, Pat Levin, Marie Sugar and Margaret Irwin.

Think of supporting these artists by purchasing a holiday gift or art for your own collection and stop in through September 29.  www.114ArtisansGallery.com. Each Saturday from noon until 3:00 there will be demonstrations and an opportunity to meet one of the artists

Best of West Virginia 2012 Juried Exhibition

Two works were juried into the 2012 “Best of West Virginia” Exhibit in Tamarack’s David L. Dickirson Fine Arts Gallery this summer. The exhibit is open through August 18, 2012 at Tamarack-WV in Beckley, WV just off I64 and I77.

Vein of Energy-Coal, Susan L. Feller 2012

 This piece is 10″ x 40″ created using alpaca yarns spun by Capon Bridge Fiber Works and incorporating as-is wools in the neutral palette of a geological Vein of Energy-Coal, the lifeblood of so many people in our state.  The fibers spoke organically to me as I worked pulling loops of intertwined values to compose the pockets of minerals.  The tactile experience of different fibers slipping through my fingers and rhymic pace loop pulling produces takes me to a pleasurable creative zone both physically and mentally.


Fire in the Mountains by Susan L. Feller

  Another neutral palette, this time using hand dyed wool, alpaca and synthetic yarns.  The techinques include fiber hooking, and applique.  To emphasize the foreground and distant skyline I stitched fabric to the linen backing which was the foundation for the entire work.  The backing can be seen as the field behind the treeline.  See an earlier post for the thought process I went through to “finish” the piece.  This piece has sold.

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.

Beyond Rugs! Opens at Farnsworth Museum

Contemporary textile artists using traditional forms of rug making are recognized in a major art Museum exhibit.  The Farnsworth Museum in Rockland Maine opened their second collection focusing on rug hooking.  The current show is up until February 5, 2012.  Visit http://www.farnsworthmuseum.org/ and select Beyond Rugs!for an online catalog.  The curators’ statements address this monumental decision to highlight artists using fabric to portray personal and timely issues. The two images below are works by Susan included in the collection.  

Iconic Liberty by Susan L. Feller

Riches to Rags by Susan L. Feller