Tag Archives: Rug Hooking Magazine

25 Years Creating

I talk about the Girl Scouting and handwork skills learned while growing up, the BA in Art and History with photography as my creative medium but until Lillian Vale gave me a 15 minute lesson on how to pull loops I was not confident to proclaim: I am an artist. That session was on January 1, 1994, and rug hooking has lead to an amazing journey over 25 years.

First frame

This frame supported hundreds of projects until 2008 when I upgraded to a floor model. I had to pin the backing taught, pulling the push pins out when I needed to move to another part. The first top wore out and Jim made a second one!  I logged every project on the wooden base listing size, start, finish, title and if sold to whom.

 

 

the Spinner, Susan Feller

We do not have many places to store items, but the Pig rug is missing and 1994 was before digital photos. It was a large rounded pig line drawing (no “designer’s name). He was in the center of backing with no other details. However the second rug was my own design – the Spinner. A dream of what we would do when getting into our log cabin. The inspiration was Moravian Pottery mosaics. And rug hooking line drawings lead me to studying fraktur motifs, geometrics, nature and finally the confidence to “paint with wool” as an artist.

Flash through the years, 200 rug patterns, dye recipes, a Design in a Box filled with fraktur templates all as Ruckman Mill Farm are now distributed by Green Mountain Hooked Rugs. I served on boards of national and international rug hooking organizations, vended throughout the US and Canada, wrote a book about Design, sold hundreds of rugs, and exhibited in fine art collections. For the past five years, under a new company ArtWools, I have taught design to fiber artists, advocated for the arts in WV and work in my studio. The best of this journey is my confidence to say I AM AN ARTIST and the many friends I have met along the way.

Working at home

Looking forward to the next years creating.

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.

Educating about Craft

The responsibility of craftspeople is to pass on their skills. Educating is a goal of all rug hooking organizations. During the ATHA Bi-Ennial in Cleveland, OH a panel addressed opportunities for individual members and groups to EDUCATE. Representing the internationals I collected the following stories.

The Australian Rugmakers Guild connects their vast membership using cyberspace, local groups and conferences in different parts of the country. Click on the name of the guild and sign up for their posts. Bec Andersen conducted another community art project. This time with adults for a community center. Three panels were designed and punched then installed.

Yarrabilba Community Centre in 2017. The images of the panels were conceptualised by a group of children using stories of Yarrabilba past and present as inspiration.

Norma Hatchett worked with seniors, the blind and children, her projects are described and photographs in the Oct/Nov/Dec 2013 Newsletter of the Guild on pages 9 and 10 and featured in an article by Josephine Franco in Sept/Oct 2012 Rug Hooking Magazine

Cherished Memories, Childhood Dreams, 10′ x 4′, yarn hooked on hessian with a speed needle.  Designed by Norma Hatchett and created by residents at an Australian hostel for patients with dementia.

Sue Girak is currently coordinating a project to bring awareness of waste products to students. She and her partner are surveying participants through the process, documenting their reactions to materials selected (plastic grocery bags, t-shirts, recycled fabric), methods used to hooked/prod/punch these, personal feelings of waste. A public display of several 6 foot tall fiber footprints will culminate their research. Although this is based in Perth, West Australia our conversation opened an invitation for a US or Canadian group to participate. If seriously interested contact Sue for a survey and parameters (her email is in the attached description)  Walking Together with Pride, Perth, Australia. The Wanneroo Rugmakers have joined in and are using plastic bags and prodding them into two larger than life footprints.

Brightly coloured “toenails” on the right footprint have been hooked using department store coloured plastic bags. The skin is being hooked with plastic bread wrappers. The red/gold prodded flower decorates the strap of the thong sandal

Jo Franco, Editor of Australian Rugmakers Guild wrote about several of these projects in the J/J/A 2016 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine which focused on Education.

In Japan several individuals train generations in the fine techniques of rughooking. Noriko Manago is adept with three-dimensional creatures and children’s designs. She is often seen working with children and their mothers in her Instagram presence at @togemuse

Canadians have the history of working in our crafts with their grandmothers, mothers and siblings and pass this on to the next generation. Val Galvin of British Columbia can be found on Facebook at Renditions in Rags Hooked and Braided Rugs and is profiled on TIGHR.net as one of our Collector’s Cards.

In QuebecKathleen Menzies, is an art teacher. She incorporated a variety of learning elements into a semester long project. The students portraits were translated into values and digitalized for latch-hooking using a program called leftsource.com.  The students evaluated their experience, with one lesson being “do not procrastinate, you might run out of materials along with time.” Here are some more lessons What have we learned by working on this project

Latch Hooked Portraits

The Beaconsfield Rug Hooking Guild is in Montreal area. They coordinated with the Sherwood Elementary School a project to learn rughooking which was inspired by reading the ATHA article Gene Shepherd wrote on educating youth. Every age group reaped rewards from the intergenerational lessons. Check out the album of pictures at Children Rug Hooking .

What I learned from gathering these stories is that a few can inspire many. Working within a school system, creating lesson plans, coordinating funding, and the thrill of communicating with people outside of our comfort network is a more valuable reward than just seeing a completed project. The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers invites members for the cyberspace linking and a triennial general meeting in the host country.

Share your craft with people you do not know, someone will pass it on to others a few years down the road.

 

 

 

Mountaineers talk about Passion-Rughooking

Susan Feller and June Myles presented gallery talks at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week. As West Virginians each appreciate the heritage involved in rughooking and have been featured in WV Living Magazine with their work.

Discussing Marion Sachs’ interpretation of David Galchutt’s art

The topic of Susan’s talk was pointing out the elements and principles of design in the winning entries for Celebrations 27, published by Rug Hooking Magazine. She has been included in three Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs issues and a judge, her work has been juried into several contemporary Hooked Art collections. Author of Design Basics for Rug Hookers, Stackpole Books 2011, her advice has helped many create their own “Great rug.” Involved in promoting the traditions carried on by artistic contemporaries, Susan teaches and lectures worldwide, and is a member of TIGHR, McGown and Surface Design.

 

hooked with wool fabric or yarn juried work. Celebrations 27

June on right during talk

June has been hooking since 1988. She is a graduate of Hollins University in Virginia with a degree in physics, and spent her junior year abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris. She has maintained her interest in science as well as art, serving for three decades as a docent at the American Museum of Natural History. She is the artist and author of the Men Only book and hooked rug collection. The stories June shared about how she selected a newspaper clipping saved for decades, or woodblock from children’s book as subject were encouraging to the audience as resources. She described the variety of materials and techniques used to finish the edges from old chestnut frame by a friendly carpenter to the right beads accenting an Afghanistan fellow.

Attendees said participating in the gallery talks at Sauder Village adds to the learning process for the full exhibit. We encourage you all to take advantage of a docent lead discussion on your next museum visit.

Made by Men theme at Rug Hooking Week

The coordinator of Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village, Archbold, OH is Kathy Wright and her name describes the results every year. 2017 brings attention to the minority gender in the domestic traditional craft of rugmaking — MEN. Exhibits of hooked work by contemporary artists and historical gentlemen alongside of those who manufactured the tools and supplies, the collectors, tradesmen, promoters and restorers will be on display through Saturday August 19.

There are individual displays for each of the men  along with the full collection of over 600 pieces. A story behind each and every item, and I have met many of them in person this week. It has only just begun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many Hands Dyeing

Terminology on labels include descriptive words which conjure up action. One we use in textiles is “hand-dyed”. Here are the visuals behind that phrase from a session lead by Nancy Parcels with wool fabric. She included several great team building exercises such as dividing us into three groups to sort the light, medium and dark values and then as we eagerly shared in the dye pot bounty.

wools drying from session by Nancy Parcels

Marrying colors in the dye pot create a palette to enhance strong colors as a background and secondary motifs. Sort and dye up a pot for your next project.

Ninth Retreat Whitened

Early in April for the past nine years fiber enthusiasts have traveled to Hampshire County, WV for a weekend at Peterkin Camp and Conference Center. Anticipation of renewing friendships, flashes of pinks from native redbuds along Route 50, and pulling loops until midnight energize us.

Snow but no travel on Saturday

Snow but no travel on Saturday

This year the weather included snow! We also had rain on Friday and bright sun on Sunday to travel home. In past years there has been hurricanes, tornadoes, and a full weekend of very warm sunny weather. Mother Nature is fickle in April in West Virginia.

We worked away on a wide variety of rughooking projects. Many of which will be works in progress next year too – they are quite intricate.

Too quickly the packing began and vehicles headed north, south, east and west filled with memories of conversations and visual fun.

Join with a friend or two and pull some loops soon, your mind and work will benefit.

Retreating in the Mountains 2015

The 8th Retreat into the Mountains weekend is over with resounding “YES let’s do this again” from all.  Coming in over the mountains fog slowed the progress into Peterkin Camp and Conference Center on Friday.  Gathering with friends, settling into our nests, sharing the projects we wanted to spend our time on, and learning a variety of finishing techniques were how Friday was spent.  Of course there was food in the dining hall and in-between, all with a healthy approach. Last person left the workroom at 12:30 Saturday morning….

Keri Sue Brunk lead two yoga sessions on Saturday.  The first before breakfast and the second one introducing the practice just before lunch.  She also loosened up the neck, hands and back muscles while we sat in our seats.

The finishing techniques we covered were triple whipping with cording conducted as a hands-on session by Nancy Parcels. Stumbles, success, and appreciation were the compliments we shared with our samples.  Lori LaBerge showed the layering involved to present her work for gallery sales by stitching the hooked work to gray herringbone, stretched onto art board with clean wrapped corners, cloth covering the back all of which is then inserted into a gold rimmed shadowbox frame. A whipped mitered corner was demonstrated from handout by Germaine James of Canada. Debra Smith showed how a picot crocheted edge enhances a whimsical design.

Collection of pin looms

Collection of pin looms

The Falls

The Falls

We played with pin looms ranging in sizes from 2 inch square to 4″ x 6″ and using a variety of yarns and ribbons.  The March/April/May 2015 issue of Rug Hooking Magazine includes an article about continuous weaving incorporating pieces into hooked art. The annual hike to the glen with waterfall and hemlock grove introduced the property at Peterkin to the new attendees on Saturday afternoon.

Jim, Paul, Andy, Rick and Joe

Jim, Paul, Andy, Rick and Joe

Saturday evening we stayed at Peterkin and all of our senses were exposed to a new experience.  Within Hampshire County there are dozens of musicians who jam weekly playing old-time music. I called Paul Roomsburg and he networked with four others. Jim Morris brought instruments made from common objects telling us the history of music. Joe Hypes and Andy Agnew brought along their Rebel Union CDs and played guitar, fiddle and banjo during the evening.  Rick Pegg played the entire three hours standing up with the bass. To say we had a good time would be far from enough compliments to this group of talent.  By the end wooden spoons were tapping away on body parts, our clapping and stomping added to their strings. We all joined in with a rendition of John Denver’s ‘Country Roads‘ and ‘Amazing Grace‘.

Taking photos, studying

Taking photos, studying

2015 attendees

2015 attendees

Sunday was filled with conversations including critiques; suggestions for equipment, material and other workshops; and several successful completed projects.  We “throw down” works onto the wide porch each year and then get together for a group portrait.  Lunch and packing up came too quickly but the dates are set for 2016 and cyberspace will keep us connected until then.

 

Collections at Sauder Village

The 18th Annual Rug Hooking Week at Sauder Village, Archbold, OH is over, preserved in memories and digital snaps.  THE event for fiber enthusiasts will happen again August 12-15, 2015.  Bookmark SauderVillage.org and check in early November for schedule of workshops, vendors and featured exhibits.

Thank you to Rug Hooking Magazine and Sauder Village for sponsoring this show and congratulations to Event Coordinator Kathy Wright.  Look forward to old and new friends next year.

These images capture my digital highlights, the mind is overwhelmed by hundreds more.

New Zealand by Air and Foot

A trip of my lifetime began three years ago when the International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers new board was announced to be based in Australia.  As Past-President of course I was going to attend the tri-ennial conference in the Fall of 2012.  My grandfather taught me to save for a goal and the envelope came out for just that… a trip halfway around the world!  Why not explore another country near the destination?  So New Zealand went on the list.  Internet searching made planning a breeze with Maps, and sites to explore from luxury of homebase.  A few emails and even one phone call to New Zealand confirmed all of the lodging and airplane legs.  And we discussed how to pack for two weeks in a carryon weighing no more than 7kg (15 pounds) and one suitcase.

October 8 dawned and the first leg began.  Drive to Frederick, MD and park my car with a friend while Deb Smith and I continued in her vehicle to Dulles Airport.  Check-in at United for cross-country flight to Los Angeles.  The rest was on Air New Zealand… highly recommended and after our 7 flights with them, I agree. FLY WITH AIR NEW ZEALAND if you can.  In Los Angeles we met up with Linda Rae Coughlin and the threesome continued to Auckland, NZ, through customs and dropped off our luggage for a domestic hop to Rotorua.

Deb and Susan in transit

We arrived in Rotorua, one of the most active thermal regions in the world.  On our list to see were the mud pools, geothermal waters, and steamy volcanic forested areas.  The government of New Zealand wisely realized in the early 1900’s that deforestation without replanting would destroy the economy and ecology.  They mandate every tree which is cut must be replanted and the climate creates quick growth especially in the evergreens.  A REDWOOD forest was planted in that period and the trees have grown to hundreds of feet tall already.  Here the three of us are posing on a tree which fell but then sprouted several “limbs” as new trees. 

Linda Rae, Deb and Susan on Redwood

I decided to drink tea on the trip and found ordering “tea for two” was less expensive than two cups of tea.  Deb and I often shared a pot of English Breakfast. 

Tea at the Rotorua Museum Cafe

One observation is the cost of food either in supermarkets or at restaurants, cafes was higher than in the States until we realized there was NO TIPPING, for any service, taxi, guide, and certainly not waiters.  This does not stiffle service.  Our reaction to New Zealanders in general was friendly, helpful and welcoming; we were encouraged to return to visit the South Island (only one week of travel time), and given added advice before asking.  Tourism must be high on the economic impact list but I felt they all truly enjoyed living in New Zealand and being “Kiwis”.

There is a new envelope with a two dollar coin inside, beginning my return trip to New Zealand.