We gather objects to remember places and people especially collecting them from fellow artists. I like to wear jewelry made by artist friends when traveling, it is as much of an ambassador as I am. We often photograph our flowers in the art vases, new artwork hanging on log walls, and even show great food on our trips sharing our experiences with an “extended family”. Thank you to Kate Harward, Ginger Danz, Christine Keller,Norma Acord, Donald Stone, Wendy Clark, Rebecca Wudarski, Mountain Daughter Metalworks, Bruce Wilson and Marilyn Bottjer for your talent we live with daily.
I am planning to explore places, interact with friends and react to artwork daily in 2017, perhaps we will meet up on our journeys and share some experiences.
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.
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.
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, 2013 Susan L. Feller hooked, trapunto, braiding, beads
The studio has offered me organized space to work and explore. Several pieces were submitted to different juried and invitational shows.
Haying Stages was accepted in 7Stitch shown at Morehead State College in Morehead, KY this summer. It was a Surface Design exhibit and juried by the President Jane Dunnewold. It was also accepted in the WV Div of Culture and History Biennial Juried Exhibition to be hung in the Dunn Building in Martinsburg, November 24- Feb 27, 2014.
Iconic Liberty received first place in West Virginia in the national theme American Heritage for the NSDAR.
Caraway Garden Runner was accepted along with Veins of Energy – Coal in the Best of West Virginia juried show at TAMARACK in Beckley, WV.
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.
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.
Fall is the perfect season to visit the Mountain State of West Virginia. Our foliage colors include rich burgundy, rust, golds from the hardwoods offsetting the evergreen pines and hemlocks. Two destinations which include great gift shopping are Thomas near the highest peak (Spruce Knob) and Canaan Valley in northern West Virginia and Beckley in the south.
Several hooked pins ranging in size from a two inch wide bar to 2 x 3 pictorials have been delivered to MountainMade in downtown Thomas. The notecards are available through this shop only or online at RuckmanMillFarm.com
Tree pins 2 x 3
Sets of 5 inch square and 8 x 10 mats are at Tamarack in Beckley. They will be available as individual items but I do hope some stay together.
Every piece I have created was a joy and unique experience. Selecting the fabrics in colors and values and deciding the direction to hook affects the final look. I hope the recipients are drawn to look closely and enjoy them for years to come.
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.
#2 and #1 Hay Roll Shadows Winter. Susan L. Feller 2012
Hampshire County WV skyline
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.
The following three works were juried into exhibitions and/or publications this year. This exposes the traditional craft of rughooking to a contemporary art audience. Hope you can visit one or all of the exhibitions: State Museum, Culture Center, 1900 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 304-558-0220 for hours Tamarack, One Tamarack Park, Beckley, WV 1-888-TAMARACK
June 19-Aug 13 Sauder Village, Archbold, OH www.Saudervillage.org Rug Hooking Week
Celebrations XXI published by Stackpole Books August 2011