My roots in Girl Scouting guides choices even in this decade of my life. Using scraps from another maker helps them clear space, lowers my expenses and increases a supply of materials but especially helps the earth … limiting landfill growth. We recycled in the 1960’s now it is called up-cycling and the Girl Scout motto includes “Make new friends and keep the old”, I definitely have expanded the artist network with this quest.
Wendy Clark is a fiber artist, weaving her hand-dyed threads/yarns into scarves, shawls and baby wraps through her company Wenweave in the mountains of West Virginia. She collects thrums (warp threads tied off between pieces) for me into garbage sized bags and then we meet up for the exchange. I get her “rats nest“ and we some inspiring conversation. One visit the talking lead to collaborating on a project. Hours after I have organized the threads they are ready to be hooked and embroidered into what I call my Thread Collection. Here are a couple from that series, the full collection will be available at Beckley Art Center during my exhibit August 7-October 17, 2020.
In future workshops bundles of these colorful threads will be shared with students and go out in the world of creatives spreading our mutual friendship and love for sharing. I send off the snippets from my work to a spinner who incorporates them into colorful yarn. Zero Waste!
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.
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.
Finally! It took a year but on November 6, 2010 Jim and I travelled 5 hours to Beckley, WV to the afternoon session of jurying at TAMARACK-“the Best of West Virginia” and by 4:30 we got the good news: I was accepted for work in FINE CRAFT. Six pieces were reviewed for technique, materials, design and I received a perfect score from the jurors.
Rainbow of Trees by Susan L. Feller
This means that rughooking will be represented in upcoming gallery shows at TAMARACK. I am proud to represent this craftform to an audience geared toward seeing craft at its finest..as ART. The extra work I put into finishing the backs of the stretched pieces, and overall presentation added to the value and worth of the textiles. One fine artist when I showed her my stitched cloth backing, said “That looks professional.” I will share these tips with rughookers in upcoming workshops and to anyone who inquires here.