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A Community Learns to Pull Loops: Over Time A Mat is Made

A unique blend of art and community engagement was hosted at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston, West Virginia. Art After Dark is a vibrant event with live music and art demonstrations by local artists. Offering free access to the Juliet Art Museum at the Center, it allows community members to immerse themselves in creativity. 

Make-and-Take Art at Art After Dark in the Juliet Art Museum at The Clay Center.

At the heart of Art After Dark lies the opportunity to delve deeper into the featured exhibit alongside its creators. The featured exhibit, Stories are Made Loop by Loop, was curated by artist Susan Feller. Joined by artist Domenica Zara Queen, Feller and Queen made themselves available to discuss their stories and their artwork, offering a unique insight into the inspiration behind their rug hooking creations. 

In addition to the featured exhibit, local members of the Kanawha City Yarn Company demonstrated and guided the public to “pull some loops” and create a community mat. This inclusive atmosphere fostered collaboration and community spirit as participants came together to celebrate the art of rug hooking.

Artist Susan Feller leads a gallery talk about rug hooking and the Stories are Made Loop by Loop exhibition.
Artist Domenica Zara Queen(right) teaching how to hook rugs using plastic bags.

The community mat is a collaborative project that invites participation from both visitors and artists. One person learns to pull loops and passes their new skill on to the next person, proving it’s accessible to all ages and skill levels. The community mat steadily takes shape. 

The community mat project also serves as an interactive educational display complementing the Stories are Made Loop by Loop exhibit. Throughout June, visitors and school groups are invited to learn the basics of this traditional craft using simple directions printed from Rug Hooking Magazine. 

Rounding out the educational components of the exhibit are opportunities to see how Domenica Queen uses the art of rug hooking with plastic bags and journaling to design a mat project with Susan Feller. 

Once the exhibit draws to a close, the completed community mat will be donated to the museum, serving as a lasting testament to the collaborative spirit fostered within the community. 

theclaycenter.org/exhibits/storiesaremadeloopbyloop  

Top Image: Elizabeth Simmons, Juliet Art Museum director at The Clay Center, Charleston, West Virginia, demonstrates pulling hoops at an interactive educational display complementing the Stories are Made Loop by Loop exhibition.

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Cami Smith is the Fiber Art Now media manager, a contributing editor, and a mixed-media artist.

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