Fine Arts student Libbie Farrell’s artwork featured in LA show
Third-year Fine Arts student Libbie Farrell made the most of her time at home during the pandemic. In Cold Lake, AB during the summer between her first and second year, she taught herself rug hooking. She specializes in sculpture and printmaking at Mount Allison, but her artistic practice also includes textile and fibre arts (fabric and yarn).
“I have always sewed and made little things with yarn, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I learned rug hooking,” she says. “Home in Alberta, I thought I might as well learn the most East Coast craft there is.”
This past summer, Farrell took her new artform even further by establishing her own rug hooking business through a Heather Reisman Entrepreneurship Internship — a program through the Experiential Learning and Career Development office that provides funding and coaching support for students to start a new business, funded by a gift from The Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation. She created approximately 20 custom rugs, which were sold online all over the world, including Sweden.
“The internship taught me that working as an independent artist can be a viable career path and that it’s a lot of work to run your own business,” says Farrell.
During her internship she connected with the online fibre arts and rug hooking community, where she found out about an art show Tufted Rugs at the newly-established Pandemic Folk Art Museum (PFAM) in LA. She applied and was accepted to the show, which featured two of her rugs in the month-long show — Quilt Rug and Miss Swamp Thing.
“It’s encouraging to see my work out there on a less local scale and to see that people appreciate rug hooking as a form of art,” she says.
Farrell’s work was also featured in an art forum article on Hyperallergic, entitled “New Folk Art Museum Celebrates the Rise of Craft During the Pandemic.” She found out about the article through fellow Allisonian, local rug hooker, and artist Alexandrya Eaton (’91), who was her mentor during the internship.
Farrell is always looking for different ways to expand her art practice and plans to pursue a Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA) after Mount Allison.
“I am constantly experimenting and trying new things with my practice,” she says. “If I didn’t try rug hooking, I wouldn’t know I love it.”