Susan Ferraro ended our conversation with an inside joke popular among fiber artists: “It’s always fun to talk about being a hooker.”

We had a good laugh. She was, of course, talking about the kind of hooking that creates beautiful rugs, pillows and wall hangings. Ferraro has been hooking for seven years. It’s a pastime she took up as she transitioned from more precise sewing projects that were harder on her eyes. Instead of working with tiny threads, Ferraro found that hooking used larger strips of fabric that were easier to handle.

“It’s like coloring in a coloring book,” she said.

Ferraro’s work includes sassy-looking shorebirds skittering across pillows, upright bunnies holding paws and dancing, colorful fish, and dragonflies on a footstool. Some of her work is dimensional, and incorporates objects such as dichroic beads and vintage buttons – even lighting. Her designs are inspired, she says, by her home on Bailey Island. “Every day is inspiration,” she said. “It’s ridiculously beautiful here.”

Right now, she’s working on a scallop wall hanging, nearly five feet wide, that she started after watching a local fisherman dive for scallops.

Ferraro, who dyes her own yarns, has shown her work all over the country, including beautiful hangings of shells that will never be put on a floor.

“People thought years ago that quilts were just made to be put on your bed, and then they evolved and started to become wall hangings and things like that,” she said. “I think hooking is getting that opportunity right now.”

Ferraro calls her business Artisan CSF – the letters are her initials. She has a Facebook page where people can view her work, and she will ship it out, but the only retail store that carries it is Gifts at 136 in Damariscotta. Most of her work goes for $75 a foot, plus materials and extras. Her average sales are $85-$125, but a large piece such as the scallop would go for $650 or so.

Ferraro will have an exhibit at the Harpswell town hall next April through June.

 

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