Vicki Hardcastle is a fiber artist and new member of the Arkansas Craft Guild. Vicki has lived in Eureka Springs since the early 90s and is the sole proprietor of Hardcastle Folk Art store in Berryville on the Square. Her juried acceptance to the Guild was during her participation Dec. 2-4 in the 44th Annual Arkansas Craft Guild Christmas Showcase, Little Rock.
Vicki Hardcastle made her artisan debut over 40 years ago in southeastern Oklahoma. She found that her most enjoyable art form involved working with wool within the 19th century craft of rug hooking, then over time Vicki expanded to needle felting due to her love for fiber arts and vintage wares. Vicki’s unique vision allowed her to create uncommon conceptions, born of local culture and materials. Working art and craft shows throughout a multi-state region, she easily made a name for herself through designs that characterized life in the mountains.
Vicki explains, “My needle felted figures are made with hand dyed wool in two styles: folky animals, birds and dolls, or imaginative, funky, even creepy figures to make people laugh. Included in most felted pieces is something from my junk collection, as I love adding something hard to the softness of the wool."
Vicki’s rug hooking style is very folk oriented using mostly primitive colors of hand dyed wool in her original designs. “I have done many mixed media rugs where I include needle felting, ‘Proddy,’ and other techniques and fibers.” Proddy is the technique of pulling short strips of shaped fabric up through backing fabric to the surface for a three-dimensional effect. An example of this type of rug hooking can be seen at Vicki's member page (button below).
Rug hooking is a true folk art and is taught person to person in small groups or at camps. Vicki has been taught by nearly 20 teachers from across the country and even England. “I learned rug hooking in a class I took in Eureka Springs in the late 1990’s. My very first needle felting was at a rug camp, just a little side class, but mostly I am self taught.”
Today, from the Hardcastle Folk Art shop at 404 Public Square, Berryville, AR 72616, Vicki continues to inspire those interested in these almost lost arts originally called a necessity. From hand dyed wools to rug hooking, classes and more, Vicki’s contributions are many and varied for new generations of fiber arts lovers. Connect with her on Facebook.com/HardcastleFolkArt.