Tracey McCracken Palmer: A new 'brush' at QuickDraw

By Margaret Roberts | May 07, 2014

Well, technically, it’s not a brush she uses. This week’s featured artist Tracey McCracken Palmer creates works of art with wool and a felting needle. Her art is called felted landscapes, and I was struck by their beauty and originality the moment I first saw them.

Tracey is a local artist (McCracken/Palmer) and was born in Clyde. Raised in a creative family, she was influenced by her father who studied carving in college and her mother, a gifted seamstress and home decorator. As is often the case with artistically inclined parents, they encouraged the creativity of their children.

Tracey received a sketch pad when she had a brief stay in the hospital as a youngster. She taught herself to draw through observation, trial and error. High school art classes introduced her to new mediums; acrylics, watercolors and pastels.

In her senior year she took a three-hour independent painting elective that she loved. That experience probably was a defining moment in her life that determined her future as an artist. Tracey’s art education in school is just one example of how important the support of QuickDraw is to Haywood County’s schools.

Tracey simply loves to create art. She has worked in many mediums and has taken various classes at Haywood Community College over the years. She is basically self taught though and is inspired by artists whom she studies such as Bev Dolittle. Her Scottish ancestry draws her to the artist Willie Fulton from the Isle of Harris and also Moy MacKay, whose book gave Tracey her beginning instruction in felted landscapes.

Local artists Jo Ridge Kelly and Jack Stern inspire her as well. You can see her love of the mountains in her work. I was stunned to see “Max Patch” in felted wool. I knew where it was the moment I saw it. Somehow she captures the "feel of place” in her work.

Her technique is not easy to describe so I look forward to seeing her demonstrate at QuickDraw on May 17 at Laurel Ridge Country Club. She will also be at Twigs and Leaves Gallery on June 6 for Art After Dark and again at Twigs and Leaves on June 14 for the Appalachian Lifestyle Celebration.

Tracey’s original work can be viewed at Twigs and Leaves Gallery in Waynesville and reproductions of her works on cards are sold at The Village Framer, also in Waynesville.