Tamarack textile artisan’s vibrant fabrics and patterns stitch together a unique story
Suzanne Kniceley has sewn herself into TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia. She recently completed the process to jury into Tamarack with a perfect score, establishing herself as one of the newest member of this diverse artisan community.
Kniceley makes a wide range of purses and accessories, as well as children’s clothing, toys, custom orders and alterations. Her business, Kniceley Sewn, is based in Shinnston, W.Va.
“If it is something that can be sewn, we will give it a try,” Kniceley said.
In July, 2013 Kniceley’s colorful and diverse merchandise became available for purchase at Tamarack. Her best-seller, a spacious cinched hobo bag called “Petunia,” features a thick strap woven through 16 metal eyelets and is designed to allow the user to shrink or expand the purse depending on its content.
Kniceley, like her vibrant fabrics and patterns, is a unique story stitched together. She comes from a long line of West Virginians with a history deeply rooted in needlework. She vividly recalls sitting at her mother’s feet at the sewing machine as a child, learning the trade and family legacy at just six years old.
Her passion, passed down from generation to generation, has evolved into a sustainable, thriving business. Tamarack has not only opened business opportunities for Kniceley, but also instilled confidence and pride in her work.
“It almost feels like you are going home because everyone is so nice and obliging,” Kniceley said. “People at Tamarack understand what goes into products being handmade, and you always feel like your art is being embraced and cared about there.”
For Kniceley, Tamarack has always been held in high regard amongst her family. Selling her merchandise in-store is a dream come true for Kniceley.
“When I visited Tamarack in 1999 as a middle school student, I remember thinking ‘That is the dream,’” Kniceley said. “I am so honored to now be a part of West Virginia’s greatest stage for art and culture.”
Kniceley said her sewing business is very fulfilling and she is eager to pass down her skills and values to her two young children.
“I’m proud of being able to take the gift God gave me and use it to provide for my family and to show my kids that if you have a passion for something and you believe in it and really pursue it, it will happen,” she said.
For now, sewing will remain a part-time business for Kniceley. She also serves as a substitute teacher in Harrison County and cares for her two young children. She enjoys the flexibility of running her own business and inspires to eventually convert her passion and talent for sewing into a full-time career.
TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia, the nation’s first statewide collection of handmade crafts, art and cuisine, in an imaginative shopping and dining experience. Open Daily – 364 days a year. Tamarack is located off I-77/I-64 in Beckley, W.Va. To learn more, visit www.tamarackwv.com or call 1-88-TAMARACK.