The Appalachian Designer
Jill LaFear believes that, with the right group of people, anything is possible. It’s a theme she’s embraced throughout her life and one that carried her through the inception of her creative design firm, Ackenpucky, in Huntington. She chose “ackenpucky,” an Appalachian colloquialism meaning a meal composed of unspecified ingredients, often stew, as the name for her design firm because, like with the meal, “the variety of individual projects and challenges mutually influence every creative task,” and the ingredients may change from day to day.
“If I take into account the negative way in which many people spoke about the vision I had for Ackenpucky at its inception, then it seems that starting and being able to maintain a creative business for over a decade in West Virginia is an accomplishment in and of itself. But then again, I don’t listen to those people.”
“We design and build custom cabinetry, furniture, and lighting; create custom art, sculpture, and murals; design custom graphics for logos and signage, build custom signs, do production and set design—and that is not even the entire menu.”
In addition to her innovative creative design work, LaFear devotes time to growing the region’s art scene at a grassroots level, believing that “embracing Appalachian culture and developing communities through regional art” is essential work for West Virginia.
Written by Tara Wine-queen
Learn more about our Wonder Women
Since 2014 WV Living magazine has been honoring West Virginia Wonder Women, amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. WV Living is proud to celebrate these Appalachian mothers, millennials, and mavens proving that in a time full of uncertainty, divisiveness, and hate, love for one another is all we really need. No need for bulletproof bracelets or a golden lasso of truth—these women are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.