I completed development on my latest webpart for approval of list items (post approval to be submitted to a database). I am leveraging the Visual WebPart for this solution. I noticed that after the default WSP deployment, the ASCX file was not deployed. Additionally, I could not find the Feature in either the Site Collection solutions or Farm Solutions in Central Admin.
Turns out that for some reason, the default is to deploy but not to activate the Feature. The issue is that the web part files are not deployed and the .webpart file is not loaded into the gallery. This causes a "where is it?" panic thinking that something is wrong with the deployment.
If you go into the SharePoint root folder and traverse to the Features Folder, you should be able to locate your feature that was deployed. The Name of the Feature is the name of the folder. You can then run the Enable-SPFeature powershell command to activate the feature. Once activated, the necessary files will be copied and installed.