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From the Presidents' Corner

April 2017

Presidents’ Letter - Buddha once said “Learning is health.”

That’s a pretty neat way to sum up why we do some of the things we do with our hooking. You hook your first piece—you are learning how to hold the hook, how to pull the loops, a little bit about color, you hear some of the “rules,” and you finish your piece with whatever easy way the instructor shows you. If you like any aspect of what you did, you hook another piece. Maybe this time you draw your own simple pattern, or maybe you try your hand at color planning. Maybe your technique is a little smoother or faster (or both), your loops end up close to the same height. Maybe you saw something in your piece you did not like, so you ripped it out and redid it. That was better, so you kept going.

When you do your third piece, your loops are flowing off the hook, you can carry on a conversation while you are hooking, you try breaking a few rules, and maybe you finish it with a different method. Every time we design or hook a piece, we need to try something new—it could be putting together colors that we never tried before, it could be designing your own pattern, it could be translating a photograph into a rug design, it could be trying a geometric or an abstract when we usually hook flowers. It could be trying some shading in fine cut or wide cut; it could be trying a new finishing technique or hooking a circular rug when all you have ever done is rectangles.

Every time we try something new we learn something. We learn something about the creative process, we might learn something about technique or materials, and we learn something about ourselves. We also keep our minds engaged, and that keeps us young and vibrant. If you hooked the same pattern over and over, using the same colors, you might as well be a robot. I have only hooked the same pattern twice, and the second time was torture. And it was not very big. Learning makes new neurotransmitter connections in our brains.

So try something new—play with colors you don’t normally use—try dull if you always hook vibrant, or vice versa. Try wide ripped wool instead of a #4 cut. The piece does not need to be large, just large enough to see what you can learn by playing with it. Try dyeing your own colors. Try hooking something entirely in black and white. Try hooking something only using shades of one color. Try hooking something using nothing but plaids. The list of things we have not tried is far longer than the list of things we have tried. Henri Matisse once said “Creativity takes courage.”

Be brave and stay young. Weezie, Jan and Fred

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The Hunterdon County Rug Artisans Guild was founded in April 1977. We currently have over 130 members from nine states. The mission of the Guild is to perpetuate the tradition and art of rug hooking, to encourage creativity, to provide the means for an exchange of ideas and information and to promote educational activities to enhance the interest in rug hooking. Monthly meetings in Flemington, New Jersey offer programs for someone new to rug hooking as well as the seasoned artisan. Members have opportunities to participate in hooking demonstrations, rug exhibits, rug camps and “hook-ins”. A supportive environment is provided for those new to the craft and for those looking to refine their technique. New members are always welcome!

For more information, please contact Weezie Huntington at weezie711@gmail.com or Jan/Fred Cole at jantique@ptd.net

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