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From the Presidents' Corner

May 2016

Presidents’ Letter - Greetings to HCRAG from all your presidents who are far afield.

I would like to thank those of you who sent me nice notes after last month's Presidents' Letter. We never know if anyone is reading what we write, so this was encouraging.

As I write this, the Coles are in Maine, vending at the Camp Wool four day hook-in, and I am just outside of Great Smoky National Park. So this is a letter on the fly, so to speak, to make Karl's deadline.

My husband and I are down here to do some hiking, and I am also here to take some pictures. When we get back from the day's activities, I try to spend at least an hour processing my Iceland photos. (I don't remember if I mentioned last month that I had taken about 5000 of them.). I am now down to less than 300 (I am incredibly proud of myself!) that I consider worth trying to "finish", or worthy of showing to someone. Post processing a photo is very similar to choosing the finish of a rug. It makes it complete.

I was brand new to my camera when I went to Iceland, and I concentrated so hard on learning how to use it that I neglected to pay attention to the quality of my pictures. There were many pictures that would have been really great if I had only remembered that you have to check your edges and your corners --make sure they are filled, but don't chop anything off!! I have lots of shots of lovely Icelandic churches where the very top of the steeple has been chopped off. This is something we need to do with our hooking too.

As I go through the "post processing" part of my photography I am seeing lots of parallels to what we as fiber artists (and that IS what we are) do, or need to do, with our work. I am trying to learn Photoshop. Aargh! The first step in post processing is to level your horizon. Yup. Our patterns need to be level, or square, on our backing. That is step one for us too.

The next step has to do with adjusting brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, hue (color) and saturation (intensity). Who knew? These are constants across all art forms. We need to pay attention to balancing all those factors to make the final product pleasing. I have found that just a touch too much contrast makes a picture unpleasant to my eye. Or over-saturating a color makes it look weird.

Over the next few months I will be talking about different elements of photography, and how they are related to fiber art. Photography was a passion of mine from 8th grade on. When I got married and had kids, I switched from a 35mm film camera to a decent digital point and shoot to get all those family pictures we all treasure. Getting back to photography is like re-meeting a dear old friend you haven't seen for years, only to discover that the friend no longer speaks English. I need to learn whatever language my friend speaks. The technology of photography has thrown me for a LOOP -- new terms, new options, new everything. But I am determined to learn it. Bear with me.

What you do is ART. Never forget it. Get out there and create! Weezie

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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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