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From the Presidents' Corner

March 2017

Presidents’ Letter - As I write this letter, I am sitting in a hotel in West Yellowstone, Montana, contemplating my first snowmobile trip (today). I am out here for a photography workshop which starts tomorrow night. A friend and I went on a snowmobile tour today to a place called Two Top. There was never an explanation of what the name meant, but I am assuming it was a mountain with two peaks, but it was not “Two Top Mountain”, so I don’t know for sure. Do the names we give our rugs convey meaning?

I have never been on a snowmobile until today, and I may never go on one again, but as we were racing (or so it seemed to me) around the area, some things popped into my head that there were some similarities with hooking.

We were on groomed trails for the most part, and I felt as though I were riding on the line of a pattern. I have no idea what the pattern was, but it was important to stay within the lines. The danger here was that if I were to stray, I would take my machine into deep powder and get stuck, and have to be rescued. Sometimes that happens to us in hooking.

There was one stretch of trail that ran alongside a pretty, little river. There was snow on the rocks, along the edge, and covering the trees. The water was running in some places and frozen in other. I would have liked to linger and take lots of photos, but we were cold (it was very windy, and about 5 degrees, and my hands were frozen) and we had to keep moving to our destination. This was one of those places that will be remembered in my mind and heart. A photo I didn’t take. Similar to a rug I never hook. I know what it looks like in my mind, but no one else will see it. I hold it dear. We can’t always take every picture or hook every rug. So little time…

The throttle on a snow machine is controlled by your right hand (thumb actually), and the brake by the left. We hook quickly with our right hand, and slow ourselves down by adding tension from the left hand (I am right handed--not sure how lefties do it). In order to steer the machine you need to pull the handlebar, not push it. We pull our loops. You cannot push a loop any more than you can push a wet noodle. My shoulders were very tired by the end (same with hooking), and all the bumps on the trail made me think my head was going to fall off (how often do our necks hurt from bad posture leaning over a frame?).

Mostly what I was thinking about was the fact that my visor was constantly iced up, making it very difficult to see where I was going or what was ahead on the trail. I could not see the bumps or grooves or deeper patches of snow. I should have had yellow goggles, which give contrast to otherwise flat snow. Yellow lenses highlight the bumps and grooves. I would get tossed about on the trail by the bumps. I would raise the visor when we stopped, and then I could see where we were. How many times do we not really see what we are working on until we stop, and step back, look at it through a filter or remove the filter caused by closeness? How many times might our rugs ‘pop’ a little more if we highlighted the contrast between similar values? What would something look like if we used a value one darker or lighter than we thought?

By the time this Presidents’ Letter gets into The LOOP this trip will be a memory. I will have shot 2000 pictures of Yellowstone, and spring will not be far off, on the calendar at least. Yippee! More things to celebrate.

Wishing you all good speed, good tension, and good contrast. 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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