Tonight I worked on updating my rug hooking portfolio.  I try to keep up with this as each rug is finished, but it is difficult.  Truth be told, I dread taking photographs of my rugs.  I am not a very good photographer!  Even with the help of PhotoShop Elements.

Every good artist needs a portfolio, and rug hooking artists are no different.  While I’ve seen a fair number of visual arts portfolios, the challenge for me came in developing a suitable portfolio for rug hooking.  In looking around online I found Rachel LeBlanc’s bio and the bio of other rug hooking artists to be of interest.  But a bio does not a portfolio make.  It is just a small part of it.  So I looked to other visual artists.

Portfolios seem to consist of a few key elements:

  • artist statement,
  • photos of work and information related to the work,
  • resume and/or bio, and
  • copies of any related certificates.

If one is fortunate enough and has remembered to keep them, any media releases related to their work are good to tuck in page protectors at the back of the portfolio as well.

One of the key issues with a portfolio is to acquire excellent photos of your work.  I suffer in this category.  I am trying to make do with an amateur setup that is not working up to my expectations.  Given a choice, I’d take my work to a professional photographer.  But times as they are, and money what it is, I improvise.  In the summer I set up my work on a white foam core background outdoors on an overcast day and take my shots.  I have yet to devise a system for winter, but will have to very soon!

The information sheet facing the rug photo might include: the title, designer, hooking artist (you), date finished, dimensions, materials used, dyes used, why you hooked the piece, and who owns the piece.  Portfolios can be divided into original designed and hooked pieces, and pieces designed by other people that you have hooked.  If your portfolio starts getting too thick (more than a 1 1/2″ binder), maybe only include your best original designs.

A resume or bio for a rug hooking artist usually includes only your art related information.  It often starts with your education, and includes:

  • related work experience,
  • volunteer work in the arts,
  • workshops given,
  • exhibitions and demonstrations,
  • awards,
  • memberships, and
  • online activity (if relevant and you feel like sharing).

If you want to include copies of certificates at the back, go ahead.  Though they are kind of redundant as your resume already gives your education.  If you have to make a choice of something to leave out, this would be it in my opinion.  If someone sees your portfolio and reads the resume, and then asks for further proof, then you can produce the certificates.  In all honesty, I’ve never known this to happen to any artists I’ve talked with.  I think it’s sufficient to keep the certificates (if any) together and filed safely at home where you can easily access them if need be.

And that exhausts what I know about portfolios.  Anyone with more experience, please add your comments below.  I’m always open to improving my portfolio.

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