ISSN 220-001X 12th May, 2017
Judi Tompkins from Queensland, is very conscientious about photographing her many creative rug hooking projects and recently learnt how to document and create her own portfolios.
“If you’re like me you tend to take photos of your finished work and store them on your phone, tablet or camera for future reference. This works really well if you actually sort and catalogue your photos to make them easy to find later – particularly if you want to show someone a specific piece which you may – or may not – actually own anymore!
I was beginning to feel like a doddery ol’ lady when it came to finding photos on my phone since I had waaaaaay too many of them stored there and uncategorised. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to find a photo I just know is on my phone and having to reassure my now bored viewer, “I KNOW it’s here someplace, gimme a minute.”
With that in mind I thought I would try to make a more sensible photographic catalogue of my work and at the same time consolidate all the information about each piece. I simply wasn’t doing a good job recording (in one file) all the information about my work (title, date, dimensions, fabrics/techniques used and any “story” associated with the piece.)
I decided to use VistaPrint (http://www.vistaprint.com.au/) to help me with this since I had used them before to print cotton carry bags, t-shirts, banners, etc. Their quality is good and their 10-day (or less) turnaround time amazing – even more amazing when you consider they are in the USA.
So…I downloaded their editing program for the photo books. The software is easy to use and you can decide on the size and format of the book you want. In most cases the books have a suggested number of photo spaces and text boxes allocated for each book but you can delete, insert or move photos as you like (the same is true for the text boxes).
You can also do any editing function you want through their program so you don’t have to crop or adjust colours before you start – you can do it here. Also, somewhere (I have it on the flyleaf) you should put the copyright symbol © and state that all text and photos remain the property of the artist (or some such).
There is a option for you to also have photos on the front and back cover of your book, and along the spine. I do think it is worth paying a few dollars more for the high quality photo paper.
There is a preview function so you can review the book as you go along and once you give the book a file name it will remain in your VistaPrint account so you can come back to finish it anytime, or you may decide to reprint the book or make changes for the next edition.
Before you place your order (and in fact, throughout the process) Vista Print will make you aware of problems like low resolution of a photo or text that doesn’t fit in the text box. So…when you place your order you will be told which pages have apparent problems and you can correct them at that point.
I was surprised at the number of pieces I’ve made over the years and didn’t try to replicate every one! I did however, make two specialised books: “The Tenacious: How to Build a Tall Ship” and “Fibre Taxidermy: Bespoke and personal – Realistic hooking of pets or animals”. These two books are an attempt to explain and illustrate how I have done a few of the more complicated Waldoboro pieces. These are the questions so hard to answer when I can’t find the right photo on my phone.
So…give some thought about signing up for a Vista Print account and get on their mailing list. I have produced several of my books at the 25% or more discounts that they regularly offer so you don’t need to pay the full price. Get your photos ready and in a Vista file and you’ll be ready to order it when they are have sales.
Have fun! Judi Tompkins
Thanks Judi – I agree, it is nice to have a record (especially one not subject to disappearing into the ether) of something you’ve put a lot of work into, has meaning to you and perhaps has been given away or sold.
I hope this encourages other members not to feel shy about creating a portfolio of their work and calling themselves a rug hooking artist.
(Disclaimer: Other companies provide similar services for creating photo albums, the Australian Rugmakers Guild is not officially promoting VistaPrint)