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Crafting their way to fun

PRINCETON — An estimated 100 pieces of “creative crafts” will be displayed in a special exhibit at the Prairie Arts Center in Princeton.

The exhibit, which begins Friday, will showcase the art of rug hooking with items crafted by the Princeton Creative Crafts group, along with pieces done by members of the River Valley Rug Hookers and from the Prairie Arts Shop at Bishop Hill.

The opening reception for the exhibit is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Prairie Arts Center, located at 24 Park Ave. East. The exhibit runs from Friday through Aug. 25. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Princeton residents Sandy Rieker, Junedale Straka and Lorraine Sarrels are the founding members of the Princeton Creative Crafters group. For about seven years the group met in homes before moving 18 months ago to the Princeton Public Library for more space.

Rieker said the Creative Crafters have crafted numerous rugs in all sizes, styles and shapes throughout the years, plus some members also do knitting, crocheting and weaving. However, the Aug. 2-25 exhibit will focus on rug hooking.

In addition to all the homemade rugs, members have also made pillows, chair seat covers, a fireplace screen and all kinds of home and seasonal decorations, including a standing Santa figure several feet tall, Rieker said, adding the nice thing about rug hooking is there are different styles and patterns to fit any home decor, including primitive, modern and traditional.

In addition to making items for their own homes, the women have given some of their finished pieces as gifts for family and friends and have also donated items through the years to area organizations and groups, Straka said.

On a personal note, Rieker said she became involved with rug hooking in September 2004 when she was visiting Bishop Hill and learned about a class being offered on the art of rug hooking.

“It was love at first hook for me,” Rieker said. “I love it because it’s creative and relaxing and a lot of fun.”

Straka has been doing rug hooking for more than 25 years, since before moving to Princeton. She favors the whimsical look when she’s choosing her rug-hooking projects. One of her favorite pieces right now is the “Garden Nibbler,” which shows a rabbit eating flowers in a garden. She is also making a special rug for her doll collection room.

Both Rieker and Straka said they are proud of the crafts they have made and are excited to have the opportunity to show the community the things they have done through the exhibit at the Prairie Arts Center.

The art of rug hooking is easier than it may seem, the women agreed. They encouraged others to learn more about rug hooking by coming to the exhibit at the Prairie Arts Center. Also, Rieker will do a rug hooking demonstration at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Prairie Arts Center.

Of course, anyone, man or woman, is invited to attend one of the monthly Creative Crafters meeting at the Princeton Public Library, Straka said. Visitors can come and watch the ladies as the work or they may bring their own craft projects. No matter, whether a beginner or experienced crafter, the idea behind the Princeton Creative Crafters is to relax and have fun, while creating some amazing items, Straka and Rieker agreed.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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