Saturday, November 18, 2017


"Residential Curve"  16" x 20" framed, Lori LaBerge  2017

Framing can make a difference in how art is perceived. Unlike paintings, which can be simply placed into a frame, framing textiles can be a bit more complex. I have been framing works open for a few years now and the tides have changed. More people are asking for work protected by glass or acrylic and over 90% of sales the past year have been pieces under acrylic .  

Some of my latest work will be placed in an office environment. Cleaning and wool dust can become an issue. Two hospitals decided against open work due to the dust and allergenic problems. Unfortunately, the work could not be reframed under acrylic in time for their scheduling. Results: lost sales and framing under acrylic for future sales.

There is the perception of textile art being difficult to care for. I have found this to be true depending on how the work is made. A mixed media work I purchased with quite a bit of bulk to it and nooks and crannies between tied rope does require a lot of upkeep as dust gets trapped. The rug hooked works I own require a lot less upkeep. I simply use a lint roller and it cleans them quite nicely. Glass or acrylic can eliminate the problem, though these works should still be removed from the frame and cleaned every 2-3 years.

"Skybridge"  16" x 20" framed,  Lori LaBerge  2017

The works shown here have been stitched to acid-free foam board before being placed in the frame. An acid-free mat board has been used and uv acrylic placed on top. The frames have a 1" rabbet (the depth of the back of frame where work sits) to allow for the depth of textile work and setting it back so as not to touch the acrylic.

When setting the work back from the acrylic, foam board was cut in the shape of the mat board, though narrower, and placed behind the mat board to create depth. 

Acrylic can be static which causes problems with wool. Remove any wool bits or dust from the work before framing (this is time consuming as it sometimes needs to be repeated during the framing process, don't skip this step as wool dust on a mat board looks unprofessional). There is acrylic cleaner that can be used to minimize static (I use Brillianize Plastic Cleaner). Use a microfiber cloth when applying cleaner or dusting the acrylic to prevent scratches.

Note: Always take photos before glass or acrylic is installed if possible. This prevents glare.

 "Downtown"  16" X 20" framed,  Lori LaBerge  2017

Whether one decides to leave a textile open or place under a protective cover is an individual decision. Present work to show it off at its best. If similar works (such as a series) will be exhibited together it is best to frame in a similar way for cohesiveness.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


 As yet untitled work in progress  48" x 48",  Lori LaBerge   2017

Work on the first square continued and a second was started. The color planning allows for squares located diagonally from each other to be in the same color scheme. This was work completed as of Wednesday. The majority of colors are fairly bold and the light green adds some softness.

The mixtures of wool add more interest as the viewer gets closer to the work. The rust contains a bright, a texture and a dark yarn. A main color (the texture in this case) is usually chosen and then leftover strips from previous projects are used to add variety. In rare cases, there may be some dyeing needed when the right color strips are unavailable.

For the turquoise, a mottled light, a plainer medium, and a textured dull gray-turquoise were used.

Small black circles were hooked with the purple. These smaller circles will appear on three of the four squares, with the upper left square containing a redder purple meandering throughout rather than having the black involved. This adds a bit of a surprise as the expected similarity to the other squares is not there.

Straight hooking is being used for the black and white sections. Black and white together is bold. The straight hooking adds to the boldness, showing stability (horizontal) and strength (vertical) while framing the center areas.

While I find myself delving more and more into the reasons for my choices, I don't get bogged down with it. Sometimes a choice is simply: "I just liked those colors together." or "I felt like hooking straight after hooking meandering patterns for so long." Not everything is complex. It is important to keep in mind the effect of your choices, but it is also important to enjoy the process and just let go once in a while.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


Design work in progress,  48" X 48"  Lori LaBerge  2017

The urge to work on a larger piece hit me this week.

It started with four sketches done on our Maine vacation. They were photocopied at a smaller size and moved around on a larger piece of sketch paper until they worked as a grouping. The background was drawn in to create an off-center intersection using a continuation of lines in the four sketches. The piece is a combination of the road designs I've worked on and the new architectural works currently being hooked. 

Untitled design idea,  Lori LaBerge  2017

A photo was taken of the sketch and it was placed into Photoshop to work with colors and further design ideas. The plan is to add rebar to the left side of the hooked work along with a piece of wood to attach it to for hanging. This may end up being too much weight. If so, metal fencing or another material will be used.

Dye supplies were rounded up

Some of the colors ready to go.

Hooking was started in a 6-cut. Work will continue next week.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


"Turquoise Glow"  14" X 11",  Lori LaBerge  2017

A blue glow coming from a window was the start of this piece. Lines and shapes of concrete walls and sheds near the building were reshaped for the work. Two longer downward diagonals (the top of the green area and the lower black line) are balanced by a shorter upward white diagonal on the right which starts close to midway between them. 

It is interesting to work on balance without symmetry. It can be created from color, size, shape and opposites work quite nicely. Large vs. small, bright vs. dull, light vs. dark, vertical vs. horizontal, etc. The turquoise areas consist of one being horizontal, larger and darker and one being vertical, smaller and lighter.

We went to visit my son in Florida over the weekend and I took a few photos of rooftops in the area to use for future reference.

Great finds at the local used book store

Art Exercise--
Create a symmetrical design and start changing it to create an asymmetrical one using opposites for balance.

Friday, October 13, 2017


"Monarch Butterflies" Joel Sartore

We recently spent the day in Hickory, NC and visited the Hickory Museum of Art.  Photographer Joel Sartore had work on endangered species showing. His photos are breathtaking.

"The Three Sisters"  Frank Stanley Herring

This painting was done one town over from us, Little Switzerland, in 1929. Mildred "Mickey" McKinney took lessons from New York City artist Frank Stanley Herring, who vacationed in the town. The founder of the museum, Paul Whitener, saw Mildred painting and decided he could do it to. Mickey and Paul married and continued producing art.

"Uncle Tom McKinney's Springhouse"  Donald Blake

Donald Blake was a mentor of Paul Whitener. This painting is of a scene from Little Switzerland. We'll be taking a ride over to try and find the property where Mildred and Paul lived and painted. A little local history trip.

There was also an exhibit on self-taught artists providing a variety of talent:

"Lore Master #4"  David Thomas Roberts

 "The Transformer"  Bruce New

 "Daddy and his Woman"  LaVon Van Williams, Jr.

 "Flag"  Roger Lee Ivens

 "Blues Guitar"  Roger Lee Ivens

I could not leave without roaming through the museum shop where I picked up a book on collage. Purchases and donations help museums to continue providing exhibits and education.

Yes, beer brewing is an art.

And, of course, we can't go to Hickory without stopping at the Olde Hickory Tap Room and checking out their selections. My choice, Hefe-Weisen. The perfect day out!

Sunday, October 8, 2017


"Skybridge",   14" X 11"   Lori LaBerge  2017

This work was developed to be shown alongside the two paintings done last week  Unlike the paintings worked from memory and notes (due to it being night when we stopped by), the textile work was done from parts of two photos taken during the day.

When working from photos, I avoid a direct copy of the photograph. Artwork allows for imagination which is the part of it I most enjoy. Here are the photos used:

I stuck with the angled shapes of the building. The rooftop stairway was converted to a skybridge to be the focus of the work.

The factory silo was in front of a section of one of the buildings. I used this on the right hand side of the work as I wanted to add some curves to the piece. Colors were chosen to work with the two paintings.

A good idea of how the works look together before framing.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


"Residential Curve"  14" X 11",  Lori LaBerge  2017

Diagonal lines are on the right while a curved line counters them, extending from the far left of the work to past center. There are also straight black lines, one vertical and one horizontal on the left. Two areas balance this: the black diagonal between navy and turquoise and the vertical edge of the white section.

The vertical black line keeps the two dark colors, magenta and navy, from causing a bottom heavy effect. The black lines were added to reference the underlying structure of architecture.

"Industrial Section" and "Industrial Night"  18" X 18" each,  Lori LaBerge  2017, acrylic and graphite on canvas

A deserted warehouse was used as reference for two paintings. The glow of the moon cast a golden hue onto the building and the liberty was taken to place white in the window areas in the first work. The moon was captured in the negative space between a section of building and a smokestack in the second work. I like the interesting shape of the lighter colors against the black in the second piece.

A 14" x 11" textile work to compliment the paintings has been drawn on linen and will be hooked next week. It will be interesting to see how they work (or don't) together.