Sunday, March 26, 2017


 "Into the Gray"   24" X 12",  Lori LaBerge  2017

This week hooked work was completed on "Into the Gray". It veers a bit into the world of surreal art. While the bowls are expected shapes, the bright green arrow is out of place in a still life scene. Why is it there? The piece was developed from a shadow that I turned into an arrow before having a solid idea of what it meant to me. I spoke a bit about this in the March 11 post here.

I have always liked the unexpected, which may explain my love of anything with drawers or locks. It is the mystery of what may be inside that intrigues me. The unknown is always more interesting than the known for me.

Surreal work lends itself to dream states and unconscious expression. Usually the first artist that comes to peoples' mind is Salvador Dali. My favorite surreal artist is Rene Magritte. Ah, yes, those bowler hats that keep showing up.

Close-up,  "Into the Gray"   Lori LaBerge   2017

A close-up shows the textures used in the background. This reminds me of the impressionists and how they used short brush strokes of color close to each other to create the sense of another color. The yellow and turquoise threads in one of the background textures tends to make one see the color as soft green-yellow which sets a nice background for the bright green arrow color. The duller mint green adds contrast.

I start a class in geometry and quilting at Penland tomorrow. Supplies are ready to go!  I'm hoping to learn some new ways to work with geometric shapes and apply that knowledge to rug hooking while meeting others with similar interests. I will write more on the class next week.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


"GeoNight"  diptych, 13" X 10" each,  Lori LaBerge  2017

The second section of "GeoNight" was hooked. It is based on a plein air study focusing on geometric shapes. Shadows, the moon and trees became diagonals, circles and triangles. All art is based on the abstract. If you get the chance to watch a plein air artist work notice how many of them paint out an abstract drawing on their canvas before beginning the painting process.

When learning to draw figures the body is broken down into oval, rectangles, cylinders and boxes to produce the form. The decision to be made is whether to keep a work abstract or to progress toward realism. 

 "Into the Gray"  in progress  24" X 12",   Lori LaBerge  2017

The work above was titled "Unstill Life" when it was in the design process. As I worked out color planning, it became "Into the Gray". I am thinking there are just so many gray areas in life. The more I studied the work the more it spoke to me about trying to organize and how we like to place things and sometimes people in specific categories. The two bowls represent where ideas on different groupings could be stored with the arrow seeming to bring more of those ideas into the gray bowl.

It also brings into account that the road series relates not just to the physical roads we travel, but the emotional roads.

I've been a big Sean Scully fan for years. There is something quite mesmerizing about his use of stripes.  Layers of paint invite exploration. I spent quite a while looking at his work "Red Durango" at the Ackland Gallery at UNC Chapel Hill. To sit down and read his thoughts, influences and lectures leads to a deeper understanding of his work.

Art Exercise--
Think about the titles of works. How do they relate to the visual? If you create your own work do you title it in the design phase or after it is done? If you title it before how does this affect the way you approach the work? Do you bother to title work at all?

Saturday, March 4, 2017


"Side Streets 2",  20" x 20"   Lori LaBerge  2017

To those who regularly read this blog the piece above may look familiar. A piece using the same basic design, "Side Streets", was done last year. Here is the first piece:

"Side Streets",  20" x 20"   Lori LaBerge  2016

I rarely use the exact same design more than once. Yet, I kept wanting to revisit this work using industrial felt. This led to a more subtle version. The first version, directly above, used a brighter orange, a pure slightly outrageous yellow and a bright white stripe. It has been sold and placed in a modern environment surrounded by other colorful artwork. There is a sunny, happy, almost childish feel to it with the yellow drawing the eye.

Close-up of "Side Streets 2"

The latest version at the top of the post has a more sophisticated feel to it. The gray felt blends with the background grays, leaving an orange one shade deeper more room to stand out. Stitching on the washers follows the direction of the felt, the longer piece horizontal and the shorter piece vertical. Copper paint was used on the washers to further emphasize the orange. The felt is randomly stitched in black so it won't stand out but be noticed when viewed from a closer position.

Art exercise--
Revisit previous works and draw them out in various colors. How does the feel of the work change? Do you have preferences? Has your use of color changed over the years?

Saturday, February 25, 2017


"Metropolitan"  22" X 55"   Lori LaBerge  2017

The use of repetition shows throughout this piece. There are multiple yellow curves moving across it, vertical and horizontal lines, shades of blues and grays and industrial felt on both the bottom and top sections. The hubcap has curves that relate to the yellow arcs. The lug nut covers, as well as the hubcap itself, mimic the circular shape of the washers attached to the lower strip of felt. There is also a bit of depth to each section.

 Close-up of upper section

A piece of felt was cut into a triangular shape and attached to the hubcap. The felt is randomly stitched with dark gray yarn to add texture.

Close-up of felt and washers

Washers were stitched to the felt and the felt stitched to the rug hooked work. I had thought of using a strip of stained wood, but with the felt on the upper portion the wood looked a bit heavy while the felt brought the two sections together nicely.

Pearl is becoming quite the assistant. It never hurts to have a little supervision.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


We planned an early Valentine's Day and drove over to Charlotte for dinner and a basketball game. I couldn't help but notice how all the wonderful lines in the city's architecture lend themselves to abstract art. Enjoy!

Lots of gray lines broken by a beautiful turquoise

Billowing plastic wrap breaking up the straight lines on a construction site.

An interesting shape of bright blue sky peeking between brown buildings.

Neutral palette with a block of brick red.

The ups and downs along rooftops.

What architectural features of city buildings interest you?

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Section One of "GeoNight" in progress,  13" X 10"  Lori LaBerge  2016

Hooking was completed on the latest work and I will be stitching the washers into place this coming week. A finer look was decided on so the work was hooked in a 4-cut rather than my usual 6-cut.

I was going to do the two sections in assembly line fashion by doing pink on one, pink on the other, yellow on one get the idea. I decided to finish section one first so I had a good idea of how the colors worked before the second section was started. The dark blue provided the strong contrast I was looking for.

This is the big month to put together all the notes I've taken for this summer's class at Green Mountain Rug School. I tend to write notes wherever I am so there are plenty of them in various notebooks around the studio. I love putting those thoughts together in an organized form. It will be a four day class, so notes are being separated into multiple activities for each day.

My evenings needed something new so I picked up the guitar my daughter and I won in a music video contest quite a few years ago. I took lessons when I was 17 so I won't say how many years ago that was. I found these cool guitar picks with Salvador Dali works printed on them. Love. I may hit wrong notes, but I'll look good doing it. Looking at various companies to put my own artwork on some picks.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


 "Geonight", 13" X 10" each   Lori LaBerge  2017

A diptych was started this week. Color planning led to emerald green and pink, colors I rarely use. The pink makes the green pop. After hooking these, a mix of gold and yellow was started around the pink. Though the yellow is behind the pink the work is not being hooked to portray any depth. The focus is on shape and color. 

The work will be a combination of wool fabric and yarn for texture. Yarns above are from Searsport Rug Hooking.

A textured stripe and a navy blue will be in the background to give a strong contrast against the foreground colors.

Whipping began on the latest "Cone" work. The plan was to go with dark brown. It was a bit boring, not showing up well against the dark gray whipping on the top section. I decided on rust. I also tried something different and used brown stain at random intervals on the rust yarn. The stain was tested on sample yarn and held up well through being in the sun and through abrasion on the yarn.

I received notice this week to be set up for an interview. This calls for cleaning out the studio. I started by reorganizing all the hardware metals scattered on the work table.

The mailbox held something for me to look at over the weekend. There is a combination of interviews with artists and photos. Pour the wine, this is right up my alley.