Saturday, June 15, 2013


I have been keeping an art journal and working on related side projects since January. With six months of work in the journal, I decided it was time to start referring back to it.  Flipping through the pages, I stopped at the section where I had written down words referring to roads (the subject of this years series of work). These were some of the words that had been written:

pavement     lines          lanes     curves      intersection     dirt          cobblestone 
shoulders     signs          GPS       scenery    winding          speed     street lights     
city               country       blocks    grids         one-way        route       highway          
rest stop      direction      map       traffic        cars              byways    trip                 
travel           street          exit         tolls          parking          parkway  viaduct           
rural            distance      merge    passage   interstate       urban      dead end
lights           skid marks  circle

Looking through these words led to this design:
as yet untitled, Lori LaBerge  2013

The process:

1.  The words city, country, urban and rural piqued my interest in the above grouping.  The urban city and rural country are opposites, yet I love the aspects of each of them and thought it would be interesting to combine them in one piece.

2.   I looked at photos of roadways:

One of many winding, hilly roads in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  This is a view from Mt. Mitchell.

The streets of Boston viewed from the top of the Prudential building.  Roads form blocks for ease of transportation.
It is easy to distinguish the center city block in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The buildings, as in the Boston photo, are situated inside the rectangular road layout.  This photo was taken from Edinburgh Castle, which overlooks the city.

3.  The decision was made to create the city block of the rug hooked piece in rectangular block form.  Since the country and city sections are opposites, I did not want them both flat on the piece.  The city block section will be layered on top of the country road section when it is completed.

4.  The small dot was added as a "you are here" representation, commonly seen on maps.  The larger dots will even this out and the stripes are meant to be larger sections of road.

5.  Color was decided upon using freehand Photoshop Elements:

as yet untitled, color plan, Lori LaBerge  2013

It took me a while to learn, but I truly love Photoshop.  This step could also be done using colored pencils, marker or paints (which I still do quite frequently).  Photoshop allows the convenience of being able to quickly change colors for viewing, while hands-on just has a special feel to it you don't get from a computer.

6.  Wool was dyed or found in studio stash:

7.  Hooking was completed and whipping started on the city block section:

The roads were done in white while there is a faint grid done in light blue in the background as is used for reference on maps.  The rest of the piece will be hooked this coming week.

Rug Hooking Magazine has an article on hooking maps in the June/July/August 2013 issue.

Start a journal, go back to it every once and a while for ideas, design a new piece and have a great day. 


  1. I love the idea of using a list of connected words to come up with a rug design. Great color choices also!

    1. Thank you. It is great to be able to use the written word to create visual art.