Saturday, October 12, 2013


The majority of this week was spent in the planning process of "Blue Collar".  The work will be inspired by a photo I took of our local quartz plant.  My first step was to narrow the photo down to the area I wanted to focus on.

 Storage silos at quartz plant.

The strength of these storage silos drew my attention.  Not only are they physically strong, but they represent the strength of the workers at the plant.

The piece developed slowly as I worked with both drawings and Photoshop.  I knew I wanted to include a pulley I picked up at an antique shop.  Here is the studio table:

Since this will be a mixed-media piece, I had to keep in account the size of the pulley in relation to the total work.  The hooked work will measure 16" X 20".  I also had to begin thoughts on how the pulley will be attached.  

Here is the piece drawn out on linen.  Though the pulley will not be hooked, I drew it on the design to allow for how the rest of the work would look with the pulley eventually in place.  

I sifted through colors, which were decided upon through testing various hues on Photoshop.  I wanted a variety of shades of blue for the blue collar theme.  I then added in some bright green for contrast and interest. 

   Sample page of  the fun designs you can work with on The Interaction of Color for ipad.

While on the subject of color,  The Interaction of Color by Josef Albers  is now available as an app for the ipad and includes interviews with artists, designers and others as well as the ability to switch out colors in the color plates with just the tap of a finger.  It was frustrating at first as it does take a while to figure out how to work all the features, but I find myself really liking it now.  It is amazing that we now have the technology to interact with a book.  You could also work with the actual book, rather than the app, and use construction paper for the exercises.

For the design I started with abstracted silos in the background, which the pulley will be placed against.  The design on the above left is o.k., but the pulley tends to disappear.  The design on the right uses a lighter background behind the pulley, making it stand out more.  

I had to allow for how the pulley will be attached.  A header, which will be a wood strip, was added to the top of the design and will extend behind a portion of the hooked work so screws can be attached.  The wooden header will be collaged with torn up time cards, to give a sense of factory life.  The chain will take some thought as I would like viewers to be able to turn the pulley.

There will be a decision as to using a 6 or 4-cut wool.  The 4-cut will give a smoother feel against the roughness of the pulley and allow for more abstracted detail.  I will see how this works when hooking begins.

"Red Autumn"  4X6  Lori LaBerge  plein air work 2013

The Plein Air Hooking Artists are hard at working creating pieces for the future website. Some of the artists already have two pieces done.  Membership is free and ongoing for those serious about contributing work to the site.  Please contact me at if interested in joining us. 

Enjoy the designs surrounding you, appreciate the work that went into them and have a great day.

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