Sunday, January 29, 2012


The nomadic series is coming along and I've been learning so many new things along the way. The hooking process went fairly fast as this is what I am most comfortable with. The overall original design stayed the same with only the upper left corner being changed from a tassel to a button pouch.

Original layout design for "Diamond Road"

My first thought was to place tassels on the piece as there are numerous tassels on nomadic salt bags. I veered from this as the look was not what I wanted. More research led to finding photos of small bags nomads use to carry buttons. Work began on creating a small pouch to hang in the upper left of the piece. This consisted of wool, thread, yarn, a key, and an old keyhole found in an architectural salvage store. 

 Pouch was completed and then overdyed with brown dye.

Ever since delving into mixed-media, I've been learning to use all kinds of new tools. This project included a metal bar that required drilling. My husband is spending some time teaching me how to use all these tools. Below is the result of a combination of old and new skills put to use.

"Diamond Road"  Lori LaBerge  2012

Delve into new territory, sharpen old skills, acquire new ones and have a great day!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I love reading artist biographies and enjoy taking some of the information I've learned and applying it to my art in some form. "Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane" is a book I was introduced to by the Xanadu Gallery Book Club. It tells the life of an artist who lived life on the wild side. He often lived among prostitutes, gamblers and thieves. His art was influenced by this life. In portraits he painted people as they were, flaws and all. He was interested in reality and his figures were far from idealized. This is the aspect of his art which drew me in the most.

Caravaggio's portraits are emotional, mysterious and real.  I think about the world today and its influence.  It would be fun to portray completely over the top perfection in a portrait in reference to today's search for beauty that often comes off as plastic. This is, in a way, imperfect perfection.

Perhaps reading this book has influenced my work, as, lately I've been drawn more toward the flaws created by the way fabric naturally moves. I have started using rougher upholstery fabric in some pieces leaving the threads hanging rather than clipping them for a cleaner look.

It's funny how things influence you without your even knowing it. Think about how various things have influenced you without your being immediately aware of it and have a great day!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


"Lake House"  Lori LaBerge  2011

Rug Beat is a new online magazine featuring articles on contemporary rug hooking. A photo of "Lake House" is pictured alongside an article on contemporary works of hooked art which were juried into the 2011 "Pushing the Limits: New Expressions in Hooked Art" group.  This group encourages new ideas and creativity.  There are some wonderful rug artists out there stretching the bounds of rug hooking and hopefully Rug Beat will get their work into the public eye.  This was the premier issue and I'm looking forward to future articles on innovative works.

Also received this week was my copy of Surface Design Magazine.

This is how I roll.  Magazine, wine, chocolate and the fireplace.

The magazine was timed perfectly as this issue featured works on a variety of textile artists using innovative materials and methods.  One artist who really grabbed my eye is El Anatsui.  His work is made up of aluminum, copper wire and other found objects and resembles draped contemporary quilts.  See some of his work here and be sure to scroll down on the blue bar on the page to see the quilt-like pieces. Another artist whose work was featured is Elizabeth Whyte Schulze.  She creates coiled baskets from pine needles and raffia and paints images on them.  See some of these baskets on her website here.

I'm still working on "Diamond Road" and below is a photo of it further along than last week, with hooking done and construction in progress.

Seek out your creative side this week and have a great day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The works created for "The Stripe" series used a fairly consistent palette in all of the pieces.  This, plus the stripe theme, kept the series cohesive.  The salt bag portion of the nomadic series, currently in the works, is sending me to some new colors. While hooking, I ended up pulling out a bright magenta I had planned to place in a rectangular stripe portion of the piece.  It had the same value (lightness or darkness of a color) as the turquoise placed next to it and just did not work.  When values are similar a lack of contrast occurs.  The replacement color is in the light/red/pink range which is a color I rarely use, but flows well with this piece.

I tend to veer toward brights and darks with a neutral thrown in.  There will be more chance to experiment with adding lighter shades to my favorites this year.

Above is the original palette that was planned.  Not enough light values.

Above, a black and white version allows you to see that there is too much similarity of values in the center grouping.  More light is needed.

Above you can see the lighter color substituted for the magenta.  This adds needed contrast to the piece.  Below is the color photo of the above.  Compare to the second photo in this post.  Much better.

We all have colors we are drawn to, and  I am no exception.  Join me this year in adding colors you would not normally use to your palette.  Whether for clothing, dinnerware, home decor or other areas of your life, enjoy the range of colors available and have a great day!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


A very Happy New Year to everyone.  The hooking on "The Road Home" was completed yesterday.  The edges still need to be whipped, a frame ordered and a mounting board cut.

 "The Road Home", Lori LaBerge, 2012
In the meantime, research on nomadic life and art has continued.  New designs have begun based on nomadic salt bags.  The bags drew my attention as I have been wanting to work with various shapes.  They have a large rectangular bottom section and a narrow vertical neck.  The neck area is narrowed to prevent the salt from falling out and rainwater from entering the bag.  The bags are made to hold rock salt for sheep.  The salt makes the sheep thirsty and they will drink more water. They are then able to graze for days at higher altitudes where water is not as plentiful before returning to lower land.  To view a photo of a salt bag click here.

The basic designs below are modernized and will be mixed media pieces using wool and metal.  Other materials may be incorporated as the pieces progress.  I have yet to complete the designs which will go into the rectangular areas.

New designs, Lori LaBerge, 2012

Working on new designs is always fun.  It always amazes me where it leads and how much I learn.  Enjoy where new things in life take you in 2012 and have a great day!