Sunday, April 29, 2012


"The Rain Will End"  15" X 20 3/4"  Lori LaBerge  2012

New this past week is the completion of the hooking of "The Rain Will End", above.   I still need to finish the whipping, mounting and framing.

This piece includes the last of the Victorian doorknob plates I have. Time to head out and find another architectural salvage store. The piece refers to how we all have times when the rain never seems to end and we are waiting for the sun to shine upon our lives. The photo in the doorknob hole shows water pipes referring to how we each have the ability to turn off the rain in our lives.

The old in this week's news is an older hooked rug I found at the Antique Tobacco Barn in Asheville on last week's trek. If you get the chance, this is a must see. I went back to look at this rug at least five times while walking throughout the building. (The walk is actually more like a long hike as the building is 77,000 square feet.)

What drew me to the rug was the geometric pattern and how bright some of the colors still were. There was no information that came with the rug, so I have no idea how old it is. What is interesting is how worn the center of the rug is. We usually think of the edges of a rug wearing out faster and go the extra mile to protect those edges with whipping, rug tape or other methods. It most likely was used in an entry way to wipe feet.

new and old patches on back of rug

There appear to be both old and new repairs throughout the back of the rug. One, above, appears to have been done fairly recently, perhaps before putting the rug up for sale.

T.C. (Tough Cookie) at work

I'd like to introduce you to my "assistant", above, this week.  He keeps me up on the ins and outs of the business side of the art world like nobody's business.   I don't know what I would do without him. If you have an "assistant" at home, give him or her a big hug and have a great day.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I had, unfortunately, missed the opening of "The Cutting Edge" show at Desert Moon Designs Gallery in Asheville due to finishing up a class at Penland. The good news was a phone call received letting me know my work, above left in the photo, had won Best of Show.  It was well displayed against the beautiful orange and yellows in the wearable art and handbag pieces.  As I am taking a new direction in my work, mixing metal and other media with rug hooking, this was great news. It is always exciting to see rug hooking receive recognition as an art form.

A wonderful display of fiber art.

Great texture seen in a wearable art piece by Karen Donde.  Amazing use of fabric manipulation.

Fiber jewelry pieces by Paisley Holloway.  I love the way the metal was stranded through the fiber in the piece on the left. 

This is a close-up of a weaving by Jean McGrew.  The random threads brought through add great texture.

After visiting Desert Moon, my husband and I spent the afternoon browsing around the rest of the River Arts District of Asheville. What a wonderful place! I love old industrial buildings, and to see them turned into artist studios is even better. The artists we spoke to were warm and welcoming. We stopped by award-winning photographer David Simchock's studio where we viewed a variety of amazing photographs and David was kind enough to explain some of his photography methods.

Our next stop was for lunch at The Junction, where we had a great brunch of arugula salad, open face short rib sandwich and pale ale with lemon-lime soda. Relaxing and extremely friendly service.

After lunch we headed to The Cotton Mill, above, to visit two textile studios. Cloth Fiber Workshop is run by Barbara Zaretsky. She uses natural dyes and had some phenomenal colors in her sophisticated designs. There were scarves, wall hangings and pillows. A plus was being able to see her work tables and dye kitchen, all open to the public. Also in the building was weaver Karen Donde's Sutherland Handweaving studio. The looms are all on view along with a wall of scarves and baskets of hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns. Here is a photo of some yarn I could just not resist. I have plans to use it in a hooked piece soon alongside my own hand-dyed wool.

We had a wonderful day out and I would encourage anyone visiting the Asheville area to take the time to visit the River Arts District. The talent is amazing and we will have to make another trip soon as we only caught a small glimpse of the more than 150 artists that have studios in this area. Enjoy your own explorations and have a great day.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Penland! Wow! Part of me is exhausted and part of me is full of color and design ideas waiting to be created. "Chromalicious: Color Liberation" was the class and instructor Alicia Keshishian infected all of us with her love of color. By mid- week I could not even go through the lunch buffet without noticing how the tomatoes, pineapples and beets created a delicious analogous color scheme. Here is a photo tour of the week:

A totally inspiring view which compliments the many inspiring people at Penland.

Here is the home away from home for the week. Alicia had strands of color chips hanging in the doorway to greet us on the first day of class.

Everyday the work table was covered with something new for the class to work on. Here are color chips which we used to show our favorite and least favorite colors. We also spent hours placing all the colors in order according to hue and value. A real eye-opener in how individuals view various colors.

Breaks were taken to visit other studios and Alicia was creative in using this time for us to search for various colors throughout the campus. This photo shows glass artist Martin Janecky forming a face out of glass. Absolutely mesmerizing.

A daily trip to the coffee shop is a must. I can recommend the hot spicy cocoa introduced to me by classmate and friend, Lucy.

A wonderful display of "artist plates" was showing in the Penland gallery. The gallery is open to the public, so please stop by to view some amazing work if you are in the area.

We had a great time with colors, creating names such as Flander's Field Poppy and Punch Bowl. This helps you see how you view color. 

Work table in action.

Kara's study of the interaction of color.

A great example of a glass created in class by artist Laurey and the color study which inspired it. Laurey also runs an Asheville restaurant. Click here to find out more about it.

A joyful group of scarves created by members of Janet Taylor's dye class greeted us on the last day of classes.  Right after this photo a breeze caught the scarves as if they were waving goodbye to us.

The week went by way too fast. Tears fell as we all said our goodbyes. It is amazing how close people can become in one week and how our interest in art and color brought us together. To all of you reading this who were in class, I love you all. You are wonderful artists and wonderful people. Keep the creativity and color in your lives shining.

If you ever have the chance, I would encourage you to take a class at this wonderful school. It is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever. Have a great day.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


This past week included a drive to Asheville to deliver two pieces juried into the show "The Cutting Edge: The Language of Textiles and Fiber Art" at the Desert Moon Design Gallery. Upon entering the gallery my husband and I were greeted by the gallery director, Julie Spalla, who could not have made us feel more welcome. The show will run from April 4-May 5. It was a pleasant surprise to see one of my pieces pictured in the advertisement for the show.

My piece is on the lower right.  Love the use of complimentary blue and orange in the ad.  I hope you will get the chance to go view the contemporary fiber works in the show and meet Julie, who can share her love of the arts with you.

This coming week will be a busy one as I will be taking a class at Penland. Penland is known as a national center at which one can experience immersion in their choice of craft courses. The course on my agenda for the week is "Chromalicious: Color Liberation" with Alicia Keshishian.

Just like back to school shopping!

Besides absolutely loving the name of this class, it appealed to me due to Alicia's experience in rug design. I have been keeping a digital sketchbook full of larger rug design ideas , but with the time-consuming nature of rug hooking I will be lucky if I ever complete a quarter of them.

I find myself both excited and nervous about this class, excited to have a full week to play with color, nervous as I do not view myself as having the best of painting skills and paints and painting paper are on the materials list. I have no idea what is in store for me, but will let you know all about it, with plenty of photos, next week.

Enjoy whatever is in store for you this week and have a great day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Spring is here and summer won't be far behind. The birds are making nests in our birdhouses, the dogwoods are in bloom and vacations are being planned. I feel as if I am counting the days toward one thing or another. The piece below is about two points of view. One of counting the days toward going home and the other of counting the time till someone comes home.

"Counting the Days"  18 1/2 X 20  Lori LaBerge  2012

Close-up of photo of old timepiece in doorknob hole.

While working on this piece I referred to my sketchbooks.  People always love to look through them, getting a peek at what goes through an artist's mind. When open studio tours are in progress, I always leave a sketchbook out for people to leaf through. Yes, I leave out the good, the bad and the ugly. When sketching, I am really not concerned about my drawing ability as I am thinking more about the idea or purpose of the piece. The reality is I sketch on any piece of paper near me when an idea strikes, from paper towels to magazine subscription cards (my nightstand is full of these with random sketches on them).

Here is a page containing various ideas using the abstract idea of a figure.  There are notes on color choices, how pieces should be put together and some ideas scribbled out.  These are worked into the more complete ideas below.

Though no changes were made for this particular piece (in the right bottom corner), I have often made many changes from sketch to finished work with other pieces. Never be afraid to deviate from the original plan.

Sketch out a few of your own ideas, see where it leads you and have a great day.