Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lapis Rock Rug and Studio Cleaning

Lapis Rock Rug  Lori LaBerge  2012

The latest piece finished is a rug designed for piece of brilliant blue lapis. Lapis is mined in the Colorado and California areas of the United States. It was used in a powdered form to create ultramarine paint in medieval times. Cleopatra was said to use lapis eyeshadow. There are beautiful white streaks through the piece that are created by calcium carbonate in the stone. This particular stone has two flat sides which lends it to being displayed upright as in the above photo or horizontal as in the photo below.

Lapis Rock Rug  Lori Laberge  2012

I have been spending time here and there cleaning out my work area for the Studio Tour June 8-10. Below are some before and after photos. There is still quite a bit of work to be done as I tend to work in organized chaos, but I'm getting there. I used to be the type to clean up after every little bit of work I did until I took a class where the instructor told us to "focus on the work and forget about the mess". 

 Here is the studio are in total chaos.  This is the way I like it.  Everything is out and in reach.

Here it is more organized.  I like visitors to have room to walk around the table, touch the wool, and enjoy themselves.

Even I have to admit the desk area is a mess.  Papers and smaller tools really did need to be organized for easier access.

This is a start.  The desktop is better organized, but maybe I need to work on those books up above.

Here is where I place various color inspirations.  Quite a few of these are from the color class I took at Penland.  The framed piece is a hooking I did years ago based on a visit my husband and I took to Cleve Abbey in England.

Whether you prefer to work in an environment in total chaos or total organization, enjoy the work you create and have a great day.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Two new pieces mixing rug hooking with local raw gems were completed this past week. The people over at the local gem shop have been extremely helpful in educating me in identifying various rocks from the area.

Lori LaBerge  2012

This work features a beautiful piece of raw emerald.

As in similar works I have done, the wool used is from leftover strips kept in one of two large plastic bins. One bin is mostly 6-cut strips and the other 3 and 4-cut strips.

I really need to use these up as they are beginning to take up quite a bit of space in the studio.

The second work uses a piece of tourmaline with bits of garnet. I chose the red for it to sit on to pick up on the bits of garnet which are a reddish brown color.

Lori LaBerge  2012

While working on the above pieces, I received a call that the editor of Rug Hooking Magazine, Debra Smith, was in the area visiting a friend and would like to see the studio. The women came over on Tuesday and we had a wonderful time discussing various aspects of rug hooking. We talked about some recent dyeing Debra had done, tools of the trade, the need to preserve the history of the craft, as well as the importance of moving the craft forward with contemporary works.

During the conversation, I was offered the opportunity to write and present an article to the magazine. I'll be taking notes and putting ideas together while also preparing for the Toe River Open Studio Tour in June. Busy is a good thing!

Reading on the deck.  Just happened to be finishing up Chinese take-out with a fortune cookie, actually believed to be introduced by the Japanese and mostly consumed by Americans, so this dessert was perfect with the cover.

Enjoy the opportunities that come your way, thank the people that make them possible and have a great day.

Note:  I apologize for extra spaces left at the bottom of some blogs.  Blogspot simply does not seem to be letting me delete these at present.

Friday, May 11, 2012


While sorting through photos the other day, I found some great shots of doors and windows. I love finding patterns in both the new and old as my husband and I drive through towns and visit new places.

I love everything about these doors.  The bars at the top, the "x" shape, the slats of wood behind the "x" shape forming stripes, the metal hardware including those great rings.  So much inspiration to draw from one doorway.

This door has a busy, complex pattern.  I love the way the ironwork looks against the striped pattern of the building itself.  The curves remind me of a William Morris pattern with luscious scroll work.  Yummy!

This is a close-up of part of a wonderful old door.  I love the combination of the diagonals with the straight boards across the top and bottom.  The door exudes strength with its geometric lines and clavos (decorative nail heads).  

These are wheel windows.  They have spokes radiating from the center circle outward.  These form a simple shape similar to a child's drawing of a flower.  The term rose windows, which some may call these, is usually reserved for more complex designs.  I love the way the stone surrounds them, giving some depth.

I love going through old buildings.  There is something about the deterioration of the materials that fascinates me.  This window is framed in metal and the rust can be seen where it has dripped down each section.  The paint on the metal has decayed with age.  This window has great character.  I can envision a painting of rectangular sections with burnt umber paint applied and left to drip over the canvas.

This window is in an old deserted waterworks building.  It has certainly taken the brunt of vandalism over the years.  The broken sections have great abstract shapes and leave much to the imagination.  The second window on the top reminds me of a cat's head.  What do you see in these shapes?

Next time you encounter a window or door, look at it in a new way, imagine all the design possibilities and have a great day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


If there is one thing I have learned through doing studio tours and shows it is to have smaller items available. Right now there are quite a few larger items in my studio ready to hang for the Toe River Studio Tour in June, but there is a need for some smaller items. I like to have something different every year and this year I will be mixing local gems and minerals with rug hooked mats.

Amethyst "rock rug"  Lori Laberge  2012

I really enjoy working on these pieces. They give me a chance to search through my stash of strips leftover from other projects and use them to create something new. The purple of the amethyst led to a double compliment color sheme with purple, yellow, turquoise and red-orange. White was added in as a neutral to give a contrasting space for the amethyst rock to be placed on. The piece would have been too busy and distracted from the rock if I had brought too much color into the center area.

Close-up of whipped edge

The photo above gives a good look at the whipped edges. The piece goes from lighter values in the middle to darker values on the edge. I chose turquoise and purple in darker values for the whipping and used some leftover Paternayan yarn to go with the outer edge of the hooking.

This photo gives an idea of how the rug mat looks in situ.

One person saw these pieces and said "Every rock needs a rug." I love this, it reminds me of when I was a kid and we all had pet rocks. 

Enjoy the little things in art and life and have a great day.