Sunday, July 29, 2012


Since I've been using both new and salvaged metal parts in wall pieces, it was only a matter of time before metal began to be used in the rock rugs.

"Caged Rose Quartz"  12 3/4" x 8 1/4" x 2 1/2"   Lori LaBerge  2012

Close-up of wire wrapping.  Lori LaBerge  2012

Rocks are embedded and safely surrounded within their natural homes before being removed, mined, sold raw or worked into finished gems.  The rose quartz shown above has thick picture hanging wire wrapped around it to simulate a caged and trapped environment.   It is more along the lines of keeping things protected and safe from the outside world.   The rougher wire was used to compliment the rough cut of the rock itself.  The rock is set on its own island section of the rug.  The various blues portray water flowing between the various land formations.

"Camelot"  13" x 9" x 2 1/2"  Lori LaBerge  2012

Shades of pink, green, dark gray and off white were used in the rug above to bring out the variety of colors in the piece of watermelon tourmaline.   Again, the thought of rocks being kept safe in a natural home was used.   In this case, the rock is fenced into its own little area within the rug.

  Close-up of watermelon tourmaline rock.  Lori LaBerge  2012

Working on these pieces made me think of how often we confine people or things, not to purposely imprison them, but to keep them safe.  We see children playing out in the streets less than they used to, we keep our pets indoors, we place our money in a bank and we have fences around our homes.  There is no animosity in these actions.  We merely want to keep our children, pets, money and homes safe.  It is interesting how confinement can be both good and bad.

Think about what you keep confined in your life ( I like to keep my work tools confined in their little box and, yes, I'm guilty of keeping my chocolate in a certain place).  Have a great day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


After taking my parents to lunch at a local cafe a couple weeks back, we headed over to Little Switzerland Books and Beans. This is a wonderful used bookstore and coffee shop located in Little Switzerland, NC. I could easily spend hours searching through the stacks. Little did I know those stacks held some old books on rug hooking and textile art. Here are four of my finds:

This book was published in 1973 and written by Ethel Jane Beitler.  

  I love this photo from the interior as it shows a painting on the left that was made and used as a pattern for the rug on the right.  Unfortunately, no credit was given to the artist. 

Authored by David B. Van Dommelen and published in 1962.

This sample from the inside of the book shows great variety.  Stitching was combined with rug hooking.  Artist: Van Dommelen

Published in 1975 and authored by Shirley Marein.

The photo of this piece in the book grabbed me as it contains embroidery techniques, yarn and photos in the face area of "The Three Graces" by Shirley Marein.

This book is by Lili Blumenau and published in 1967.  Though it focuses on weaving, there are some great ideas in it.  I really like the piece below which actually uses seeds in the weft of the weaving.  When I look at it, I am reminded of ancient texts.

Roam around some used bookstores, see if you find something surprising in the stacks ( I actually found a few good mysteries, also) and have a great day.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


"Not Like the Others",  30" X 12 1/2"   Lori LaBerge  2012

This piece is the fifth in a grouping of abstract figure works. The work focuses on the importance of individuality and being true to yourself. Three of the figures are basically the same, portraying conformity. The figure in blue is different than others, expressing him or herself in his or her own way. He or she respects others, but does not change to please them.

In "Not Like the Others", the three similar figures are adorned with keyholes. There is a key that is needed to reach them. Their minds are closed to new ideas and change. The small photo in the door plate of the blue figure shows a person and a ladder. The idea is that we all aspire to climb the ladder of life, but we need to embrace the various ways we all reach our goals. Hopefully, we also embrace change as we grow.  If we simply mimic others, we lose our individuality. Here are a few quotes on being yourself:

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." --  John F. Kennedy

"If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking." --  Benjamin Franklin

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is a great old strike plate used in the piece.  Though many of these may have been made, this is one of a kind. There is  no other with the exact wear and tear of metal and coloration as this one.

Celebrate the aspects of yourself that make up your individuality, create your own path in life and have a great day.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


I was excited this past week as FedEx drove up the driveway to deliver a carpet sample of a rug my husband and I are having commissioned. I have done quite a few commissions on rug designs, but this time I am enjoying being on the other end.

Rug sample section of a rug being designed for our home by Alicia Keshishian.

When I took a color class at Penland School of Crafts, the designs of Alicia Keshishian really caught my eye. The entry of our home needed a 10-foot runner, so after classes were finished I spoke with Alicia about a design for this area. She has been a joy to work with. My husband and I e-mailed our thoughts about design to her along with photos of the entryway. Alicia took everything into consideration in creating a look that would fit perfect in our home.

Some of the wool samples sent for thoughts on color. Most of these colors were lightened up in the design process.

My husband is a competitive rifle shooter along with having been captain of the U.S. Palma Team. We have been lucky enough to have had the chance to travel to a number of foreign countries through his sport. I wanted the rug to somehow represent this part of his life. Rather than a straight forward target design, Alicia came up with a great abstracted look for it. This was perfect as it keeps with her own sense of design, yet still speaks to us.

  Close-up of rug design by Alicia Keshishian.  The motifs are in silk wool.

We have given the green light on the final design. The weaving process will take a while and I will post pictures of the rug when it arrives and is placed in the entryway of our home.

Our entryway, patiently awaiting its new rug.

As a rug maker and artist, I would recommend that anyone in the same profession commission a work at least once to be able to see it from the other person's side. It allows you to have a deeper understanding of why a person is asking for specific features in a work.

Try seeing things from someone else's perspective, keep true to yourself and have a great day.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


A new project was started this week from an original drawing done when the idea of working with abstract figures began.

Monday:  Colors to be dyed were decided upon.  I went with analogous groupings.

  This is the same wool after dyeing.  A marbleized method was used.

Tuesday:  The idea behind this piece is to be yourself and show your individuality.  The figures are completed and some background has started.

 Wednesday:  Background is completed on the blue figure and washers have been stitched into the circle areas.

Thursday:  Background has been started on another figure.  The rest of the background will be a dark brown and green mix so the blue figure with a light ivory pastel background will stand out.

Friday:  We stopped at Architectural Salvage of Greensboro as I was running out of salvaged pieces to work with and need some for this piece.  This is a great place to find all kinds of pieces to fit into artwork and the people there are really friendly.

Here is a box full of old locks.  I love the variety of colors.  Rust, white peeling paint, silver, brown etc.  

This wall of old door plates is one of my favorites.  There are a large variety of styles to fit all sorts of projects.

So often we feel as if we have not accomplished enough.  Take photos of your daily efforts, surprise yourself while viewing all you have done in one simple week and have a great day.