Sunday, August 26, 2012


Penland is a place that grows on you quite quickly. There is so much activity. Studios full of glass workers, metal workers, weavers, book makers and others make the time there exciting and inspiring.  The second and final week of weaving class with Michael Rohde went by way too quickly. If you ever have a chance to take a class with him, you will thoroughly enjoy the learning process.  Here are photos from the week.

I gravitated toward the stripes I use so much in hooked work.  The weaving is completed, but I still have finishing work to do.

Renee completed a beautiful runner using a lot of great texture.  She even included horse hair. Every time you look at it you see something different.

Dana used a combination of eye-catching brights juxtaposed against black.  She is a textile designer whose work can be seen here.

Carl created a great optical illusion we could not stop looking at.

Kate made use of neutrals to create subtle shading.  She is an artist whose work can be seen here.

Heather used her creativity, weaving a yoga mat from weather stripping material.  She is in the interior design industry. Check out some of her work here.

Thursday was auction night.  I donated one of my crow pieces and Michael donated two beautiful rugs.   A fun, exciting evening for all.

Friday was show and tell. Kate did a wonderful job with the weaving display.

Our graduation photo. I could not have asked for a better group of people to spend time with.   It was hard to say goodbye on Friday, but all good things must come to an end.  Hopefully, we will run into each other again at some point.  If any of you from class are reading this, I wish you nothing but the best.

It is amazing what a group of people can accomplish in two weeks.  Enjoy the people you meet along the way in life, keep the great memories and have a great day.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Wow! This has been a full week. I'm learning a whole new vocabulary with heddles, reeds, sheds, shuttles, inlay, twill, shot, bubbling, etc.  Though it is exhausting, there is nothing quite like Penland to have the opportunity to become totally immersed in a craft with instructors who are at the top of their field.  Our instructor (Michael Rohde) has some beautiful work which can be seen here.

With no knowledge of the weaving process before this week, I have decided to work on a group of smaller pieces.  I need to work on technique and hopefully will see some improvement with each piece.  Here are some photos from the past week.

The weaving room

A demo on preparing the warp threads

Beginning to place warp threads onto loom.  I think I will need to see the whole process done about 50 times before I finally get it!

Warp threads are placed through the heddles (the small silver bars hanging down) which hang on the shafts (the black frames).  There are 8 shafts on this loom.

Here is my first attempt.  You can see near the front of the photo how I was beginning to draw the warp inward by weaving too tight.  I then began to go too loose and had a few yarn loops hanging from the back.  The top third of the piece was much better.

This second piece is going much more smoothly.  The weave is good, but I would like to have nicer edges.  I'll work on that this coming week.

Below are photos of work by other students in the class.  I love the variety of ideas people have.  

This just reminds me of a wonderful cozy sweater to throw on during a chilly day.  Great texture.

This is a twill weave.  The green and gray are wonderful together and, of course, I love all the stripes!

Who doesn't love blue and white!  I really like the variation of solid and striped blocks.

In addition to class this week, I was notified of two works being juried into "Pushing the Limits: New Expressions in Hooked Art 2012".  The juror this year was Kristin Muller, Executive Director of Peters Valley Craft Center in Layton, New Jersey. Juried in were "The Rain Will End" and "Freedom to Come and Go".  

Face new challenges, never stop learning and have a great day!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


"Cliff by the Sea"  13 1/4 X 10 X 2 1/2  Lori LaBerge 2012

One more rock rug was completed before I spend the next two weeks taking a weaving class at Penland. The rock used for "Cliff by the Sea" reminded me of the White Cliffs of Dover.  A photo of the cliffs can be seen here. Since the area of the cliffs has a fence line, I created one for my own "cliff".

 Close-up of fence and rock,  "Cliff by the Sea"  Lori LaBerge  2012

The fence took on a rougher look, weathered a bit by time. Old picture hangers, nails, wire and fishing weights were gathered. The weights were used as buoys hanging from the upright posts of the fence.

I have also been busy ordering supplies for a rug weaving class with Michael Rohde at Penland. It is a two-week course with studios open 24-7.  I will let you know how it is going next week.  The thought of combining weaving and rug hooking has been in the back of my mind for a while and I am hoping I can acquire enough skills to make this happen.

Since I am new to weaving and have not created a design yet, I had a difficult time ordering colors.  How much of each color will I need?  There is red, orange, light purple, dark purple, white and black.  Hopefully, it will all work out.

Some of the typical supplies for classes.  On the back right side, there is  a book on rug techniques by Peter Collingwood.  I'm finding the book fairly technical.  It should be easier to follow when I am actually looking at a loom rather than visualizing one.  I could not find a site of the late Peter Collingwood's work, but his son Jason has a great site here.  Lots of geometric eye candy under the gallery heading.

Here are items I am totally unfamiliar with.  On top are a heddle hook, for threading and a rug beater for packing down each row of weaving.  The second row is a temple for keeping the edges of the rug straight.  The bottom two are stick shuttles for holding the yarn as weaving is done.  Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about?  I'm so much more comfortable with rug hooking tools.

Yesterday, I started creating an art journal with photos of colors, textures, and ideas for the class. It is great to feel like a kid again, cutting and pasting photos from magazines. 

Here is my journal page on texture.  Bumpy, rough, furry, I love them all!  Most of the photos I cut out are from one of my favorite magazines, Interior Design.  

Next up were design and color.  You can really learn a lot about yourself by doing this exercise.   There was no surprise that I veer toward contemporary designs.  The surprise came with the circles, not a shape I find myself using much.  I love all color combinations, but analogous ruled with a bit of complementary.  The simple act of pasting one picture over another gave me some great ideas for future pieces.

Grab yourself an art journal (you don't need anything fancy), reach for your inner child and have a great day.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


"Jasper Out of Reach" 12" X 9 3/4" X 4" Lori LaBerge  2012

It's funny how things come together. I knew when I saw the piece of red jasper above that the rug for it would revolve around the colors of Sedona, Arizona and the western U.S. The color of the jasper is very similar to that of the red rocks for which Sedona is known.

Colors of wool used based on the photos below.

There were actually more shades of green out west than I expected.

Shades of orange, red, green, black and white seen in the rocks.

I have ideas for every piece, but don't always fully develop how they will be implemented at the beginning of the project. When the rug section was finished, I took a break to clean the bedroom closet. There I was, cleaning a shelf, when I picked up one of my necklaces and the chains broke and fell all over the closet floor.

I honestly had no interest in putting the chains back together because I was already thinking of a way to use one of them in the rock rug. The last two of the rock rugs have dealt with barriers and what better barrier than a chain. 
 Close-up of chain, nails, wire, and washers used for barrier.

I love creativity. It is always amazing to me how people think in different ways and come up with different ideas. Sometimes a simple thing like a broken necklace can lead to a new thought process.

Enjoy where simple accidents can lead you, explore your own creativity and have a great day.