Saturday, December 29, 2012


It seems I am always too busy to take time out to experiment with the fiber arts. There are so many ideas I have for what I would like to do with rug hooking.  This will be my year to find some time to play with those ideas.  I will most likely have to do this in the evening as my regular rug hooking schedule takes up a good part of each day.

Yesterday, I went through my studio library and chose five books to focus on. These were all chosen due to the inclusion of exercises or ideas for being more creative.  I will share my experimentation throughout the year along with my regular projects. Here are my choices:

The New Creative Artist is hands-on with a spiral bound interior so you can easily work and see the pages at the same time.  There are activities located throughout including working with designing, drawing and experimenting.  Lots of ideas and great visuals!

How to Be Creative in Textile Art is loaded with lists, which I love.  An example is embellishments, with a list of six categories and over 75 ideas for types of embellishments.  Just reading those lists can keep your ideas flowing for hours.

Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists was chosen as this is something I keep telling myself I will do someday and so far have not accomplished.  No more putting this off.  It will happen this year and I am looking forward to playing with various fabrics, stitches, paint, drawing and book forms.

The Art of Urban Sketching is like taking a trip around the world.  Artists have shared their drawings of places they have visited.  As I love architecture and travel, I chose this to satisfy my yearning to get back to drawing again.  The book includes artist tips, from technique to proper materials.

 I had to have one of the five chosen relate directly to rug hooking.  Design Basics for Rug Hookers by friend Susan Feller was my choice.  Susan has a great way with words, is a great source of encouragement and includes exercises everyone from beginner to experienced rug hooker can benefit from.  Plus, I have this one on my i-pad.

Work on the studio was slowed down by the holidays, rain, sleet and snow this week.  Winds of 50 m.p.h blew through the area and I was pleased to see the far wall still standing.  Below you can see that footers in the front were placed along with the start of the back wall frame.  

My hope is that your new year will be filled with creativity and joy.  Choose your path, check out resources to help you on your way and have a great day.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


With wrapping gifts and preparing for holiday visitors, work is slowing down.  I did manage to get some more hooking done on "Blue Road", which was started last week.

"Blue Road" in progress,  Lori LaBerge  2012

The center area was adjusted with a darker blue added to contrast with the lighter blues.  This area is a depiction of a traveled path, starting inward and working its way out as the nomadic people start at one place and travel to another.  The mix of shades within each color are working out as planned, adding interest to each section.  The drawn design is off as when I started hooking I decided to change the plan for each section to a slightly more diamond shape rather than square.

As Wednesday was my birthday, I took the day off.  The first thing I did was watch the construction on the studio.

The bottom superior walls are up along with the start of the far wall which will be on the workshop side.  We also picked out windows this week.

The second thing I did is one of my favorite things, read a magazine.  I admit I am somewhat of a magazine junkie.  I was in heaven grabbing a glass of wine, gathering my favorite blanket, parking myself on the couch, and reading all afternoon.  A beautiful day!  Here are a few of my favorites (there are many more I will mention in future posts):

When Fiberarts Magazine stopped publishing, I was almost in tears.  Along came Fiber Art Now, and I was happy again.  This is a great publication and to my surprise has often included photos of rug hooked work.  In this issue, a work by Linda Friedman Schmidt was in the reader showcase section.  The major focus is on contemporary work.  Articles in this issue included info. on exhibitions, fiber arts in Spain, and work of various artists (loved how in the article on Jill Powers, she described her studio as a laboratory where she experiments).  I can barely wait to go to my laboratory tomorrow!  This is a must read for fiber artists interested in experimentation and contemporary work.

American Art Collector showcases some amazing painters.  Why am I interested in a magazine that shows mainly realistic work when I do textile and abstract pieces?  I believe all art starts with the drawing process.  The more you practice drawing and realistic work, the better all your other work will become.  I also enjoy the way compositions are put together, especially the ones that verge on fantasy art, with something unexpected popping up in the artwork.  In essence, this magazine is a visual feast for all interested in art.

Surface Design is a magazine where you find the artists who are really pushing the limits in the textile field.  I just love the creativity this magazine covers.  There is 2-D, 3-D and installation art included.  There are great interviews and the writing is hard to beat.  In this issue, one of rug hooker Liz Alpert Fay's  (who is doing some pretty cool tree pieces right now) works was included in the Exposure section.  All aspects of textiles are pretty much covered here.  To receive this magazine, you must join the Surface Design Association.  You can check out their site here.

Grab your favorite magazine before the holiday rush, enjoy some quiet time and have a great day.  And...

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


This week I started on a new piece in the nomadic series. This series explores nomadic travels and nomadic textile patterns. The finishing work on last week's piece will be completed at the same time I finish this piece.  That way I only have to get out the tools to cut and drill the metal being used once.

In progress, as yet untitled,  Lori LaBerge, 2012

Yarn was used around the center medallion to add texture. If you are interested in hooking with yarn, you can check out "The Joy of Hooking with Yarn" by Judy Taylor.

In progress, close-up of yarn combined with wool hooking

The shape for the work came from viewing various textiles nomads have created or used in the past, specifically an Anatolian medallion.

Photo above from book "Tribal and Village Rugs" published by Thames and Hudson. My favorite book for reference on motifs.  Common in these designs is a central motif surrounded by four other motifs. I used the two designs to the left for ideas.  In my design I have used the idea of four full-size diamonds up front and center, but used one of the four as the main focus, thus varying from the basics of the Anatolian design.  A flat-edge bottom with the point only at the top were placed into the design.

Gold at upper left dyed this week with extras from scrap box added for variety.  The bottom left colors are more rose than show up in this photo.  I like to add one color that is a little mismatched when I combine various shades.  The same idea is done with the blues below.

Colors based on, but not the same as the palette of Anatolian village rugs were used. I dyed a gold veering toward orange, a bright blue (dark blue would be more typically used) and the light blue seen in the first photo on this post (more pastel than would be used by Anatolian rug makers). My work tends to use quite a lot of bright colors and I did not want to veer away from that.

On the other end of things, studio construction is coming along nicely. The gravel was poured this week, drainage put in and outer cement blocks placed for the base of the building. Lower walls are due in next week, then framing can begin!

This coming weekend seems to be the time for Christmas and holiday parties and we will be heading to the coast to visit with some dear friends, thus the early posting.  I hope you all enjoy your time with friends and family and have a great day. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Things have been busy around here lately.  I did, however, find time to work on a small 10 x 10 piece during the week.  It is still in progress, though the rug hooking portion is completed.

Work in progress,  Lori LaBerge,  2012

The work above will be adjusted and placed on a 10 x 10 art board along with some metal and wood parts.  It is the first of a group of new pieces being created to add to some existing pieces for a solo exhibit in March. I am hoping to do two or three 20 x 20 pieces as well. 

     The work table.  The metal bar will need to be measured and cut and square dowels attached to the art board, which has been sanded, primed, painted and glazed. The hooking will then be attached to the art board.

The big project around here has been the construction of new studio space:

Here is the basic layout my husband and I created.  We have been needing a garage for a while now and decided to create a studio/gallery/workshop around it.  The workshop is on the side opposite the studio.  I'll be able to sneak in there to cut metal and wood parts without sawdust interfering with the fiber art.  Studio and workshop will each be 14' x 30'.  The front area of the studio will be set up as a gallery space people can visit.  In the back area between the studio and workshop will be storage with plenty of room to store propanel walls for shows, lighting, boxes for artwork, etc.

Here is the groundbreaking.  An exciting day!

The full area of the building has been dug out.  The area in the right foreground will be a porch in front of the studio.  You can just see the rectangular orange outline for it.

Concrete has been poured for the footings and we are waiting for the foundation walls to be delivered.

I'm already thinking ahead.  Above is a sample of the flooring I chose for the studio.  We spent the day looking at stoves, washers, dryers, sinks and other items for the dye section of the studio.

A week goes by so fast and sometimes I feel as though I have not accomplished as much as I would like, but I find writing things down and checking them off makes me realize things really did get done.  Keep a checklist of things you do during the next week, read it at the end of the week, give yourself a pat on the back for all you accomplished and have a great day.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Booth set up and ready to go!  This was the first time I had a corner booth, so there was space to hang longer rugs on the side.

The Carolina Designer Craftsmen show last weekend led to some pieces finding new homes. The latest mixed-media pieces and rock rugs received a great reception and I am now getting into the Christmas spirit here at home.  Some more photos from the show:

Still working on set-up.  Across the aisle from my booth.  Woodworker Chris Horney, who had a great story of how the wine cabinet seen on left was inspired by a flight over Iceland, and hat maker Wendy Allen, whose booth was busy all weekend with women trying on all of her wonderful hats.

Clay work by Louis and Christine Columbarini.  My booth was across from theirs at my very first CDCG show and I just love to visit with them every year.

Mary Vandergraft's beautiful hand-dyed scarves.  The glowing colors just hit you when you looked in the booth. 

Woven work by Mary Kircher.  Mary was a joy to visit with over the weekend and had some wonderful textured pieces.

I purchased some beautiful hand-dyed yarn from Neal Howard, which I have already started using in a project.  She weaves beautiful wearables.

Before the show I had ordered a book, "The Making of Modern Tapestry" and dvd, "A Weaverly Path: The Tapestry Life of Silvia Heyden" both focusing on the weaving work of Silvia Heyden. She creates tapestries, focusing on creating her own conversation with her work.  I love the way she explains how her fascination with moving water and music have influenced her work.  I would recommend the book and cd for anyone interested in a textile artist's creative process. Great reading and I can pop the dvd, which I will watch again, in my laptop so I can relax in bed!

My package after it arrived.  I really enjoyed being able to sit down with this book and also be able to view the artist's perspective on dvd.  A great combination!  The book and dvd are available from Groove Productions, (be sure to click on For Home Use if you are interested in purchasing it for your own use), which gave impeccable service.

A sample page from the book.  There are photos plus the artist's comments on pieces.

Speaking of weaving, I visited with Edwina Bringle last night and she will be teaching a special weaving workshop March 21-27 at Penland called "Loom Play" for beginners and those more experienced. Sounds like fun! See info. on class at the bottom of the page here

Think about the types of classes you would like to enjoy, sign up for one or make up one for yourself at home and have a great day.