Saturday, January 26, 2013


"Blue Road", 18 X 18, Lori LaBerge  2012

I have been jumping around working on various pieces.  Some, already in progress, were put aside in order to have time to create a few more works for the PAF Gallery showing March 15th and 16th.  The past week included some of the finishing work on "Blue Road". 

The metal and wood parts were placed and I created two tassels.  When researching nomadic clothing and bags, I noticed an extensive use of tassels.  I could not find any information on the meaning these may have had and will continue to try to find out more about them.  Their addition completed the piece and added to its story.  All that is left now is the final labeling, framing and wiring. 

After a day of work, I love to read at night.  With the snow falling outside, I decided to curl up in bed with a hot chocolate and a good book.  This was my choice:

The book interested me as Lee Krasner was an artist in her own right, painting abstract work before she met Jackson Pollock.  I've only read the first chapter and am glued to the pages.  My favorite part of artist biographies is learning the artist's approach to work and thoughts about that approach.  I find it unfortunate that when I minored in Art History in college there were very few women artists whom we studied.

The journal activity for the week was a different take on brain-storming.  I wanted to take some time to discover how I thought about fiber art and what words I associated with it.  I decided to rip two pages out of a book (any book will do).  I happened to find an old history book from high school.  I then took colored pencils and x'd out words that I felt were not associated with textiles or fiber.  I chose the x as it resembles stitching.

The words left after marking others out were then written around the page.  It was interesting that while working with the first page I only filled half a page of background while I filled the whole of the second page of the journal.  I went back after finishing the second and looked for words on the first page I may have missed. Through this process I completed the first journal page.  

Close-up of page

Some of the words I found were: strong, lofty, custom, fringed, cloak, adorned, native, arts, curiosity and time.  The more I worked the process, the more I stretched how words could be associated with textile and fiber work.  When returning to the first page, I found I had missed words such as wander, forward, irregular, becomes and reunite. Why did I now accept these words?  I began to think in a new way:  one can use fiber in a wandering motion, want the fiber arts to move forward, see the uniqueness of irregularities, make plain fabric become beautiful and tear fabric apart to reunite it in a new way.

Look at the words you read in a new way, relate them to your art, hobby, or life and have a great day.

Note--No news on the studio update, weather is really holding things up.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Chief's Road", "Vineyard Road" , Journal and Studio Update

Things are getting busy around here.  I am preparing some new pieces for a show at the PAF Gallery in Siler City, NC, after having been invited to exhibit and to teach a class.  The dates will be March 15 and 16 with the exhibit opening Friday night and the class Saturday morning.  

    "Chief's Road"  10 X 10  Lori LaBerge  2012

The piece above came about as I studied photos of chief blankets.  Since my Nomadic Series has mainly focused on roadways, I decided to bring my own version of a chief blanket into the series.  The old jewelry piece attached to the top is reminiscent of a dream catcher and fit perfect with the work.

"Vineyard Road"  10 X 10  Lori LaBerge  2012

I finished framing and adding metal to this piece which was hooked earlier.  The purple and green remind me of rows of grapes in a vineyard setting.  I am hoping to complete a few more of these size pieces for the exhibit.

My journal activity this week was to tackle a boring subject.  Everyone has a different idea of what bores them in art and mine is pears.  I have seen more pear paintings than I can mention.  It just seems they are always shown the same way, in the same setting.  I would like to see something different done with them.  Here is what I did:

I searched my collection of photos and found the one above of the side of an old deserted warehouse a few towns over from where I live.  The thought came to place a giant pear in the warehouse.  This came from the great "What if?" question. Through photoshop, I created the piece below by adjusting the photo above and drawing a pear into the photo.

"The Giant Red Pear Warehouse"  Lori LaBerge  2012

I really enjoyed this activity as it led me down a different road playing with neutrals and bright color combined.  I don't often use black and white or other neutrals as a backdrop and may try it in my hooking.  I would actually not mind hooking the above piece and testing out if I could make the various grays work in the piece.

Here are a few links to paintings of pears which I really love.  Each artist created something different with the pear as the subject.  They took what could be a boring subject and created something for the viewer to think about.

Jacob Pfeiffer--This painting is wonderful.  I love the way the artist depicts nature and technology side by side.  Notice the small butterfly on top of the light bulbs.

Sara Jane Doberstein--I love the way the crates the pears are on are worn and the artist also portrays pears that are not perfect.  I also like the couple of pears on top, the group below them and the odd pear out on the bottom.  It reminds me of a family grouping.

John Whalley--This is intriguing.  The pear who wants to be a shell, but as the understudy is capable, but not the star.  A very creative take on the subject matter.

What is your idea of a boring subject?  Experiment, try to come up with a different way to approach that subject and have a great day.

Studio update-- No work was done this week as the weather was rain, rain and more rain.  I did, however, receive the new sign for the studio.  It will go in storage until the building is ready for it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


While designing a striped piece a while back, I ended up going in a different direction.  The straight geometric lines I tend to stick with began to change into curves.  The piece was inspired by the sight of a beautiful sunset near our home. Clouds were moving speedily by the orange sky and I began to envision sails in the wind with the sun turning water various shades of orange.

"Sunset Sails" in progress,  Lori LaBerge  2012

Out came the sketchbook and the piece was developed.  It took a while to get the design to a point where I was happy with it.  I ended up taking a photo of my sketch, placing it into Photoshop and playing with the curves a little.  

"Sunset Sails" still has a way to go!  Brighter oranges will be hooked in soon.

Straight lines are static.  They may be going somewhere, but they don't depict a sense of movement as well as curves, turns, dashes, waves or other lines do.  I often place dashes of various shades of a color together to create interest in straight lines.   Curved lines can depict action or create a sensuous feel in a piece of art.  Movement and curves were the subject of my journal activity this week.

This page is a combination of actual textiles and magazine photos.  I love the way the photo on the center left just seems to dance.  It is not so much the pattern, but the way the photographer grouped them together in a dancing fashion that attracted me. The center top with its circular movement is cut from some upholstery fabric that was in the studio.  Below that, the contrast of black and white always works for me and there is great movement in the curves of the textile pattern.  The bottom left is a pattern of small flowers floating through space as if a light wind was blowing.

It surprised me how different the second page on movement came out.  The first page veered  toward geometric patterns while this page veered more toward nature. The upper left is a photo of trees made from steel and the way the two trees are interacting is interesting.  Are they fighting or attracted to each other?  The leaves in the center were cut from upholstery fabric. Each of them has a pattern of movement within them.  The nautilus shell just shows how wonderful nature is with its designs, the spiral drawing the viewer's eye around the shell.  

Have some fun searching for movement in design and shapes and define what you think the designer or artist was trying to portray.  Do you find yourself attracted to certain lines?  Hopefully, you will discover something new about yourself, confirm something you already knew (as I did my love of nature) and have a great day.

Update on studio construction;

So much that is not visible happened this week with more piping and drainage.  The cement floor base was poured and blocks were placed in front, where the studio porch will be.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


"Blue Road" with finishing work in progress,  Lori LaBerge  2013

The hooking on "Blue Road" was completed this week.  Searching through the studio yarn stash, I was lucky enough to find two shades of dark blue to combine for whipping the edges.  The 20" X 20" art board on which the piece will be mounted is on order and will be painted next week if it arrives on schedule.

  Whipping on "Blue Road" in progress, Lori LaBerge  2013

Another part of the week was dedicated to journal work.  The five books I will be using to help me along in my journal project were discussed in the last post.  As I am not known for following directions precisely, (the rebel in me), I often adjust exercises to my interests.  This week's exercise was working with shadows.  I took photos of shadows around the exterior of the house and used a couple of photos I had taken while at Penland last year.

Journal pages with computer printouts of shadow photos I had taken.

My interest in geometrics definitely came out in this exercise.  There were some great shadows on the stairway.  I love the movement in the photo on the far upper left.  It makes me want to dance.  The photo to the right of that one is the shadow of a rail on the gravel below.  It has an abstract tree feel to it.  

While the idea that I took photos of stripes did not surprise me, the zigzag pattern did.  I don't often work with zigzags and due to this exercise,  I already have some ideas going for future projects.  There is a variance in the photos from wide stripes to medium to narrow stripes.  Combining wide and narrow would interest me.  I would also like to see the photo in the upper right cropped into a square.  

The photo on the bottom right journal page was of grass on pavement and reminds me of drawing continuous circles on paper as a kid.  It has more of a sense of freedom to it than the other photos.  I really liked that the black and white aspect of the photos allowed me to focus on design aspects without color interference.  

Experiment with shadows this week, ask yourself what interests you, or if they give you design ideas and have a great week. 

This week's studio/gallery construction update:

More wall framing is up, pipes for plumbing were installed and wood was placed along the flooring so cement can be poured next week.