Saturday, February 23, 2013


work in progress,  Lori LaBerge  2013

The color scheme for the above will include six different grays and was inspired by a journal activity this week.  I was walking by one of our too many bookcases and saw this:

I was reminded of all the times I had been told by instructors to avoid gray in a rug. "It will suck the life out of all the other colors." was a common statement.  An instructor once took a piece of gray wool out of my hand and tossed it aside as useless.  Though certainly not traumatic, as a beginning rug hooker it did have me avoiding gray for quite a while.  As I looked at the row of books, with grays next to bright colors, it was decided that this week's journal activity would be to work with gray.

I found gray items around the house and placed various items of color on or near them.  Love this bright green with the gray.  I can picture a white and gray background with a brilliant pop of green on it.  See more green and gray combinations here.

Red and gray make a great combination.  Gray is a calming color and red is active so there is some friction going on with these two.  See more of this duo here.

This turquoise pops against the gray and they are a beautiful design combination. Just look at these interiors.

Gray is known as sophisticated, intelligent and dignified.  We often see it used in modern interior design to lend sophistication and worn by business people as it gives a sense of authority.  By using more gray, we can appreciate the power of this true neutral.

The above photo is from the latest issue of Architectural Digest.  The flowers and book covers add pops of bright color to the decor.  I love this magazine.  Since it has been revamped, there is reference to all of the art in the homes.  It is interesting to see the type of art people choose and how it is displayed.

We don't always have to follow the rules.  Choose something you were told to never do with your art and design or something you questioned, break the rules and have a great day.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


"Mountain Trails" 10 X 10   Lori LaBerge  2013

The Nomadic Series continued this week with the creation of "Mountain Trails".  I have really become interested in continuing this series with various types of travel routes.  Paths, trails, roads, shipping routes, air routes, etc. all interest me.  We seem to spend our lives going from one place to another, whether near or far.  We travel for vacations, work, visits and other reasons.  Where would we be without roadways, railways, and other "paths" from here to there?

I'm also enjoying working with the 10 X 10 format with these pieces and am finding them quite addictive.  The idea of working with various shapes within this size constraint is also something I've been playing with.

"River's Path"  10 X 10  Lori LaBerge  2013

The hooking on "River's Path", above,  was finished a couple of weeks ago and is now mounted and framed.  All of the finishing work can take longer than the hooking process, but is well worth the time and effort.  Whether edging or mounting or framing, it is important to show respect to the work you put into the hooking and display work professionally.

I found a website that shows various fiber art techniques and decided to use this to experiment with this week rather than a journal project.  The site is Workshop on the Web:  Textile Innovation On-Line.  The site puts out a publication which I just subscribed to, but also has what they call a web taster, where you can view samples of their publication in the form of how-to articles.  I really enjoyed the articles as I love the idea of combining various fiber techniques with rug hooking. Embellishment, trapunto, canvas work, collage and interviews with textile artists are all samples of the types of information you can receive. 

I worked on the article explaining darning technique.  Middle school home economics (yes, I'm that old), was the first time I was introduced to darning and I don't remember it having much of an impact on me.  This article had me thinking about all the patterns one could create with the technique and the idea of rug hooking around a section of darning.  

Some leftover yarns were rounded up along with a leftover scrap of linen and I started getting down to business.  I will need some time to experiment with more contemporary design ideas, but here is the result of Friday's playtime:

"Field and Woods"  2" X 7 1/2"  Lori LaBerge  2013

The colors I had on hand lended themselves to a landscape type scene.  Both straight horizontal and vertical stitching were used along with a weaving of the two in the lighter section representing treetops.  A fuzzier yarn was used in this area for a variation of texture.  This is a very relaxing technique and made me think that I would most likely enjoy tapestry weaving.  For now, I will leave that to another day.

There is so much to enjoy with fiber work.  You never know when a new idea may come to you from your experimentation.  Choose something you haven't tried, give it a go and have a great day.

Snow is in the air and the update on the studio is that it is on hold for a short while. My husband and I are both experienced do-it-yourselfers and we are discussing what we would like to work on rather than have done.  Pete is applying sealing tape in the above photo.  The excitement this week was the arrival of the stove and washer/dryer for the dye kitchen!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I have been invited to teach a workshop at the PAF Gallery in Siler City, NC on March 16.  It will be on beginning hooking and we will work on a geometric design. Below is a sample hooking of one version of the design we will work with.

"Split Path"  5 X 7 Lori LaBerge  2013 

The reason I stated "one version" above is because I rarely have rules with a design. There is a simple square on top and I added the wavy diagonal line during the hooking process.  I would like those attending class to feel free to vary this design to their liking.  Experimentation and creativity will be encouraged.  Various colors of dyed wool will be available along with yarns and metal hardware parts. There are a multitude of ways to add to or vary a simple design and I am looking forward to the ideas people come up with.

There will also be an exhibit of my works from March 15 thru April 5.  This week has been busy as I have been ordering supplies for the class, deciding which pieces to display, and preparing packing materials.  

While cleaning out the studio, I realized how many excess pieces of linen in all shapes and sizes were thrown in a drawer.  Throwing out leftover scraps doesn't come easy for me and the linen scraps were beginning to pile up.  I decided to give myself 10 minutes to grab whatever items I could and create something from those items.  I grabbed a ton of linen scraps, an old art canvas, a pencil, spray paint, thread, a needle and a pair of scissors.  An hour later, here is the result:

Journal study in neutrals using scraps, Lori LaBerge  2013

Since the spray paints happened to be neutral colors, this exercise forced me to work in colors I do not usually use.  I love bright colors and had to hold myself back from cheating and using other colors.  After a while there seemed to be a real sense of calm as I worked with the neutral palette.  Perhaps I will try using it in a larger hooked work at some point.  

The exercises in the last few posts have really taught me to work quickly as I like to set a specific time limit for each one. 

Here is a close-up view of the rectangles I cut from the linen and then placed on top of each other.  I love the raw edges showing the texture of the piece.

Bring some colors you would not normally use into your life this week and have a great day.

Studio Update:

It is actually starting to look like a building now.  The roof rafters are on and the plywood is on the exterior walls.

A view of the interior so far.  I so wish I had all this space for the studio, but a garage area is needed.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


"River's Path"  Lori LaBerge  2012

I have been working on a fixed schedule lately.  The first two days of each of the past 3 weeks have been spent working on a project that won't be revealed for a while as it is for an exhibit and magazine article.  The next two days are spent designing and hooking pieces for an exhibit at the PAF Gallery in March and Friday's have been spent doing finishing work and journal exercises.  

The piece hooked this week, "River's Path", will be framed on 10 x 10 art board with metal and is a continuation of the nomadic works.  As I drew out the design I began to think of a path by the water, which drew me to the piles of blue wool in the studio. I also had a packet of old fishing sinkers in my metal supply which fit perfectly with the theme of the piece.

Journaling this week consisted of taking photos of patterns in the house.  I added the task of coming up with design ideas from the photos.  This exercise can help to look at everyday things in a different way. It also encourages the formation of various ways to work with the patterns you have found.

The idea is not to necessarily have a completed design, but to work toward that goal or to possibly use sections of the new found design with other work.  I put in about half an hour finding various elements to photograph and another half hour working on possible design ideas.  These ideas can be done freehand or on the computer, whatever is comfortable and works best for you.  Here are a couple I came up with:

Here is a section of a bookcase full of old Cliff Note Books.  I'm showing my age here!  Below is a possible design idea:

The patterned bottom against the plainer top area interests me and I would work with this idea further. The staples in the original photo were darkened as they added interest. I would definitely hook the name "Othello" (upper right) into the final piece as a conversation point.  I would shorten the bottom area for better balance, leaving a single row of black diagonals to go with the thin staple lines.

Here is an old fan with great lines and blades that remind me of leaves.  Below is a design idea:

The focus is on the leaf-like blade.  I actually love this as is and would consider hooking it in the future.  It reminds me of something off of a printing press.  The curved lines could be hooked or an actual metal section of a fan could be placed over the hooking. 

Experiment with patterns around you, search out things you would normally pass by, create your own design ideas and have a great day.

Studio update:

The front framing has been completed.

The roof rafters can be seen in the foreground and should be installed this coming week.  The garage area is in the center and the studio, storage and workshop will form a "U" shape around it.