Saturday, May 25, 2013


"Through the Cherry Blossoms", 18" X 60" in progress,  Lori LaBerge  2013

It felt good to get back to having wool and a hook in my hands.  "Through the Cherry Blossoms" is coming along nicely and will make a beautiful wall hanging. The only thing bothering me right now is the white line at the top as it appears to be too close to the top of the dark center vertical line.  I'll wait until the piece is done to see if I should change this or not.

I did run out of one of the grays I was using and spent some time at the dye pot. This is one of my favorite grays.  Green, brown and gray dyes were spotted over natural wool.  It has a rich suede look to it.  I will continue hooking the section with this color on Monday.

The journal activity this week turned into a larger project.  I have been wanting to do a project with recycling ever since eyeing some wood pallets that were used in building the new studio. After sitting down and staring at one of the pallets for a while, an idea finally began. 

Since it was a recycling project I pulled an old copy of "The Sun Also Rises" off the bookshelf and headed to the studio to search through my bins of leftover wool.  The idea was to collage  pages of the book onto the pallet then place strips of wool in yellow and red to depict the idea of a sunrise.

Here is the pallet with painting in progress.  I knew I wanted a white striped area in between the red slats.  If you know me or have been reading the blog for a while, you know there had to be a stripe in this somewhere.  On the top of the pallet you can see the beginning of tacking wool strips to the pallet itself.

A close-up of the wool strips which were glued and tacked to red section of pallet.

Close-up of passages of book cut out and glued to white section of pallet.

"Sunrise",  39 1/2"  X  48", Lori LaBerge  2013

Here is the finished project hanging on the wall.  The only problem with the pallet use is you can see through it, so you have to be careful of the color wall it is hung on.  I learned quite a bit through this project:

I need to study up on types of glue for collage work on wood and get better at having the paper sit completely flat with no wrinkles.  I like a rough look and did not sand the pallet first.  If I had done so I may have had better luck with the paper being flat.

It is difficult to cut wool into a perfect rectangular shape.  I am used to tearing wool for rug hooking and did so with this project.  The wool seemed to stretch slightly as it was glued to the wood.  I tended to like the not so perfect look.

It takes time to come up with a concept.  I wanted to work with more than color and the book was something that gave the piece a theme to work with leading to the sunrise look for the wool sections.

I would like to work on this concept in hooked wool.  Though I enjoyed laying down the strips of wool cloth, I missed the hooking process.

Find what you have around to recycle, veer from your chosen art field to explore others, see how those other fields can be applied to your field and have a great day.


With the wind and rain letting up, some progress was made on the new studio this week.  Below is the work done on the front porch entry area.  If you look closely, you can see my husband working on the roofing.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I would like to thank Kami LaBerge for taking over the blog the last two weeks.  She did a wonderful job and I hope all of you enjoyed her posts.

While in Vermont, I was only two towns away from the gallery of rug hooking artist and painter Rae Harrell.  She is located in Hinesburg, Vermont.  Here is a photo tour for those of you who have not visited her gallery and to entice you to visit if you are ever in the area.

  Rae Harrell Gallery and Studio, 2013

Myself and Rae in front of two gallery works.  She is a master of color and it is a breath of sunshine and happiness when you enter her gallery.  Her personality is infectious and exudes her love of the arts.  

Rae Harrell Gallery and Studio, 2013

When my husband and I arrived, there was an excited group of people admiring Rae's works and supply of dyed wool.  We had the pleasure of meeting Rae's mother, who is a painter.  You can see part of one of her works on the far lower right.  She uses textural qualities in her paintings which, as a fiber artist, I can't resist.

  Rae Harrell Gallery and Studio, 2013

A colorful wall of paintings and hooked sculpture.  I love that Rae has her own distinctive style which is seen in both the painted and hooked work.

Works by Rae Harrell

Two abstract works located above the entry to the wool room.  I enjoy the way Rae uses black and white among all the colors.

Hand-dyed wool at Rae Harrell Gallery and Studio, 2013

Yummy wool!

Rae Harrell Gallery and Studio, 2013

Stacks of various wool colors with hooked works above.  Hand-dyed wool and inspiration make a wonderful combination.

Work by Rae Harrell

I absolutely love this piece.  Gorgeous organic work.  The eyelash edging fits this piece perfectly.

Work by Rae Harrell

Mixed-media work.  The shaping of this is beautiful.

Work by Rae Harrell

This piece has great texture.

Work by Rae Harrell

Sculptural work.  Rae's creativity is boundless.  So many of these sculptural pieces make you stop and think.

Work in progress by North Carolina artist

While at the gallery, I was lucky enough to meet another rug hooker from North Carolina.  She was kind enough to let me take a photo of her work in progress.  I did not write down the artist's name, so if this is your work please e-mail me with your name or comment on this post and I will be happy to credit you on the above photo. In the background is a piece Rae is currently working on.

There was no way I could leave without taking a piece home with me. One of my choices was Rae's work on the left.  I am obsessed with rocks and metal combined with rug hooking, so the idea of crocheting over rock really grabbed my attention.  It fits in its new home atop a leather book perfectly.

The second piece I chose was a vessel by Molly Colegrove.  I just love the colors in this and am still intrigued by the hands surrounding the vessel.

I hope you enjoyed the tour, found inspiration and will have a great day. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Sadly, the Craft and Folk Art Museum in LA was closed this weekend in preparation for a new exhibition. I opted instead to go to the the Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA, on Grand Avenue in Downtown LA.

Many of the permanent works in MOCA's collection are, in a word, iconic.

 Works by Mark Rothko appear as colorful giants in one room.

The Rothko room leads into an equally large space with the monochrome works of Franz Kline.

I love the simplicity of these works by Piet Mondrian and Jasper Johns.


Pieces by Robert and Lee Krasner pop against the white gallery walls.

MOCA's current exhibition is a large, chilling grouping of work by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. The landscape of the exhibition is unpredictable; the variety of media in which Fischer works is astounding. You can learn more about Fischer and the exhibition on MOCA's website.

Fischer's work at MOCA is a collection of comical skeletal figures, harsh metal surfaces, imitations of white appliances, and soft blue raindrops. The work is surrounded by stark white walls with rough holes seemingly punched out of them by wrecking balls.

I ended my tour of MOCA in the courtyard where I'd begun. I was amused to see one of Fischer's skeletons admiring himself in a mirror.

Take some time this week to explore an art venue in your own town, whether it be a large museum or a small gallery. Have fun and have a great day!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Guest Blog this week is from Kami LaBerge, Lori’s daughter and newly relocated Californian. She majored in Art History before pursuing a graduate degree in Library Science. Kami now works happily as a graphics and research consultant for a Santa Monica law firm.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of family trips to Wilmington during which we would tour the retired battleship USS North Carolina. During our tours, Lori and I would always end up contemplating the aesthetic values of various parts of the ship, regardless of whether we had any idea as to their functions. The stark contrast of the metal ship and machinery with naval ropes fascinated us.

I was ecstatic, then, to learn another battleship, the USS Iowa, has made its home in the Port of Los Angeles. I took a tour and again found myself engrossed in the aesthetics of the ship. With Lori’s recent introduction of metal into her art, I couldn’t help but wish she were with me to find inspiration from the ship.

Oddly enough, as I was reviewing my photographs, I found a few that reminded me of Lori’s work.

Both the color scheme and a circular object against wooden slats were reminiscent of Lori’s RiverRocks 2.

I remember being drawn to the doorway-like shape in Lori’s Southern Flight.  I could imagine myself stepping out of that doorway and seeing what I perceive to be a landscape on the right side of the piece – blue sky, blue waters, and a beach leading into the hills. The shape of these doorways on the USS Iowa is quite similar – I can imagine stepping out of those doors on the open ocean to a view of the California coast and mountains.

Lori has been experimenting with gray colors – perhaps this is why so many of my photos reminded me of her art. The aptly-termed “battleship gray” was the main focus of my photographs.

Remember that you can find inspiration anywhere from stunning vistas to rusty staples. Take some time out of your week to visit a new attraction in your own town. You may find that inspiration or simply discover something that reminds you of a faraway loved one.

Have a lovely week! I’ll be back next week with photos and discussion from my upcoming trip to the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum.