Saturday, September 28, 2013


It feels good to be back home.  We had a great time in Vermont where we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in Stowe.  Now, it's back to work.

"Road Movie"  abstract in progress  20 X 20  Lori LaBerge  2013

Progress is being made on "Road Movie". Two lighter grays were used to depict the silver screen, though close in value they are working out well so far. The black filmstrip area adds the right amount of variety and interest.  I should be finishing up the hooking work and adding embellishments this coming week.

There has been minimal interest in the plein air group I would like to start.  Plein air painters are a hearty breed, dealing with heat, cold, wind and the other hazards of working outdoors.  I know rug hookers are just as tough as painters and it is a great way to study light and nature.

 Colors chosen for this weeks plein air work.

"Along the Drive"  4 X 6  Lori LaBerge  2013  Plein Air Hooking

I will be working the next few weeks setting up a website for Plein Air Hooking Artists. Here is a list of what is planned so far:

--there is no membership fee
--site will display hooked works which are actually hooked in the outdoors.
--artists may not use photos for reference while hooking
-- each artist will send photos of their work to me when they wish and  I will put them up on the site.  Work should be well photographed.
--photos of artists working outdoors are encouraged.
--artists will send a short bio to be placed on the site. This may be edited with final approval by the artist.
--there will be links available to artists websites or blogs.
--artists must be serious about their work and plan on contributing work to the site.
--promotion of rug hooking as art and enjoyment of the talents of others.  (Have fun!)

E-mail me at if you would like to be included.  There are some who have shown interest but left me with no way to contact them.  Please use the e-mail above and leave your e-mail for contact (a no-reply e-mail will not allow me to contact you).

A great resource on plein air is this special issue put out by American Artist magazine.

There are many different ways to display emotion in artwork.  For the journal activity this week a list of words dealing with feelings was made, one of these was chosen, and photos were cut from magazines which displayed this emotion.

Emotions could include:  peacefulness, happiness, anger, serenity, calmness, laziness, energy, sadness, hope, relief, love, abandonment, innocence, etc

I chose serenity and energy and created these two pages in my journal.

It was interesting to see how important color was in my determination of serenity and energy with cool colors being serene and warm colors depicting energy.  It made me wonder if red could be made serene or a soft blue be made energetic.

Think about the feeling you want to portray through your work, work toward that end and have a great day.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Lori’s daughter, Kami, reporting in from Los Angeles. I work with a small law firm that handles a number of trademark registrations and trademark infringement lawsuits.

The US Patent and Trademark office defines a trademark as a “word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” Many people think of a trademark simply as a brand name – Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Best Buy, Nike. This is simply not the case; a trademark can also be phrases (“Just Do It”), and symbols or designs (the Nike swoosh).
Color plays a major role in brand and product development. Not only does color have an emotional impact, it serves to distinguish one company’s products or services from those of its competitors. Many people find it surprising to learn that companies can indeed trademark a color or color combination.

An important thing to understand about any trademark is that it is registered in a specific “class” to designate the industry in which it is used. This applies to color marks as well. For example, Home Depot uses the color orange in all of its branding.

Home Depot’s Mark:

Description of Mark: The mark consists of the color orange used as a background for advertising, promotional materials, signage, and labels.

Home Depot owns a trademark for the color orange in trademark classes which include gardening, electrical equipment, home improvement education, and lighting fixtures. I can open up an ice cream shop and package my ice cream bars in Home Depot’s orange hue to my heart’s content.  However, if I decide to open a hardware shop next door and hang up some large advertisements in the same color orange, I’ll probably be sued for trademark infringement.

Can you identify some of these registered color trademarks? Answers below.

1. A furniture store

2. A jewelry store

3. A soda brand

4. A candy bar

5. A cell phone company

6. A car company

7. A wholesale club

8. An electronics/computer store

9. A retail chain

10. A bank

11. A shipping company

12. A machinery manufacturer

13. An office supply

14. A home improvement supply

15. A champagne

1.Ikea   2.Tiffany   3.Mountain Dew   4.Cadbury   5.T-Mobile   6.Ford   7.Costco   8.Best Buy   9.Target   10.Bank of America  11. UPS   12. John Deere   13. 3M Post-Its   14. Owens Coring’s Pink Panther Insulation   15. Veuve Clicquot

On your next shopping trip, take a look around you and think about how colors help you identify different brands or even products. Have a great day!

Lori will be back with her regular scheduled programming next week. Thank you for reading!

Please note that I am not an attorney; this post is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


This week's blog is brought to you by guest blogger Kami LaBerge.

Since Lori's blog post last week discussed her adventures creating art in the great outdoors, I thought I would introduce you to a place that embraces both art and nature.

The Huntington Library is one of my favorite locations in the Los Angeles area. Though it's a research-based institution, the Huntington Library is also home to an extensive art collection and acres of breathtaking botanical gardens.

The Huntington Library is located at the former residence of Henry E. Huntington, an early 20th-century railroad magnate and art collector. Huntington played a massive role in the development of Los Angeles in the first few decades of the 20th-century. He was not only President of the Pacific Railway Company, he also purchased hundreds of acres of land in the LA area for urban development purposes.

I always find the Huntington to be a calming retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life in Los Angeles.

The architecture of the Huntington Library borrows from classical design.

Vibrant colors surround visitors.

The art collection at the Huntington Library is amazing, ranging from 18th-century French sculpture, to an extensive collection of 19th-century American silver, to abstract expressionist paintings.

A Frank Lloyd Wright table set was the centerpiece of one gallery.

The Huntington Library's botanical gardens are just as lovely. The gardens include a cactus collection, a rose garden, an herb garden, a Chinese garden, a Japanese garden, and a collection of Australian plants. More than 14,000 varieties of plants call the Huntington Library home. The rose garden is perhaps the most popular section.

My personal favorite is the Japanese garden, which is home to a large Koi pond, a Japanese tea room, and a spectacular bonsai collection.

Lori's closing statement last week was to "head out into the great outdoors, look at how light affects color and have a great day." I encourage the same. Are there places in your community that blend the beauty of art and of nature?

Saturday, September 7, 2013


The rain has finally stopped and the urge to sit outdoors and enjoy the view has taken over.  I have frequently hooked out on the deck, but this week was different. As I was sitting outside, I thought about plein air painters. Why not plein air hooking?

I went downstairs and grabbed a portable chair, a tub full of wool strips, my trusty hook and a pair of scissors.  I was ready to go.  I walked around the field and settled on a spot with a view.

I have long loved old sheds and barns and our neighbors old shed was perfect. Plein air is being in the outdoors and paying attention to colors and lighting.  At the time I sat down to hook, the sun was directly on the shed. 

The first step was to  draw some outlines of the shed on a piece of linen.  I then plowed through my wool stash.  The first problem arrived.  Where a painter can mix paints on the spot, a rug hooker cannot just pull out the dye pot in the field.  I was limited to working with what I had in the stash.  

As the sun was directly on the shed and I had no light grays, I used my off -whites. These strips would give a sense of the brightness I was viewing.  Here is the result of an afternoon of hooking:

"Crooked Old Shed"  Lori LaBerge  4x6  (8x10 framed)  2013

I learned quite a bit with this exercise. In addition to hooking supplies, I would recommend bringing sunglasses, water, bug spray, a towel, sunscreen, and a hat or umbrella for shade.  Try to find a shady spot if possible, the sun gets hot when you are sitting out in the open for a while.  If you are hooking in cooler weather, don't forget a sweater.  Also, try to avoid windy days, those wool strips go everywhere!

Work at a decent speed.  The goal is to finish a piece in a few hours, not days.  I worked for three and a half hours.  Think simple and small scale as far as design, detail is for studio art.  The light changes constantly as clouds pass overhead, which affects color.  I was surprised that I spotted yellow and pink on the shed.  I may never have added those colors alongside the off white if I had been in the studio working from a photo.

Subjects could include:

 a local hillside

 a barn

or a local building.

The great outdoors can be overwhelming.  You can travel far or stay close to home. Choose a specific subject.  A shed, a tree grouping, a hillside, flowers, a mountain, etc. Do not try to hook everything. Have a good variety of colors with plenty of greens and blues.

I would like to start a group on the internet that focuses on plein air hooking for those who are serious about their art.   The idea would be to present various rug hooker's works that not only focus on the outdoors, but are created in the outdoors. If you are interested in this, please contact me at  If enough are interested,  I will start plans for setting up a site.

The next two weeks, I will be on vacation.  Kami LaBerge will be taking over the blog for me and will be reporting from Los Angeles, CA. 

Head out into the great outdoors, look at how light affects color and have a great day. 


 Pete finishing up the side.  Luckily, we have a wonderful neighbor who lets us borrow his tractor.

We are now siding the front of the studio.  I'm exhausted!