Saturday, April 26, 2014


During Susan Feller's Retreat into the Mountains, covered in last week's post, I worked on a studio piece developed from a small plein air work I had hooked.  Since we were in a mountain setting, I decided to work on a nature design.  The piece was not quite finished when it was time to leave the retreat, so I worked on completing the hooking this week.

  "Stopping for the View"  10" X 22",  Lori LaBerge  2014

Here is how the design came about:

"Winter's Dance"   4" X 6", Lori LaBerge  2014
After completing this piece, I decided I would like to create a larger work based on the trees.

When the small plein air was completed, I snapped a photo of the area used to create the work.  I wanted to include the three trees in a horizontal format.  A photo rarely works as a full design, so I adjusted and edited some branches for less clutter.  I also added a hillside and mountains in the background instead of more trees.

I was interested in the crossing of the branches near the middle of the photo.  I reversed the way the trees were leaning so they would go left to right.  Orange buds were added when I noticed how the peeling bark in the photo had an orange tint to it.  They are dispersed in a zig-zag like pattern to draw the eye throughout the work. The piece has the feel of being among the trees and viewing through the branches to the blue mountains beyond.

A red circle shows how the eye is brought around this portion of the work.  The crossed branch near the bottom center left of the circle veers upward toward the branch protruding inward on the far right tree and around to touch onto the left side branch and a lower branch back around to the crossed area.  This way the eye is not brought out of the picture, but moves around to focus on a certain area.

A while back, I entered into "HOOKED ART 2014" which will be showing at the University of Connecticut's Art Gallery in Stamford, Connecticut from October 23-November 29, 2014. Five photos were sent and two of the pieces were juried in.

"White Collar" and "Blue Collar",  Lori LaBerge  2014

The pairing of "White Collar" and "Blue Collar" were selected.  I like the juxtaposition of the pairing and was excited to finally have an idea for the pulley I had found a while back.  These two pieces tell a story and I hope they engage the viewers in thinking about how both blue and white collar jobs affect our lives on a daily basis. 

This will be a show worth seeing as it focuses on contemporary hooked works.  The entry requirements were for innovative work consisting of at least 30% rug hooking technique.

Try creating your own innovative design where you make it flow so the viewer's eye moves around the piece and have a great day.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


I'm putting up what I can this week.  Internet access has been sporadic this week on the road.

Susan Feller hosted Retreat into the Mountains last weekend in a beautiful wooded setting.  We received our exercise by walking to a waterfall, relaxed and hooked while sitting in rocking chairs on the porch and received large doses of inspiration by sharing our thoughts on 

One of many beautiful views on our walks.

I recently wrote an article on plein air for RugBeat Magazine’s April issue and had the chance to speak about composition in plein air at the retreat. Susan spoke on her year long project creating daily five inch squares in a monthly format, Karen Larson shared her graphic design background along with her design process, Nancy Parcels shared the design aspect of a hooked barn, Tracy Granger showed us work created by the blind along with work from the Rug Aid Project and Beth Tembo brought photos of kuba cloth which inspired her latest creation.

What always intrigues me about meeting a group like this is the variety of interests and enthusiasm for all aspects of rug hooking.  One can be so energized and excited to return to the studio and create.

Here are a few of the pieces showing the variety of hooking genres seen and/or discussed at the retreat:

Geometric -- Beth Tembo

Modern textural -- Liz Gordon

Large floral -- Shirley Hairston

Architectural -- Karen Larson

Realism -- Nancy Parcels 

Year long project -- Susan Feller

Contemporary color -- Deb Smith

Deb is editor of Rug Hooking Magazine, which can be found here.

There was a true appreciation for the direction each of the members took with their work.  Explore where you are headed with your art, narrow down your real interests, be true to yourself and have a great day.

If anyone mentioned here has a website or blog I missed, please email me at and I will update with your info.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


"Red Light in the City"  27" X 35" Lori LaBerge  2014

The hooking and steaming were completed on "Red Light in the City" this week. The whipping will be completed on the road as I will be traveling quite a bit this month.  I drew this out to be 36" long but it came out 35".  This seems to happen when I hook blocked works with some straight hooked and others randomly hooked. It may be the way I hook the line in between each block on one side or the other of each square or it may be that I am hooking the random parts tighter than the straight ones.      

Either way, the piece came out even all the way around and I'm finding it to be one of my favorites.  I was worried about the black line above the red light not contrasting enough, but it shows up just fine.  I adjusted the yellow block on the upper left as when first hooked it had a pattern to it that distracted the eye. The various grays go well together and the black lines inside the dark gray rectangles mimic the lines in the stop light.

Some new designs were worked on this week. Quite a few years back I had a business card with 3 sections of works pictured side by side across the top of it. Another artist mentioned he thought it would be great if it was one large piece interconnected.

Remembering back to that time led me to begin thinking about creating a new work with three different designs in one piece.  I decided to use some of my figurative 30 X 30 designs alongside textile type designs.  This is where I am in the design process right now:

  "Nothing Can Hold Me Back"  in design process, Lori LaBerge  2014

The background of the center of the design was developed from a photo I took in a Scottish castle.  I then drew the figure into the scene.  The left hand side brought out the gold color in the middle along with the color of the figure and represents stepping stones.  The right hand side will be hit and miss light golds and dull lilacs.  

  The next step was to decide on what size to make the piece.  I'm debating between 30" X 60" or 24" X 48".  I placed paper on the studio floor to get an idea of the sizes.  

I then put the 24" X 48" paper up against the wall to get a better idea of how the size would look in a home environment.  I still haven't decided which size I will go with.  It always seems that pieces look small in an exhibit area which makes me veer toward the larger of the two. However, that may be too large for most homes.  I'll see how it goes.

Think about the sizes of the works you create or purchase along with what types of spaces they would work best in and have a great day.  Next week's post will be a little late as I'll be on the road.