Saturday, May 31, 2014


Where do you begin when thinking about working in a series?  The first thing to do is decide on a theme.  Without one, you will end up with a group of pieces that are not cohesive. There is nothing more confusing than going to an art opening and seeing work that does not go together.  Sometimes you wonder if the same artist did all the works.  You can work on different themes, but each series consists of one theme. 

  Studies in Series Work,  Lori LaBerge  2014

A theme can be something you can physically see or be a feeling you'd like to create in your works.  Think about things you are interested in.  Do you collect anything?  Do you have a favorite place or object?  Are you interested in mystery or emotions?  Would you like to focus on colors?  Are you interested in shapes or lines?  Write down your interests then look at each of those interests carefully. Would any translate to artwork?  

Most importantly, is the theme you have chosen something you can stick with for a long period of time?  I usually create 18-20 works in each series.  I have viewed work by artists who have created 30 or more pieces on the same basic theme. Some artists spend a lifetime on one theme.

The three works above are a combination of drawing, photographs and computer sketches combined to form a possible series on architecture. When we are on the road, I love to look at all the buildings.  The shapes, the lines and the curiosity of what is inside all interest me.  I like to focus on things up close and this translates well into a series focusing on sections of buildings rather than the whole.  From just seeing these three designs, one could easily think this was a series on windows in city buildings, but other designs I'm working on would go against this thought.  Just from thinking about windows, I am getting ideas for a voyeurism series.  Now that could be interesting!

    Studies in Figurative Series,  Lori LaBerge  2013-14

Another series I've been working on developing is of abstract figures in various settings.  I want to focus on the sole figure experiencing the world around him or her.  I did not want the figure to be any specific person, but want viewers to imagine it could be them.  This came about due to my interest in a sense of place. Sometimes we are in settings of our own choosing and other times we would much rather be someplace else.  It is interesting to me how our settings affect us.

Six works from the Stripe Series, Lori LaBerge  2010-11

The works above evolved from my love of stripes.  I have just about every book on Sean Scully's work on stripes and decided to do my own interpretation.  I took photos around the local area and translated them into abstract stripe form.  I had a great time learning about the area around our new home while creating this series.

Works from the ongoing Road Series, Lori LaBerge 2014

The Road Series started as an experiment with the color gray and grew from there.  I wanted to use multiple grays in each piece but wanted them to be about more than color.  Since we travel quite a bit, I started taking notes on the roads we drove on. This led to a notebook full of road terms such as intersection, coastal route, speed bumps, etc.  I use the words I wrote down to develop the pieces.  

If you are interested in developing a series, make a list of your interests, see where it takes you and have a great day.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014


With the Toe River Studio Tour coming up from June 6-8, the TRAC Gallery in Spruce Pine has completed the set up for its preview show.  If you are in the area during the tour, you can pick up a tour catalog at the gallery and visit artists in their studios.  Here are some of the pieces on exhibit at the gallery:

TRAC Gallery, Spruce Pine, NC

Selena Glass and Metal,  "Are We There Yet?"

John D. Richards, "Blue Bird"

Kat Turczyn, "After the Storm"

Louise Grennell, "The Hitchhiker"

Jim Waters, "Landscape"

Michael Rutkowsky, "Shallow Bowl"

Marguerite Gusdon, "Appalachia"

Lisa Clague, "Monkey Business"

Billie Ruth Sudduth, "Signature Basket"

Jenny Lou Sherburne, "Mandala Plate"

JJ Brown and Simona Rosasco, "Magnetic Resonance"

Edwina Bringle, scarf and rug

Jeannine Marchand, "Untitled"

Lori LaBerge, (wall pieces), "Time to Go" and "Rural/Urban Compatibility"; Larry Brown, (lamps)

Woody's Chair Shop, Scott Woody

Ross Edwards, "Halo Bowl"

View of gallery

View of gallery

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the works on display.  With the weather getting nicer by the day, take some time to make your way outside to view some of your local galleries and have a great day.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Quite a bit of preparation work took place in the studio this week.

  We completed painting the floor of the open area in the garage section of the studio.  This will be the room where I hang pieces and set up pedestals and tables for the studio tour.  Doors lead to storage and workshop areas.  This would be a great space to hold classes and work on larger projects also, though it is not air-conditioned or heated.

Here is the other side of the open area.  Doors lead to storage and working studio areas.  I'll have to rig up something to hide the sink during the tour.

The storage area is still awaiting more shelving for organization.  Next week's project.

The work studio will need some cleaning also.  Framing and design work are on the table now.  I love not having to clean the table after each work day.

Large foam board (32 X 40) arrived for mounting some larger works.

These works will be used with the foam board.  I'm finding the rail for hanging works in the finishing process to be a great help as projects can be kept in order and in view.

I did manage to start work on another 30 X 30 figurative work.  Here the linen is being cut to size.

The work was hand drawn onto the linen.  Yes, those are wine bottles you see being used to hold the linen in place.  They are a reminder of my reward when the work day is done.  I will most likely need to dye wool for this piece, though I'll see what is on the shelves.  The design process for this work was discussed in a past post here.

Enjoy preparing for your various projects and events, organize in a way that works for you and have a great day.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


"Accepting Our Imperfections",  7" X 7"  Lori LaBerge  2014

Bricolage in the art world is simply creating art from what you have on hand around you or using whatever materials are available. It is great for those who enjoy recycling and repurposing materials.  I was thinking about this as I was cleaning out part of the garage storage area the other day.  I looked down and saw this:

These were nails picked up after the construction workers finished the framing of the new studio.  I never threw them away as I loved the character created from their imperfection. They had been nailed in incorrectly, pulled out and tossed to the side. This was when bricolage came to mind and I grabbed the nails to start a small work.

A small bin full of left over off-white wool was available.  I decided on the off-whites as white is the color of perfection.  Since the nails were anything but perfect, the scuffed and dirty look of the off-whites as compared to pure white would make a good background to place the nails on.

A scrap piece of linen was found.  Jagged areas resembling shards were drawn onto the linen to resemble a shattered appearance. 

A frame was not used for hooking the piece.  The linen was stretched onto an old handmade weaving loom from college that I had in storage. As only two sides of the linen were held in place, it was slightly wobbly to work on. 

The bent nails were placed throughout the piece as if they had fallen there, adding to the feeling of imperfection.  The nails remind me of how we all take our knocks in life, adding to our character and growing through the process.

The Toe River Studio Tour takes place June 6-8.  I've been busy in the studio and at the local gallery volunteering in preparation for the event.  Two works for the gallery show being held before the tour were delivered yesterday.  The exhibit runs from May 17-June 14.

A variety of work including fiber, metal, clay, glass, wood, mixed-media and jewelry will be on display.  If you are in the area you can make a weekend of it.

Here's a photo of the TRAC Gallery in Spruce Pine, NC with some of the artwork delivered in preparation for the tour:

It will be amazing to see how different this space will look with artwork hanging on the walls and displayed on pedestals.  A huge thank you to all the volunteers who make these shows happen.

Look around you to see what items you can use to create your own bricolage work and have a great day. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014


"How Small We Really Are",  8 X 12  Lori LaBerge  2014

Today was supposed to be yard cleaning day.  I did get some sweeping done and a few weeds pulled up, but when I walked behind the shed on the property I spotted this:

Last year, the landscapers had to redo a portion of our stone wall.  When they removed some of the stones the glued areas had formed circles on the back.  It is funny how an everyday item can give you a design idea.  I usually work at the design process and rarely does an idea go from in my head to a finished product quickly. Today was the exception.  I knew immediately upon seeing the stone what I wanted to do for a design.  Needless to say, the yard work was done for the day.

The design would include an abstract figure and be titled "How Small We Really Are".  It would require earthy colors.  I went to the studio shelf and found a blue purple for the figure along with white for the head.  The background would be a dull/antique looking red and be mixed with yarns of similar colors along with specks of the blue purple.  Dark brown would be used for some contrast in the background. The circle shapes would be a mottled green.      

I drew out the design freehand, looking at the circles on the stone as I was drawing. The idea was for the figure to be surrounded by the many worlds we live in everyday and portray how we are but a small part of everything that goes on around us.

The circles were in a 6-cut and progressed at a fair pace.  The figure and background were a 4-cut an went slightly slower.  I was surprised when the hooking was completed (see top photo on this post) early evening. A trip to the yarn store may be in order for whipping the edges.

Pete and I returned from our trip up north Thursday night and I found some books I had ordered waiting for me.  I have not had time to read them yet but on the nightstand now are:

I have been thinking about adding large areas of embroidery stitches to some work. I'm the type that likes a lot of photos along with written instructions and from the book preview "The Stitch Bible" by Kate Haxell fit the bill.  Hopefully, I'll be able to try some stitches soon.

Of course, as I was searching for books on stitching, I came across another purchase.  "Celebrating the Stitch" by Barbara Lee Smith showcases the work of serious fiber artists and has great photos.  Since it was printed in 1991, it is available at a good price.  The book includes artists' thoughts on design, process, construction, color, stitching, etc.

"String, Felt, Thread" by Elissa Auther was recommended by a good friend.  It is in the academic vein, which I love.  It speaks of the art-craft issues and fiber as high art. 

Find an everyday item to use for a new design, find a good fiber art related book to curl up with in the evenings and have a great day.