Saturday, June 28, 2014


"City Crossing"  29 X 30  Lori LaBerge  2014

Everything worked out this week and the hooking on "City Crossing" was completed. When I finish a piece I always measure it to make sure it is even on all sides. Textiles don't always lend themselves to a perfect shape as they shift and stretch during the work process.  The piece was planned to be a 30 X 30 but ended up at 29 X 30.  Since it did not have to be a particular measurement, this was not an issue. 

Above, you can see how the measuring tape was placed on the diagonal.  This measurement was taken on the opposite side also.  The measurements both left and right and up and down were also taken.  There was a slight problem with the bottom left corner bulging slightly making it between 1/8 and 1/4 inch off.  

I took the 8-cut out of the second row up toward the edge and replaced it with a 6-cut.  You can see how this row looks slightly smaller than the final row.  This solved the problem and the piece is now squared up.  Things are never perfect, but when I find the work is 1/4" or more off, making the piece deviate from its intended shape, I usually correct it.  Now it is ready for finishing work.  I'm still deciding on the color of yarns I will used for the whipped edge.

My husband and I took a ride into Asheville last Saturday and we stopped at The Antique Tobacco Barn, which has been named the best antique store in Western North Carolina.  I could spend days looking through all of the items they have. Multiple ideas struck me as I walked through aisles filled with things from days' past. I now have an idea for a mixed-media piece and below are items I will be using to develop it.

 Could not resist these old bobbin spools, which led to the idea for the planned piece.  These have always appealed to me and I had trouble choosing from the colors they had available.  I will be using the brown ones for the project.  They have touches of purple, yellow and turquoise on them.  I'm not sure if the pink ones on the right, smaller and more solid, are also called bobbin spools or not.  If any of you are aware of what they are, please let me know.

I want the spools to relate to the textile aspect of the piece, so I went and took photos of the local Coats American Inc. thread company building nearby. 

Here is another section of the building. I will use the photos with Photoshop along with sketches I'll be making to create the hooked section of the project.

I found these wooden thread spools on Etsy and they are now on their way to the studio.  Seven of them have Coats and Clark written on their label which will fit perfect with the idea of using the Coats factory photos to design the work.

I grabbed some fabrics from the shelf and came up with these as a general idea of the colors for the project.  As with every mixed-media project, there will be some experimenting involved in fitting everything together correctly.  It can sometimes be difficult to get from the idea to the finished piece, so next week's development of the work will be interesting.  For now, I'm going to enjoy the weekend.

Challenge yourself by looking for interesting items to inspire you, use them to aid in creating new ideas for your work and have a great day.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


"City Crossing" in progress,  30 X 30  Lori LaBerge  2014

The work on the latest figurative abstract continued this week.  Music filled the work space as it was a quiet week after the studio tour last weekend.  I added a diagonal section through the middle of the piece where I am hooking blue.  The background is vast and placing a medium blue in the diagonal section with a mix of a light medium and light blue above, though subtle, will break it up a bit.

Above is a comparison of last week's and this week's progress.  I put this up so people can see how colors affect each other.  There have been many times I have seen rug hookers tear out a color they don't think is working.  This can affect beginners who are still learning color theory.  Often, this is because they are looking at it against the backing fabric of linen or monk's cloth.  The color of linen is quite often not very attractive against colors one may be working with.

The photo of last week's progress is quite boring.  The dull red violet against the light beige of the linen is anything but exciting.  This week's progress brings a truer violet next to the red violet for a rich analogous mix.  Adding again to the analogous scheme is the violet blue started on the right.  Across from this group of colors on the color wheel is yellow.  I did not want a true yellow for the figure.  I opted for a yellow-green for something just a little bit off. The piece should be completed this coming week if all goes well.

Since the weather cooperated this week, I took some time to head outside and work on a plein air piece.  The hay was quite thick and looked like waves rolling through the field when the wind blew.  The day I headed out there was a clear afternoon with only an occasional mild wind.  We have a red gate in a corner of the front field that I love against the green grass.

"The Positively Red Gate"  7 X 7 Lori LaBerge  2014

I'm still having fun with the plein air work as it is freer than the planning which goes into studio pieces.  It is a nice break and gives me time to enjoy the mountain air and my surroundings. The shadows on the fence took on a blue tone and the glint of sun on the top of fence and gate produced a glare that I used white wool to portray.  I spent two days on this piece and it was a good thing I made progress on the first day as the second day the field looked like this:

No more long grass as the local farmer came to cut the hay.  I hooked the rest of the grass in the piece from memory, though I still sat outside enjoying the smell of the hay.  Yes, hay fever medication had to be taken that morning.  If you are interested in joining the Plein Air Hooking Artists, please check out our site here.

Try different color plans, follow the color wheel or throw in something unexpected and have a great day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


"City Crossing" in progress  30 x 30  Lori LaBerge  2014

Cities have always fascinated me.  As a child,  my parents took me to Montreal quite often.  I would gaze up at the tall buildings and maneuver my way through all the people on the busy sidewalks.  It seemed as if I would wait forever to cross the street as I wasn't as daring as the locals in ignoring the crossing signs, and that thought is part of which led to the design of "City Crossing".

I often look through sketchbooks and photos when deciding on a design and "City Crossing" was developed from the reflection in the photo below:


There is so much inspiration in the city:

 There are so many patterns in the city.  In this photo I like the square patterns in the lower center with the few circular roofing shapes around them.  The roof of the building on the left is reminiscent of Alber's Homage to the square.  The odd shape of the building on the right reminds me of a kilim type motif.  A multitude of design ideas could come from this one photo.

 Row houses make for an interesting pattern with various window configurations, facades and different patterns created by air vents and other roofing items.  The roof line on the further buildings has a wave type feel to it.  How about a shaped piece of art?  A work with various depth levels mimicking the row houses?  

 How about a different perspective?  There are so many angles when you look up at all the tall buildings.  This could lead to ideas about differing perspective on other subjects you may be using for designs.

 The top of this building has a pagoda type feel to it.  How about mixing different styles in one piece of art?  

 I liked the horizontal and vertical on this building.  You could use a variety of directions in one piece or do a directional series of work.  And how about the moss and vines on the side of the building that look like they are dripping.  I've been contemplating throwing paint on a piece and letting it drip down the wool.  Maybe a little Pollock?

 While visiting Charleston, I spotted these beautiful rose windows.  I already have an abstract architectural design in the sketchbook based on this photo.  I like the depth of the windows along with the flower-like shape in the glass.  A repetitive piece on circles could be an option with this, also.

 Another photo that is in the sketchbook as an abstract stairway.  I love the curve of the stairs.  There is also another rose window with a moulding around it that could lead to some interesting options for design.

Old dilapidated buildings are some of my favorites.  I really like going inside these when I can.  This one has large rectangular blocks of design.  I like the patches and cracks which tends to give each block a look of having columns, similar to a newspaper.  The graffiti also lends itself to possibilities.  If you don't care for letters, perhaps you could use rounded chunky shapes outlined in black as part of a design.

Design possibilities are everywhere.  Look around, think of things you see with design in mind and have a great day.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


The Toe River Studio Arts Tour (this link is a download of the tour catalog) is in full force this weekend and a few pieces have found new homes.  I'm working on finishing and framing the latest works while discussing art with those stopping by. Also enjoying talking to people about where they are from and their travels along the tour route.  The tour lasts through Sunday. Here are a few photos of how the studio and gallery are set up for the weekend.

The view upon entering the studio.  It is surprisingly clean as I usually have wool scattered throughout the room when color planning.

Another view with some wool laid out on the work table for an abstract figurative piece and new design plans over the sewing machine area.

I pinned up various 1/2 yards of dyed wool on one wall to add some color to the studio.  I'm planning on leaving it up as it is already inspiring new color plans.

One wall of the gallery area with both studio and plein air work.

Striped series work.

Some of the "Road Series" works.  Others are at the TRAC Gallery.

I wanted to put at least one floor piece on display.  It sits on a platform Pete and I made for it.

The artist reception at the TRAC Gallery in Spruce Pine.  There was quite a crowd and we had the chance to visit with friends old and new while enjoying wine and dessert.  There are very few fiber artists on the tour so it was great to visit with a couple of them.

There is one more day of the tour and the studio awaits more visitors tomorrow.  As you can see, landscaping is not done yet.  Hopefully, soon.

Search out some studio tours locally or relax while searching studio tour images on the internet and have a great day.