Saturday, August 30, 2014


Rug Hooking Magazine's latest issue really grabbed my attention.  The focus was on rug hooking as art and the magazine certainly delivered.  Those who do not see rug hooking in this vein should purchase this issue which will surely change their mind.

I skipped the wine as this issue was worthy of my favorite liqueur, Cointreau.

The issue starts with a look at adapting works of the masters in an article by Tamara Pavich. Who does not recall this in their studies of studio art?  Learning how the masters used color, light, paint strokes, composition etc. leads to an understanding of the process of making art.

The magazine continues with a look at contemporary artists who present a variety of styles. One commonality is these artists' pushing themselves and creating vibrant, creative and engaging works of art.

Leslie Giuliani wrote an article on the Modern Hooker.  Her mixed media-work, rugs and wall pieces bring an old craft into the art world of today.  Anne-Marie Littenberg's article on the human form contains both abstract and more realistic portrayals.  Anne-Marie also contributed an article on Rachelle LeBlanc's work.  LeBlanc's works are in their own category and to me have an etheral feel reminding me a bit of Andrea Kowch's works, one of my favorite painters.  Diane Krys writes on combining rug hooking and felting. showing work that would seem to be comfortable in both the high-end craft and fine art realms. 

I'm basically saying if you have any interest on the direction rug hooking is going today please buy this issue and enjoy all the artists and writers who contributed to it. The future of rug hooked work looks bright.

I returned to work on an as yet untitled piece inspired by the local Coat's thread company building.
in progress, as yet untitled,  Lori LaBerge  2014

I finished the hooking and am working on the area that will wrap around the large bobbins. A brown with blue upholstery fabric was chosen for the edges.  Stitching will be done with various colors which are in the hooked work.

At the sewing machine adding pink stripes to the upholstery fabric.

On the studio work table.  Thread spools will be stitched to the hooked work.  Here, placement is being decided.  I also have whipped edges to complete along with determining how the upholstery will be attached to the large bobbins.  Construction is always a challenge.

Look into the directions your favorite art form is headed, search out how construction of that process works and have a great day. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014


I was excited to see a textile show on exhibit at the Toe River Arts Gallery in Spruce Pine, NC.  A selection of Edwina Bringle's woven and embroidered works from 1963 to 2014 is presented in a well-organized display. 

I first met Edwina when I began taking classes at Penland.  She is a well-informed and creative textile artist and UNC-Charlotte professor emerita who adds to the feeling of welcome for those new to the Penland experience.  Please enjoy this look at her works and if you are in the area make a stop at the gallery.

It is a great feeling to live in an area so full of talent, sharing and love for the arts.  Enjoy what your area has to offer and have a great day.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


"Parallel",  9" X 13"  Lori LaBerge  2014

I'm having a great time working on these smaller pieces.  They are really allowing me to expand on some ideas and prepare for larger works.  They do, however, require as much care with design as larger pieces do. 

Whether working on small, large, minimal or complex, design decisions have to be made. The following takes you through some decisions I made during the week:

While the design and basic color decisions were made for ease of packing before leaving home, exact color placement was not.  This photo shows the decisions being made about the placement of various grays.  I have defined where light, medium light, medium dark and dark will go.  This was based on making sure the orange and pink were shown off to their best and did not disappear behind a similar value.

These are the various grays I packed with me.  The variety of values are important in making them work together in a piece.

These were the colors I picked out for use in "Parallel".  They are defined from each other in value.  The two center pieces of wool have blue lines while the second from top also has a bit of orange.  These were chosen to complement  the brighter orange section of the artwork.  The light and dark allow for a good contrast in the work.

 Here is the basic hooked work.  From this, decisions had to be made on what types of metal to apply.

Vermont memories brought to mind summer days of watching fishermen throw their lines from bridges into the waters of Lake Champlain.  I had fishing sinkers in my metal supply, so the decision was made to use them.  Placement of the sinkers was the next decision.  I began by simply placing them in various positions.  This one does not work for me.  The placement of the sinkers on the orange just does not move the eye correctly through the piece.  They are also too evenly placed making them a bit boring.

This placement of sinkers on the orange is much better, though still too evenly placed.  Lighter weight sinkers were placed on the narrower pink section and a larger sinker was hung from the chain.  I found the silver of the chain drawing my eye.  I did not know quite where to focus my eyes on the piece with this happening.  

This is getting better.  The two top sinkers on the orange were placed slightly closer together than the distance between the center and lower sinker creating more interest.  The chain here is a duller metal color distracting the eye a little less.  Though this could work as a piece, I did find the chain a bit heavy and perhaps disappearing a bit too much, leaving the balance feeling a bit off.

A gold colored chain with a lighter weight gave a better overall feel to the work.  Even though the gold shows up quite bright, the weight of it did not distract my eye from the focus of the orange and pink area.  Will other decisions be made when I return to the studio?  Perhaps.  I may try painting the sinkers so they show up more strongly against the backing and decide which works better.

Please check out Susan Feller's blog this week and notice the decisions she made with her latest design along with her explanation of why.  Experiment with your work, remembering that no matter how small a piece, it deserves full attention to design details and have a great day.  ***There will be no post next week as I will be on the road...again.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


"Tunnels"  9" x 13",  Lori LaBerge  2014

While time is short during these few weeks away, I am managing to continue the work on some smaller pieces.  In "Tunnels", a natural wool dyed with green and yellow provided color against a background of grays.  I went for a blue gray for part of the background as it showed off the green better than a pure gray did and provided a medium value.

"Tunnels" uses lamp parts and chain stitched onto the hooked area.  I was lucky enough to have these parts with me in the box full of metal objects brought from the studio.  I did not, however, bring all my tools.  I ended up borrowing pliers from my father's workshop. That may mean I owe him a Martini.  This piece will be whip-finished back at the studio when I arrive home.  Once whipped, mounted and framed it should look something like this:

"Tunnels"  mock-up frame sample,  Lori LaBerge  2014

Photoshop provides an easy way to play with colors and see how a piece will look when framed.  The dark gray line edging the hooked section is the color of the yarn that will be used to whip the edge.  The mat, which will be gray wool, complements the gray background of the piece and the gold edge takes the color of the metal parts used.  It is a sophisticated look for the work and follows the format used for this series.

I love hearing or reading stories from people who knew or currently know famous artists. I'm always intrigued to hear about their personalities.  Were they fun, serious, spontaneous, introverted, a workaholic?  There are so many different ways in which artists approach their work.  Katherine Kuh wrote " My Love Affair With Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator".  The book was edited and completed by Avis Berman as Kuh died before she was finished.  

Kuh owned a gallery.  She bought Kandinsky paintings at auction for $5 and $10, the auctioneer unaware of the works he was selling.  Leger, Klee, Adams, Miro and both Albers were among the acquaintances whose work she showed.  She wished to be a pioneer and show work not yet accepted in the mainstream.  I'm looking forward to settling on the couch in the evening and reading away.

Search out the pioneers in the art field, not just artists, but those who supported them or showed their work and have a great day.