Saturday, December 27, 2014


In August, I will be teaching a class entitled "A Creative Approach to Working in a Series" at Sauder Village in Ohio.  I have never been to Sauder Village and am looking forward to meeting old and new friends.  Please think about joining us. Information on the class can be found here.  

Those signing up have been asked to bring photos and/or thoughts of various subjects that interest them.  Having a group of written thoughts or photos to look at can help lead to a theme to explore.  We all have many interests and the class will help artists focus on creating a cohesive series. 

In my latest series (the first piece is still in progress), I chose to focus on windows in abandoned and dilapidated buildings. This focus meant having to search out buildings no longer in use.  Grabbing the camera and hopping in the Jeep with my husband made for a great day.  A ride through the mountains was all it took to find the start of ideas for my project.

My favorite part of starting a new series is the research.  It is a time to reflect and think about the things that really interest me, think about why they interest me and decide what I can learn by focusing on a specific subject.We came across this old building for sale and I just had to pull over to take a closer look.  It appeared to have been an old school or summer camp at one time.

I love the "For Sale" sign over the windows and am thinking about incorporating it into a design.

The combination of small and large windows on and above the door draw interest.  I'm also loving the old stairs.

  This is the back of the building.  The windows have all been boarded up giving me the idea of a partially boarded up window as a possible design.

Though not a window, I like the arch and the stonework framing it.  Since my plan is to use actual windows and not imagined ones, more research in other areas may lead to an arched window I could use.

There was quite a bit of shrubbery covering the view of some of the windows.  This could easily be brought into a design.

A great grouping of six windows.  The variety of broken windows in the top section grabbed my attention along with the crooked and deteriorating framework.  

Don't forget to look at your subject from various angles.  Do you want straight on, left side view or right side view?  Maybe an aerial view or view from the ground up would give a better design.  Look at all your options.

This photo led to the design currently in progress in the studio.  I love the angle, the way two of the glass panels in the upper section are missing, the shadow of the tree on the window and the greenery of the tree up above.  Remember that the whole photo does not have to be used for design purposes.  Perhaps narrowing it down to one section would make for a better design.

This photo led to thinking about including the view inside in a design.

Love this photo.  The stonework, the greenery, and the worn window panes and broken sections.  I also like the horizontal line under the windows contrasting with the vertical tree growing upward and thicker vertical wood separating the window sections.

Enjoy the research process, study your subject from all angles and have a great day.  There will be no post next week. Have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2014


A while back I had hooked a plein air piece on an old wooden easel I had used to display work in my first studio.  I enjoyed the process, but was looking for an easel that would be more flexible.  Doing some research, I found the ARTtristic Easel. Their website shows video of all of this easel's advantages.  

Since my birthday was this week, I asked my husband to build me a hooking frame that would fit on the easel for the large piece I am working on.  The frame measures 43" X 43".  Here is how the week went and more information about the easel.

Materials were put together for building the frame.  Work bench, nail gun, wood glue, measuring tape, drill, wood, sander, saw, stain and dowels.

Here is the first section of the frame.  Wood was cut to size.  Dowel holes were made, dowels inserted and the four pieces were fit together.  We built the frame in three layers. This was done so it can also be used for punch hooking and the punch needle will not hit the braces on the easel when going through the backing fabric and for traditional hooking so your hand will not be hindered on the back side.

We tested it out and the frame fit perfect, so we continued to build the other layers using a nail gun and glue to attach them to each other. I love this easel as it adjusts in so many ways.  It can be made tall, short, adjust at just about any angle, be used upright or flat.  You can stand at it or sit at it.  You can also adjust it for a small work such as a 5" X 7" or for a large 48" X 48" piece.  It swivels 360 degrees and with wide bottom legs stays steady.  It is working perfect for my 3 X 5 foot piece.  Love it!

I plan on making at least three different size frames.  With the large frame multiple pieces could be worked at the same time and cut off after they are hooked.  A smaller frame could easily be made and the work could simply be moved as needed while hooking. (Be careful moving work if you use rug strips as they are sharp.)

If you don't want to go through the work of building a frame, you could easily use picture frame parts or even a flat frame itself and place gripper strips to it.

  Here it is in the studio all stained with rug strips attached, ready to go.

I am using a monk's cloth backing, which I haven't used in a while, on the piece.  It is stretched taut across the frame for hooking ease.

The easel is upright at an angle here and allows me to see the whole piece as I work, eliminating the need to remove it from the frame for viewing.

With getting ready for the holidays, only a small amount of hooking was done this week.  An easel is meant for painters, but it can be advantageous to look at the tools of other media and how they may have the possibility of being used for rug hooking and the fiber arts.

Merry Christmas to all and have a great day.    

Saturday, December 13, 2014


There is quite a bit of news this week as we head into the holidays, when I will be able to relax and enjoy company.

I had a pleasant surprise this week when I was reading  "The Laurel of Asheville" magazine.  My "Tunnels" work was included in photos accompanying an article about the Toe River Studio Tour.  "The Laurel of Asheville" is a magazine that covers information about the arts throughout the Western North Carolina mountain area.  

Work in progress, 3 feet by 5 feet,  Lori LaBerge  2014

Work has started on an as yet untitled work which will be included in a series on windows in abandoned and deteriorating buildings.  Colors were decided on, wool was dyed and I had the chance to enjoy hooking, which has taken a back seat with all the shows going on lately.  More will be discussed on this piece next week.

There is cut wood in the studio.  Stay tuned to see what is going to happen with this.

After setting up my booth in Raleigh, my husband and I headed over to the North Carolina Museum of Art.  Last year we walked through the park area and viewed sculptures along the way.  This year we had the chance to see the new contemporary exhibit.  There is a brand new building which shows the work off beautifully.  I did take a few photos of my favorites, but to tell the truth I was too busy looking at the work to take a lot of pictures. 

Franz Kline, "Orange Outline" , N.C. Museum of Art

Franz Kline has always been one of my favorites.  I love the black and white, the sense of energy emitted and how his work always seems to portray a construction site to me.  I just enjoy that architectural feel I get from his work.  His work was done with regular house paint, nothing fancy here.  When the work is viewed in person, layers of color can be seen as can various thicknesses of paint.

Anselm Kiefer, "Untitled" , N.C. Museum of Art

I had never seen this work before, or heard of the artist.  The photo does not do it justice. The triptych is huge, measuring 130 1/4" by 73".  There is a ton of texture in this piece. Stones are wrapped in a bundle in the first section, a ladder hangs from the upper half of the second and an odd shaped funnel is on the bottom section of the third.  I had the sense of decay and deterioration from this.  Straw was placed in with the paint and areas appeared to be burnt.  I must have spent twenty minutes just studying this work.

Sean Scully, "Wall of Light Peru" , N.C. Museum of Art

Anyone who knows me knows I love the work of Sean Scully.  Stripes intrigue me. Are they roads to places, are those that are cut off boxes with no exit?  Stripes have represented various things throughout history.  Scully's work is layered. Looking closely, you see the colors underneath wanting to be seen through the layer covering them.  The edges are ragged looking, imperfect.  If you do a search on Scully and his work you can find many videos of him discussing stripes and how they relate to his work.

The museum has a gift store and I headed straight to the books.  My purchases were:

This book includes various artist interviews and thoughts on craft.  From what I have read so far, it is a great look into artists' ideas and processes.

"North Carolina Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections" with a section of a work by Gerhard Richter on the cover. See more on Artsy's Gerhard Richter page  here.

The book includes photos and commentary on all of the works in the permanent collection of the museum.

Last weekend's studio tour went well.  Here are a few photos of the studio right before the tour started.

I set up an area for people to visit during the tour.  That Thursday was also International Hook-In Day, so people were welcome to try their hand at rug hooking. I was looking for a new chair to sit and hook in, when I found my late mother-in-law's old chair in storage.  This was the chair she used to sit in when working crochet and embroidery.  How great to think of her every time I sit and hook. 

Create art, view art, read about art and have a great day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


It was a busy weekend full of packing , traveling, visiting, setting up and tearing down. Here are some photos from the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Fine Art and Craft show which took place over Thanksgiving weekend.

  This is what greets us when we arrive to set up for the show.  It is actually quite amazing how quickly this bare space turns into a warm, inviting area for people to come meet artists and shop for art and gifts.

Mary Kircher's booth.  Mary creates contemporary weavings.  She does custom dyeing and has a wonderful eye for combining colors.  Some areas of her weavings are left open creating a sense of mystery through the warp.  She has a studio at Artspace in Raleigh, N.C.

Michael Smith's booth was a rainbow of color and texture.  Who wouldn't feel good wearing one of these shibori dyed designs?  For a closer look at the intricacy of the dyeing visit Michael's website by clicking on his name above.

Teresa and Mike work in bookbinding using leather with a sense of character.  They create one-of-a-kind designs.  You can hardly wait to fill the pages with your  adventures, thoughts and dreams. 

Lisa M. LeMair incorporates Morse Code and other hidden messages in her stitched clothing. Her use of contrasting fabrics make for a bold fashion statement.

Jill Wagoner is a master of marbled fabric.  Each of these ties has its own original pattern created through the dye process.  She also designs clothing with marbled fabric.

Jen Swearington uses screen-printing and shibori techniques to create stylish clothing.  Her styles have a definite feminine flair.  They are shaped well leaving any woman feeling great about herself.  Jen has also authored the book "Printing on Fabric: Techniques with Screens, Stencils, Inks and Dyes"

Nancy Raasch designs jewelry using various fiber materials and wire.  Her creations are unique works that would make great additions to anyone's collection.

 Liz Spear weaves fabric that just begs to be touched.  She has recently added felting to the garments she creates with her woven cloth.  Her clothing is soft, comfortable and adds an aura of class to the woman who wears it.

Neal Howard weaves scarves and shawls.  She also hand-dyes yarns into some luscious colors where one hue blends beautifully into another.  I used one of her combinations to whip the edges of a piece I showed at University of Connecticut's Art Gallery recently.  It couldn't have been a more perfect fit.  Thanks, Neal!

Here I am Sunday, getting ready to pack up and head home.  I had a great time at the show meeting old and new friends and seeing pieces find a new home.

Check out the shows in your area and have a great day.