Saturday, June 27, 2015


First section of "Bridging the Gap" in progress, 11" X 11" Lori LaBerge  2015

Work on the latest piece has continued this week.  The curves are constantly being tweaked as they don't follow the grid of the backing linen.   A spot-dyed wool is being used in the purple section and the lighter sections needed to be near the edges as the darker sections did not give enough contrast. Placement of darks, mediums and lights were marked off.

It was a busy week with many decisions to be made on various activities and when I feel stressed I always do two things:  have a glass of wine and read an art book.  I have always turned to art and it has never failed me.

I found myself reading a book about Agnes Martin.  She worked with a subtle sense of  contrast when she began working with grids and stripes.  I could not find photos of her work that gave permission to use, but her work can be viewed here.

In rug hooking we constantly talk about the importance of value and contrast with most of it being centered on intense contrast. There would be no better work to study than Martin's to learn about the opposite, the subtlety of value. 

   Wool colors close in value.  Notice the feeling you get from them.  What would you design with these colors?

Martin's work always gives me a sense of tranquility.  The colors she used are muted and similar in value leaving one with a feeling of peace and calm.  There is also a slight innocence to her pieces. Maybe it is the purity of paler, lighter colors.  I can easily see this having an influence on my work down the line.

People tend to veer toward the familiar.  Our brain is constantly trying to make sense out of the artwork we view.  Martin's work deletes that need and forces the viewer to see more from what at first looks quite simple.

Pale yellow, pale blue, pale peach and textured medium beige

At first glance her grids look very controlled, yet the pencil marks are not perfectly straight lines.  They skip and wave while along their "straight" path.  Martin called herself an abstract expressionist though many see minimalism in her work.  The two are different and she seems to fit into both as the simplicity and paring down of the work fits the mode of minimalism while the sense of the unconscious ideas she portrayed may fit into abstract expressionism. 

Clothing in yellow, ecru and stone

Martin worked in repetition.  The grids are repeated rectangles or squares while the stripes repeat themselves throughout a piece with alternating colors or lines in between them.

A tower of books.  Repeated stripes of various thickness in calm colors

Think about how color affects us, notice the calm colors around you and have a great day.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


"City Crossing" is pictured in the On View section of Fiber Art Now Magazine's Summer 2015 issue.  The topic for the section is Sojourn and features thirteen other artists.  Please check out this section along with the rest of the magazine. This is one magazine I always read cover to cover.  If you do not subscribe, you can do so at Fiber Art Now.

Also in the issue is Line Dufour's Fate, Destiny and Self Determination project on page 50. I had a great time participating in this project which features the works of numerous fiber artists and love the way Line put everything together for it.  You can check out the project more closely and see some of the entries by clicking here. 

One section of  "Bridging the Gap" in progress,  11 X 11,  Lori LaBerge  2015

This work will consist of two sections connected with metal bars.  It was designed quite a while back and will look similar to the drawing I made in Photoshop below when completed.

Design by Lori LaBerge  2014

These are the colors chosen for the work.

Lots of deliveries were made to the studio this week:

 Supplies delivered for workshops.  

I will be teaching two workshops this year.  One is a class on creating a series of work that will be taught at Sauder Village in Ohio during August.  Information on the class can be seen at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week.  Join us if you have the chance.

The other will be on composition in plein air work done through theThe International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers.  It will be held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in October.  There are many outstanding rug hookers in this group.  If you are interested in learning more about the guild you can go to TIGHR and check out the gallery of work by clicking on the word "gallery" in the navigation bar.

Posters I ordered arrived rolled in their tubes.  These will be used to discuss composition and landscapes for classes.

Plan out your next project or order some supplies to set up your own mini-retreat at home and have a great day.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


"Missing Windows"  36" x 60"  Lori LaBerge  2015

The hooking on "Missing Windows" was completed early this morning.  Finishing work will still need to be done.  As I usually pop in a movie when finishing a piece, I may have to look for a very long movie for this one.  It is the first in the "Forgotten Windows" series. 

While reading about signatures of tapestry artists in the 15th to 18th centuries, I kept thinking I wanted to do something different to sign the pieces in the window series.  I decided a door plate will be placed in the corner of each of the works.  The doorplate reminds me of entry to the buildings the windows are in as well as entry to the artwork itself.  The doorplate above still needs to be stitched to the hooking and signed with my signature. This will also be in keeping with the use of metal in my work. 

I also started reading a book on Frank Auerbach this week and am having a hard time putting it down.  His paintings of portraits and urban landscapes have always intrigued me as they are created with thick paint with a strong tactility and emotion to them.  The book goes into Auerbach's views on painting, on art schools, on his method of working, on advice to art students, along with many other views.

"Missing Windows' took me six months due to recovery from surgery and other pieces being worked on.  Enjoy the process, don't worry about the time it takes and have a great day. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015


"Coleus II"  8" x 25",  Lori LaBerge  2015

"Coleus II" was completed this week and is ready for framing.  This work was done from a plein air sketch using exaggerated color.  The dark value of the background makes the leaves pop out more than they did in reality. 

I started thinking about tapestries while I was working on this piece.  Leaves have always fascinated me and while my eyes are first drawn to the main subject of a tapestry, they soon start studying any leaves in the work.

While in Scotland a couple years back, I took photos of the Unicorn Tapestries that were being recreated at Stirling Castle.  Here are some close-ups of leaves in the works.

Lower right --"The Unicorn at the Fountain"

There is quite a bit of light green as if sunlight was shining down on the leaves.  They have a small, slightly elongated shape to them allowing soft resting places, almost nests, for the oranges to grow.

Upper section --"The Start of the Hunt"

These leaves are in sharp contrast to the first set.  They are narrower and sharper in appearance, slightly reminiscent of poinsettia leaves.  The bright leaves in front stand out and contrast with the darker leaves in the background.

 Top center -- "The Captive Unicorn"

The leaves above resemble umbrellas shading the areas below.  They spread out with each leaf of each section partitioned out with slight overlap in places.  Again, we see the contrast in values around them, forcing them to stand out in front and creep into the background as they recede.

 Upper center -- "The Unicorn at Bay"

Some of the leaves above stand out while others blur into nothingness as they recede into the center of the tree.  They are broader at the base and the lighter value leaves in the forefront lead into middle and darker values.

 Lower section -- "The Unicorn at Bay"

The leaves on the left have lots of curves running in and out among them.  If you drew them your pencil would be moving up and down creating wavy lines and the leaves would extend horizontally.  The leaves on the right are opposite, reminiscent of a fan.  They are more vertical, substantially longer than they are wide and spreading out slighting at the ends.

  Far lower left --"The Unicorn is Brought to the Castle"

These leaves are more rounded with the base narrower than the upper portion.  Thick in growth, the squirrel has found a safe place to hide among them. 

I found this book at an antiquarian book fair years ago.  It has great photos in both color and black and white.  The color photos are bright, clear and show lots of depth.  There is an extensive history of works from Gothic to Contemporary (keep in mind the book was written in 1965), studying the past to see how tapestry evolved.

It contains vocabulary of tapestry terminology, information on looms, creating texture, dyeing, and cartoon drawings.  The book was written in 1965 and is over-sized.   My favorites sections were the contemporary works which were divided according to country and the one page section on the signatures used by tapestry workshops in the 15th -18th centuries.   

Enjoy the little things that are often overlooked, record them with camera or sketchpad and have a great day.