Saturday, October 29, 2016


  Work in progress,  Lori LaBerge  2016

Hooking continued on the body of an abstract piece. I went through quite a bit of thinking deciding how to deal with the head of the figure  I tried various ideas and found myself veering away from my usual aesthetic. In the end, I knew I had to go back to my initial vision. 

Design work,  Lori LaBerge  2016

Why did I temporarily veer away? Stress? Fear? Confusion? I had more sketch pad paper in the circular file than I've ever had before.  Enough.

I wrote down on paper what my art is about. Clean strong use of line, geometry and pattern.  I also like a sense of place, how we move along the roads of life. This put me right back on track and led to the use of a triangle shape in the back of the circle. This was opposed to all the frilly designs I had tried to create.  What was I thinking?

Taking time to stop and focus led to a better design.

I also made a trip to the hardware store with some sculptures in mind.

I picked up two types of connectors

This is an idea of how I may use industrial felt with one of the connectors. I am currently playing with ideas using scraps of felt and deciding what other materials will be added.

Another idea with a different style of connector.  

I'm not sure exactly where these ideas will lead, but I am enjoying this stage of creation.

Art Exercise:

Take notes about your work.  What does it mean? What is your focus? What style do you work in? Do you prefer specific themes? etc. This can be done in paragraph form or by simply making a list. Use this to help you create work that shows viewers who you are as an artist.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


It is good to be back up in Vermont. I was able to view works at the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Show in Essex Junction, VT, the town where I grew up. Old and new friends were there and a dinner out led to discussion about rug hooking and its place in the art world.  

Here are some of the works that attracted me along with why:

I. C. U. by Liz Alpert Fay

The size and content of this piece fit well together. I felt like I could walk right into the woods. The flowers (26), the gun against the tree, the birds and the appearance of eyes in the trees all led to thought about the artist's statement with this work.

"Coriolus" by Anne Cox

I like the way the lichen on the edges of the work appear to be creeping up on the mushroom fungus in the center. The geometric background is in juxtaposition to the organic mushroom and lichen shapes.

"Red Brussel Sprouts" by Anne Cox

The red brussel sprouts seem to be escaping from between the middle and top leaves on the left and marching their way around all of them. The reds, purples and imperfect leaf shapes seem inviting to me and the whites are enough to break up the red/green color scheme yet not detract from it.

"Portuguese Fishing Village" by Francine Even

I like the solid use of geometric lines. Vertical, horizontal and diagonal all work together. I had a clear feel of what the piece was about before reading the title. The bold red is surrounded on top and bottom by the soothing color of the water. Made me want to visit this little fishing village.

"I, Magician" by Mariah Krauss

This piece is all about light.  The blinding glow of the crystal ball lighting the subject's hands and face, placing all else in the darkness of the background. I felt a sense of mystery. What does the magician see in the crystal ball?

A work done for a rug hooking challenge by the Rug Hooking and Fiber Crafts group of Sharon, VT

The sharp angles in the shapes grabbed my eye. While the woman is clearly the subject this is emphasized by the triangle pointing clearly toward her. She looks clearly engaged in her activity. Reminiscent of Picasso's "Jacqueline with Flowers". (Please contact me so I can give credit if you are the artist or know who the artist is).  

"The Tower" by Michele Micarelli

The winding cone shape of the tower, the flames rising, the water splashing, the sky swirling. A clear depiction of the action of destruction. The hand like appearance of the water adds a menacing feel, yet the bright blue in the background seems cheerful behind all this chaos. Is there hope beyond the chaos? 

"Quiet Beauty" by Kris McDermet

A peaceful feeling always envelopes me when viewing a kimono work. I like the shape of this work along with the way the weight of rug hooking and braiding fit together. The curve of the water flowing through the work along with the curves of the florals led my eyes throughout the piece. 

There were many more pieces at the show.  I regret not showing more, but hot spots from the lighting at the show occurred in many photos preventing my placing them on the blog.

I hope those who are unfamiliar with hooked work are inspired to try their hand at this art form.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


 Hooked geometric developed from plein air value study  5 1/2" X 5 1/2",  Lori LaBerge 2016

This week I hooked the value studies that were sketched for last week's plein air post. My love of geometrics pushed me to use these studies in an actual work. White, ivory and a light blue were used in the white section and five different blacks along with a purple in the black section. 

Geometric from plein air study 5 1/2" X 5 1/2",   Lori LaBerge  2016

I asked myself what would happen if the hooked work was placed on an 11" X 14" piece of industrial felt? What if it was centered on the felt or thread was added?  

 Design mock-up for series of black and white geometrics,  Lori LaBerge  2016

Photoshop was used to give an idea of how the work would look with the felt and threads in place. The threads will continue the lines of their respective colors with white threads following the lines of the white hooking and black threads following the black hooking. Threads will also hang, leaving a looser more flowing look than shown above.

  Design mock-up for series of black and white geometrics,  Lori LaBerge  2016

Other works in this series will include placing white threads against black and black threads against white, placing the hooked piece off center and possibly stitching the threads in curved road patterns around the hooked section. I'm looking forward to seeing how far I can go with this concept.

After all this black and white, here's a splash of the beautiful Vermont color we saw on our ride to Stowe today:

Reminiscent of an abstract painting.
Art Exercise-

Experiment with developing work from a simple concept. A jagged line, a rectangle, a triangle, an organic shape, etc. Do you wish to keep it simple or develop it into more complex forms? How far can you go? Does it end up being more realistic than abstract? Do you end up with something totally different than what you started with?

Friday, October 7, 2016


Untitled work in progress  39" X 21"  Lori LaBerge   2016

I did not know how much I would miss rug hooking. During our trip up to Vermont, I did not bring any work with me.  A return to hooking this week felt good. We'll be headed back up north tomorrow and the projects will go with me.

This week some more of the yellow was hooked. Rather than finishing all the yellow, I decided to see what the background was going to look like. Some of the blues and grays were added along with red and purple lines.  

I will be visiting some auto salvage yards to find a hubcap to use for the head of the figure. Right now I'm on the easy part. I'm quite sure I have a challenge ahead of me combining rug hooking with a hubcap. I foresee some sleepless nights in my future.

A two-value study of landscape scene

In preparation for teaching Plein Air at Green Mountain Rug School in June, I began working on two value studies to discuss with the class. When working on outdoor landscapes, studies can aid the composition process.

I veer toward geometric studies, but they could just as easily be organic in nature. The idea is to separate out the light and dark sections of the design. Do they balance? Is the shape pleasing? By doing this exercise it is easier to determine if a certain composition will work before moving on to further sketching and the actual hooking process. Spending time on design will pay off later.

Here is a thumbnail sketch of the scene I was viewing when working on the study:

It is easy to see the breakdown of lights and darks. The land in the forefront and the building were drawn as one large mass in the earlier two-value study.

Here is another example:

Two value study

 Thumbnail sketch of scene being viewed.  

The land, tree and background building will be darker than the sky area above. One could also add mountains in the background to add to the piece, even if they were not there in reality. You are creating art, not copying nature.

I know, more books.  We had lunch at Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners, VT and drove over to Woodstock for dessert.  While there, the Woodstock Library was having a book sale. Could not resist these at two to three dollars a piece.

Art Exercise-

Try creating your own two-value studies.