Monday, November 23, 2015

The last enchanted rose petal fell…

I am settling back into my writer’s chair, having just rediscovered my art studio and finding just enough time to write about my life again.  I delighted in an extraordinarily packed summer wherein I traveled to art fairs, fulfilled commissions, and created the costumes for Sounds of South’s Beauty and theBeast.  I had a wonderfully successful art fair season, including winning a ‘Best in Show’ award in Madison, Wisconsin’s Art Fair on the Square.  It’s a huge honor, and it includes an automatic invitation to participate in the 2016 event.  I’m already looking forward to traveling back to Madison!  The real elephant in the room, though, which kept me away from blogging, was my role in creating costumes for Beauty and the Beast.  The whole project came together wonderfully as the summer wound down.  The culmination of the process was opening night, October 17th, when I got to sit in the audience with my hubby and watch the spectacle unfold.  The extraordinarily talented kids, including my son Tommie, really brought the costumes to life and the performance was simply amazing.  I couldn’t help but cry as the story unfolded.  All through the show’s run and beyond the response of the audience has been beyond words.  The entire process, from conceptual design of the costumes to putting the costumes into storage has been incredibly gratifying and unforgettable. 

The end of the run of Beauty and the Beast coincided with the beginning of my fall holiday show season.  That meant that there was little time to regroup before showing my art at the Convention Center.  Now I’m done with shows for the season and I can focus my December on my family and new art creation.  I can re-enter my own little nest, surrounded by boxes and boxes of yarns and collected materials.  I see myself as ‘not too busy’, but my loving spouse might disagree.  I currently have two exhibits hanging and I’m delivering pieces for the third on Monday.  The Bloomington Bagel Company in the Shoppes has ‘Changing Seasons’ and the Convention Center has the group exhibit ‘A Celebration of the Arts’.  The new exhibit will be the Member’s Exhibit of the SDA, the Surface Design Association, at the Blue Line Gallery.  Finally, in mid-December I’ll be sharing my adventures into a different medium by hanging a series of my colored pencil sketches at the Bagel Company on Dunn Street.  The series is called ‘My Summer Vacation’ and features drawings from a trip to Topsail Island in North Carolina this past May.  There will be opening receptions on December 4th for two of the exhibits, so it’s party time!  I’ll give more information in the next blog if you’re interested in attending. 

My major project for November and December is to catch up on all of my business accounting and apply for the next round of summer art fairs.  It’s not very glamorous work, but it’s a necessary task if I want to travel next summer.  I’ll also keep busy doing art during my waiting times when the boys are doing Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu jitsu, Hip Hop and voice lessons.  I have to keep my hands occupied, so I’ve been needle felting small fruit slices for a new composition.  This past summer I created a piece, ‘Fruit Platter’, that I completed the day before we left for Madison Wisconsin.  We set up the booth and hung the piece, and the very first piece that sold was Fruit Platter.  I feel like I never got to enjoy it, and I never got a quality image of the piece.  I’ve been working on Fruit Platter II, which is now finished and I love this one too!  It is appearing in the Convention Center exhibit and in my application portfolio for summer art fairs. 

The arrival of cooler weather means its time to hunker down and cook chili, soup and lasagna for the freezer.  Everything I do, though, takes me back to art.  I began to recall years passed when we made ‘Fall Stew’ every year by collecting roots from the farmer’s market and cooking them into family dinners.  It sounds very romantic and fulfilling, and it was for a few years.  We made so much of it that it became a bit of a family joke that no one looked forward to.  I missed the nostalgia of it, so to celebrate the memory I’m creating a weaving called ‘Fall Stew’.  It will feature sliced tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, carrots, onions and other roots.  The vegetables will undoubtedly be my handwork project to pass the time during boy activities over the next month or so. 

For those of you who might be concerned that I didn’t get enough pies over the summer break in the blog, rest assured.  I paused during cherry pie season, about the time that Jim put a special pie filling in the freezer for our Mississippi relatives when they came for the Beauty and the Beast performance.  Since then we’ve had tart and sweet cherry, blueberry, peach, rhubarb, rhubarb blueberry, and persimmon pies.  The persimmon version was just a little too intense gastrically, so we won’t be making it again.  My last pie, sadly, was October 24th when we pulled the tart cherry pie filling from the freezer for our guests.  Martha had never had a real cherry pie—I’m sorry, the canned stuff just doesn’t count.  The pie was awesome, but now it’s time for more!  I’m just going to have to suffer through pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving until I can get back on track with the freezer full of fruit pie filling, just waiting to have their pie dreams fulfilled!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Monday, June 22, 2015

Load up the trailer and get on the road!

The reality of the big summer art fairs is foremost on my mind right now.  I put most all of my energies into creating art this week.  It seems as if I was in the studio from the moment I wake up until deep in the night.  I’m making progress and I’m almost ready to take my art to Des Moines!  The first piece that I finished has already traveled extensively with me.  I did the actual background weaving in my studio a few months ago, but I took the weaving to Michigan to stretch it out onto its frame.  At Grandma’s I crocheted the foreground base for the peninsula and the water’s edge.  
 I brought the piece home and needle felted the tree trunks while watching the boys do Taekwondo.  The rocks in the piece are mother stones that we collected last year on Topsail Island in North Carolina.  To complete the tree I used remnant yarn thrums that I got from the Textillery in Bloomington to create the long branches.  The center of the branches is wire that I repurposed by straightening used spiral notebook binders.  Overall, the piece has a lot of history and a lot of travel.  And I’m delighted with how it turned out! 

This week I also worked on my fruit piece, making the apple slices and grapes while watching the boys teach Taekwondo at MCMA and during art-related meetings.  As I laid out the piece, I realized I need at least one more kind of fruit to balance with the dark-purply blueberries.  I’ve settled on plums as the perfect fruit.  I know exactly what I’m looking for, but it’s hard to communicate for me because in Czech there are two different words for plums, depending on the species.  I want to make blumy, which have the right purple and the right shape. 

On the Sounds of South Beauty and the Beast production front, my sewing faeries have been busy assembling my pinned-together costumes, and they look absolutely terrific.  I’m so pleased with the progress.  Lately I’ve re-launched into another character, the Enchantress.  I envision her as a regal, shimmery, silvery-teal goddess-like person.  I want her look to be very distinct from the ball gowns that I have been working on.  The basic dress for the Enchantress was a treasure we found on the road trip to West Lafayette.  Four of the SOS contributors traveled to see the touring performance of Beauty and the Beast.   
We also planned to make it a costume-scrounging trip on the way there and back.  We found the enchantresses dress in a consignment shop in small-town Indiana.  When Nancy and I saw it we just knew that it would work as the base of the costume for the Enchantress.  A couple of months later I was here in Bloomington, visiting My Sister’s Closet, when I found another version of the dress.  It was slightly greener, but almost identical.  I harvested that fabric to extend the first dress to become a full-length gown.  I embellished the basic structure by creating sleeves from the skirt of another gown I scavenged from the Recycle Center – Materials for the Arts.  
 I added some trim to the sleeves from a roll of Christmas ribbon that I picked up last weekend from the Monroe County History Center’s annual fundraiser garage sale.  I need to give a big shout out to them for lending us two mannequins for the year to keep the costume-making process moving forward.  I will reciprocate by lending them my mannequins next year for their sale. 

On the home front it has been a good week for pies.  We missed the farmer’s market for a couple of weeks on our travels, but we returned to cherry season.  We’re looking ahead to a visit by friends from Mississippi who have never had cherry pie beyond the canned version.  They’re coming for one of the Beauty and the Beast performances and we want to give them the real farmer’s market item.  Jim has been busy pitting cherries and freezing filling bags to have on hand.  He even made two different cherry pies since I last blogged a week ago in an attempt to perfect his filling.  Last Monday he made a tart cherry pie that was amazing.  It was also perfect with espresso as breakfast for the next couple of days.  This past Saturday we picked up ten more quarts for winter pies, and Jim tried a sweet cherry pie to compare and work on the filling texture.  He added a few strawberries that were left over, which unfortunately dominated the flavor of the sweet cherries.  I’m not complaining, though!  Maybe we should try it again to see what it’s like without the strawberries!  I feel good knowing that we’ll be ready for pies this winter to bring back memories of the summer’s farmer’s market.  Let’s do the same for blueberries and raspberries!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer Fruit

It has been a crazy summer already and we’re just a couple of weeks into it.  The thread that has followed me throughout this year is costume design and creation for Beauty and the Beast.  The Sounds of South group at Bloomington High School South will bring this to the stage this coming October.  During the school year I went into the high school every day to create costumes.  Now I manage to get in once a week or so to keep the process moving forward.  I feel like I’m well beyond the halfway point with many of the tricky costumes done, but there are still plenty to make.  Lately I have been focusing on the ball gowns for the last scene.  I finished pinning together the sixth and final gown just this week.  My sewing faeries have been very busy translating my creations connected by safety pins into gowns held together by stitches and hot glue.  
 I just can’t imagine taking on this humongous project without them—I’m incredibly grateful for every last stitch and connection they have put in place.  Plus, they’re a lot of fun to work with!  This is Alice seam ripping gold trim for the beast’s dinner jacket, which is my next big project. 

My art focus of late has been preparing for the Des Moines Art Festival coming up at the end of June.  We’ve been doing a lot of driving, first to North Carolina and most recently to Michigan.  That means that I have been sitting and needle felting as Jim watches the road and keeps an eye out for hawks.  One of the pieces that I’m working toward completing before the show is a piece that will be entitled ‘Fruit Plate.’   
On the drive to Michigan I completed the kiwis, watermelon, lemons, oranges and cherries.  I have still to make apple slices, grapes, and blueberries.  That translates into a lot more dyeing, felting and assembly.  It is a timely piece for me because it reminds me of the bountiful times at farmer’s markets.  On our trips to North Carolina we stopped in at Farmer’s markets along the way to stock up, and our Bloomington Farmer’s market is still rich with strawberries, lots of cherries, greens and more.   
We bought eight pints of tart cherries for two big pies.  Fire up the oven, Jim!  And we can get more cherries next week!!  

I've also completed a large format commission piece for a hospital in Iowa.  They asked me to create a piece that featured a covered bridge over a river in the forest.  I’m happy to say that this year I’ll be bringing that piece along to deliver it to its happy home. This has taken a lot of my time over the past few months to bring together, which makes completion and delivery even more rewarding.  I’m also working hard to make a few new booth pieces for Des Moines, including three that will feature willows.  Last year was the first time I showed a piece with a willow in an outdoor setting.   I just love the way that hanging branches move when a gentle breeze comes into my booth—it makes them look alive. 

On the family front, we recently returned from the second of our summer vacation trips.  The first is our trip to Topsail Island, NC to celebrate the end of the school year.  The four of us rent a house on the beach for a week where it’s wonderful to have quiet time for all of us together.  We search for fossilized shark’s teeth and ray mouth plates, play in the surf and eat fresh fish.  I don’t take any work with me, but I do permit myself to take some colored pencils and paper.
That way if I have an urge to create I have some materials.  This year the urge was strong!   
I just really enjoyed myself sketching on the beach and the walkway over the dunes to the beach.  This past week we returned from the second trip, this time to Michigan.  Grandma hosted Dave and Martha from Mississippi, Haley and Arya from New Mexico and the four of us, spread throughout her house.  It was a fun time, packed with family adventures.  Nothing too exciting—we went on shopping trips to Wilson’s cheese shop in Linwood, Northwoods Outlet for art supplies in Pinconning, and over to the Oasis in Bay City for the classic perch fry dinner.   
There was a lot of sitting around the kitchen table and sharing stories and laughing.  I do vaguely remember having a few pies along the way, but I’ve forgotten the details.  I do know that there is a bowl of pitted tart cherries in the fridge waiting for a cool morning to turn into a pie.  Please let it be cool tomorrow morning!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring season activities!

My spring has been packed with events and challenges.  These have thrown off my usual blogging schedule.  My weekends are now devoted to completing commissions.  I finished my most recent project, which is now happily hanging in its new home.  The commissioners came to my studio, but after reviewing what I had on the walls they decided they wanted a piece that better reflected their own life experiences.  They were drawn to pieces with pathways, fences, flowers and trees.  I created a sketch compatible with the warm honey oak tones they were seeking.  The colors are a bit of a departure from my recent strong contrast pieces.  I’ve been focusing on dark coffee tone tree trunks matched with crisp, bright green leaves.  My goal has been to capture the feel of spring walks in the forest after a rain where the trunks are still damp and the greens present a striking contrast.  This style was a new challenge for me.  I do love the idea of paths that lead off to new places, and the new design featured a path leading through a flower plot along a fence. 
 It’s a secret garden because from the other side of the fence you can’t see the beauty within.  The outsiders never have a clue what’s going on along the other side.  Overall, I’m delighted with how it turned out and the new owners seem pleased.  I’ll mark that project as a spring success. 

My weekdays have been consumed with costume creation for Beauty and the Beast.  Costuming is new, but in addition everything I attempt now is a big change of scale for me.  My wall pieces are small and intimate, but the costumes are grandiose and cartoon-like with solid, in-your-face colors.  I’m happy to report that I have several costumes completed, including the first of the ‘Beast’ outfits.  That piece features a cloak with a removable capelet.  It will be on the beast when he first enters the play.  The intent is to make him look larger-than-life and very much the king of the castle.  The capelet will then snap off and be replaced by a more demure hood for the scene where he frightens the wolves away from Belle in the woods.   
To make the cloak, I rebuilt the base from a coat that was picked up by Melinda Seader last year on a trip out east.  I’ve been making the character bigger than life using a lot of foam and wire to enhance the build of the actor.  The foam fill for the capelet is taken from a yoga mat that I picked up from the Materials for the Arts program.  I’ve also had a lot of fun (which means I’ve been intensely working on) Mrs. Potts.  I needed to make this a relatively light costume.  It’s basic size makes it inherently cumbersome and I didn’t want it to be exceedingly heavy.  The skeleton of the teapot is built from hula-hoops and parts of an old water-cooling system from World Wide Auto.  
 I fleshed that out with synthetic fleece from a comforter donated to Sounds of South that the students took apart.  I upholstered the surface with a sheet from a thrift shop, then I popped on some flowers that were cut out long ago by a parent of one of the students. 

There have been so many helpful and capable people contributing to the project that it’s hard to remember everyone, but every little bit makes a big difference to feeling like the whole thing is coming together.  Along the same lines, I’ve also been working on the Milkmaid, including creating her milk bucket props.  The number of hands that this and every piece is amazing.  The buckets were donated by Oliver Winery to the Recycle Center, collected and cut down to size.  Some of the SOS members spray-painted them brown with paint donated by Bloomington Paint and Wallpaper.  The slats on the outside were donated by multiple sources, including some from Sherwin Williams and some from Grandma’s collection, with the rest contributed by Bloomington Paint and Wallpaper via Nancy Riggert.  Brian Lewis cut them all to size for us.  Some SOS students glued them onto the painted pails and stained the surfaces.  There are a few more steps ahead of us, but I’m hoping to have the final prop completed during the next craft night.  I’m hoping to get bands in place around the slats and holes drilled into the wood to install handles. 

There is much news on the family front.  So much, in fact, that I’m having trouble remembering everything that happened in the past few weeks.  The school year is drawing to a close.  Jacob’s last hiphop class with Jay, who is graduating from IU and moving on to greener pastures, was Friday.  Jay left his JayWalkerz group with a final dance number and a lot of fabulous memories.  My family saw Into the Woods at IU and Pilobolus the week before, so we have had plenty of theatrical fine arts exposure.   
Our summer routine means trips to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings.   
There have only been slim pie-friendly offerings, mostly very thin stalks of rhubarb.  Our freezer stores are almost gone, so Mother Nature better come through pretty soon!  Last, as a marker of how long it has been since I wrote a blog post, I have gotten TWO pies!  One was a fabulous apple-cranberry, and the other a very nice blueberry pie with the last of the summer berries.  
 I even found a delightful apricot-marzipan tart at the farmer’s market at the new pie vendor.  You might think that would keep me from wondering when the next pie would appear.  Hah!  I know there are still apples in the freezer and Mother’s day means rhubarb pie.  I expect to hear the whoosh of the gas lighting in the oven any time now...

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Commissions, Costumes and Spring!

My past two weeks have been as diverse in activities as they have been intense in effort.  I passed a huge milestone when I delivered my giant commission that features two dogs to its new home.  Although it isn’t hanging on the wall yet, it rests close to its final display site.  I got to see it against the backdrop of the dark blue wall and I just love how the crunchy greens pop out.  I’m pleased that I remembered to stitch the weaving onto its frame using black, reeled silk rather than my usual off white silk.  That allows the edges of the weavings to blend seamlessly into their color environment.  The new owners like the dogs, telling me that I captured some of the boisterous spirit found in their personalities. 
Back at home, I was just settling down and enjoying my milestone when I got a phone call from my next commissioners.  They are back from Florida and wondering about the timeline for their piece!  I had made a start on their commission, which will feature a flagstone path leading up to a worn fence and garden beside a fully foliated midsummer tree.  It will all be in sort of a honey-oak tone with a warmth and lightness distinct from some of my recent forest pieces.  I typically construct dark brown to black tree trunks with a lot of drama and contrast.  This piece, in contrast, will feature more soft harmonies and try to let a greater sense of peace emerge.  I have woven the background and stretched it out in a honey-brown stained oak frame.  I feel like I'm well on my way for that piece, promised for completion by mid- to late April.  As an aside, my sister-in-law in Albuquerque just asked, by text, if I ever sleep.  Well, yes, some, but sleep is overrated.  There are too many fun things to do! 

On the theatre front, I spent just about every morning and early afternoon at South High School creating costumes over the past school week.  I’ve had a lot of help from the kids during down times and over their lunches, so many of the costumes for the chorus are very close to completion.  In fact, virtually all of the village costumes are ready for the stage.  
 I’ve also had wonderful help from volunteers who have taken projects home in a bag and brought them back completed.  Many parents have enthusiastically embraced our craft night on Mondays, moving a huge number of projects forward.  I’m hoping to have a similar bunch this Monday.  I just want to send out a heartfelt thanks to everyone helping make this come together.  My focus, when I'm not trying to pull the smaller projects together, has been to focus on two of the principal costumes—LeFou and Lumiere.  I'm about three hours of work away from having both costumes completed.  I'm very excited and I promise to post pictures of the completed costumes on Facebook.  Of course they will appear here next week.  Or when my life slows down enough to let me write a little again.

My home life hasn’t been much less complicated.  I put on my administrative assistant hat and went through my giant basket of receipts of 2014 business expenses for my tax return.  All of the data is entered into my spreadsheets while the paper receipts are organized and filed away.  I put that hat on once a year and I’m always delighted to retire it to storage until next year.  It’s not my favorite job, but I know it’s important and I embrace the task each year.   Even as I work away inside, I have noticed that Spring arrived in Indiana, with lots of flowers in the yard and gardens.  Evenings have been spent running to dance practices, voice lessons, taekwondo and jiu-jitsu classes, with one evening set aside to recover.  

Last weekend we went to Eric Anderson’s thank-you performance for donations made to the Monroe County Civic Theater, which was a lot of fun.  He promised to perform a song of our choice for donating to a fundraiser for the MCCT.  We (well, mostly Jacob) pushed him out of his comfort zone with a song that featured some rap that he dutifully performed in high own style aka Pitbull done louge lizard style.  Jacob was on stage with the Jaywalkerz last night as part of the Hip Hop Connexion show at Indiana University.  As usual, Jacob was just incredible, showing off a suite of finely-tuned moves in sync with his group.  What more could I possibly ask to make my life complete?  Wait!  I’ve got it!  PIE!  Now would be good! 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Two Dogs and an Art Fair

--> It has been a busy, full week culminating in big celebrations.  First and foremost, I finished my latest commission and delivered it to its happy home.  I put a sneak peak of a section on Facebook earlier this week.  Now here’s the full view.  I really did almost nothing else over the past few weeks to get this piece done on time.  It traveled with me to Michigan where I stretched it out.  Grandma’s cats, Yahzee and Callie, looked on skeptically as an unwelcome object invaded their space.   The leaf clumps for the canopy were made as I traveled to and from Tuscon, including during the layovers in the Dallas airport.  Thankfully, crochet hooks are allowed on airplanes these days.  
 I had a lot of the components completed before spring break but not the dogs.  I had taken multiple pictures of them and created a collage so I felt ready to build them from scratch by needle felting.  I felt an added pressure because the dogs were not purebred.  I wanted them to be as true to their appearance as possible to make them familiar to their owners, both by their looks and their gestures.  I spent a lot of time crafting the faces to be happy and enthusiastic.  I was pleased with how they turned out.  On Friday morning I delivered the piece to the new owner, just in time for the spouse’s birthday.  They both loved it, which made me happy. 

Other bright news came my way at the end of the week.  I was accepted into the Madison Art Fair!  It is one of my favorite summer shows to do.  I love the people of Madison that come out to support art.  Their general enthusiasm and financial support make it extremely rewarding for artists to participate.  Another big bonus is visiting with Wendy and Duane and staying out on their farm far from the city.  It is located in beautiful rolling farmland outside Hollandale, making for a beautiful drive back and forth to the show each day.  It’s going to be a lot of fun! 

Friday also marked my return to costume creation at Sounds of South.  We have eighteen freshmen joining the group, which means thirty-six new costumes to complete.  As if my life isn’t busy enough!  The project is moving forward nicely - the new kids all came to an orientation meeting Monday.  With the help of Nancy Riggert and my son Jacob, we fitted them for their costume bases for villagers, and measured them all for the kitchen utensil costumes.  On Friday we had all of the hands of the Sounds of South current members busily working on cutting and seam-ripping and gluing the normal clothing into what will be eighteenth-century eastern European/French peasant costumes.  I feel great about the progress.  At the welcoming meeting Gwen introduced the incoming parents to the concept of the craft nights that we are having every Monday.  They seem enthusiastic about participating, and I’m looking forward to big group of worker bees on Monday nights. 

I also managed fit in sketching the Beast’s three different looks as we drove home from Michigan.  In my vision, the beast first appears to Belle wearing a menacing cloak with a raised collar.  In the library scene, he starts to relax a bit, and he will wear a in Bohemian style shirt.  Finally, in the formal dinner scene he will sport a regal dinner jacket featuring lots of glitter and gold.  I just hope that the ultimate reality is as good as the vision in my head. 

On the home front there were a few highlights as well.  Jacob, in between Taekwondo, Jiu-jitsu and hip hop practice, sparred for the first time as a black belt challenger as his friend Seth tested for black belt.  While in Michigan, Grandma made me a delightful apple pie with some secret ingredients.  
 It had white Pinconning cheese in the filling and whole cream somehow drizzled onto the crust.  Just as I was experiencing pie withdrawal upon returning to Bloomington, Jim made me a delightful tart cherry pie shortly after we came home.  I have been enjoying pie and espresso all week, but now I have none.  Great sadness.  The next pie watch begins now. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

From summer back to spring!

Last week I packed up my warm weather clothes and hopped on a plane.  I was commissioned to hold a fiber arts workshop in Tuscon, Arizona.  I left a foot of snow on the ground with a hopeful suitcase full of shorts and light clothes to match predicted highs in the mid eighties.  And Tuscon came through!  I had a fabulous time at the workshop, and the beautiful high desert setting didn’t disappoint either.  I’ve never been to a climate like that before—it’s so distinct from anyplace I’ve ever been.  I’ve seen cacti in New Mexico, but never stands of saguaros and dense fields of cacti.  There were even saguaros in the medians of the highways!  I was amazed!
 I found it fascinating that there were no trees or bushes taller than about fifteen feet.  Somehow that makes the sky look even bigger.   The days were wonderfully warm in the mid eighties every day.  Even better, the group of seven people in the workshop were just an enthusiastic bunch, bringing varied backgrounds and experiences. 
  Some had done extensive workshops in tapestry and were used to being very rigid and structured and exacting.  I tried to push them out of their comfort zone and into creating organic shapes with non-conventional materials.  They mixed different weights and types of yarns and it was interesting to watch them evolve and grow into their more relaxed and reflective creations.   
Others had never woven in their lives, so the idea of creating fabric from yarn was novel and exciting.  They were all ready to try new things and take on challenges.  That made it even more rewarding for me.  When I teach workshops I never begin with a preconceived notion of what the art should look like at the end.  I never hold paint by number workshops—I try to be very much open as to how the process develops.  
 Every hour or so I introduce a new technique, approach or combination that people may incorporate or explore as well.  Every couple of hours we have a stretching fest where I get all of the participants to stand up and move their bodies [I’m thinking of you, Darrelyn]!  
 The participants and I then walk around to see how others are interpreting the new techniques.  By the end of the workshop the people are creating their own applications and sharing what they developed with their cohorts.  They all seemed happy with what they accomplished.   
Overall, I’m delighted with how everything turned out. 

I have to thank my hosts for the five days stay, Lura and Jill.  Oh my gosh they were just so perfect!   
We had such a wonderful time.  I’m so incredibly grateful to them for hosting me.  They were everything from tour guides to wine stewards and baristas.  They came with two wonderful dogs, Teddy and Romie, who took me for walks through the neighborhood each evening.  I discovered amazing rock hounding, learned the names of mountains and plants, and was able to pepper them with questions about the flora and fauna.
Lura is a fabulous gardener and she always had a thoughtful answer to my questions about what I observed.  She is also a production weaver and creates baby blankets and chenille scarves and shawls.  Jill spins exceedingly fine yarn.  I think her favorite is silk and wool that she uses to create lacework.  They work with local cotton growers and are a resource for the processed cotton products in a rainbow of natural colors.  They are both retired nurses that saw the light and are now both fiber people, which gave us a lot to talk about.  Plus, they’re just a lot of fun—we laughed a lot. 

There is a funny story about how the workshop came to be.  About two years ago Wendy, one of the workshop participants, saw my work on Pinterest and contacted me about visiting Tuscon to do the workshop.  The cogs turned slowly but effectively.  Roxanne, the workshop coordinator, brought the whole trip together.  I’m very grateful to both of them for making this all work out.  I came home with a brain full of textures, colors and ideas.  I’m not exactly sure how that will translate into my own work but somehow I know it will.  I’ve already been hearing from my friends that I’ll be needle felting cacti and using toothpicks for spines.  Everyone has an idea for me.   
I came home to a wonderful family with open arms and lots of hugs.  Plus the house was clean—OMG!  It was terrific to see my family.  On Friday I launched back into SOS (Sounds of South) costumes and I just about completed the Le Fou jacket.  This is a costume I sketched on a piece of scrap paper as I watched the boys do Taekwondo before I left.  
 It would be done now if the rainy Friday didn’t prevent me from spray painting the buttons I needed.  Oh, and on the way home I did some sketching for still more costumes.  I need to accommodate the new additions to SOS that auditioned into the group while I was gone.  Things are moving along well on the costumes in progress over the past few weeks, such as completing Babette’s feather duster gloves.   
We riveted the napkin ring waistband closures and laced up the last of the village boy’s shirts.  And no blog would be complete without mentioning the pie status, especially on international pie day (3.14.15).  Sadly, the closest I came was cold, leftover pizza pie with my coffee this morning.  Ugh!  The fruit fairy really needs to visit soon. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin