Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

The end of the past week was cold in Bloomington Indiana. Chuck Lofton said that it was the coldest day in five years, and the temperatures dropped to the wrong side of -10F. Even for a Canadian that’s cold. Our old house took notice, though. An inaccessible pipe to the upstairs froze Thursday night, cutting off the shower and flooding us with worries of broken pipes. Fortunately, I have a very large hammer and no fear of drywall! A few swift whacks and I found the offending pipe and had my trusty hairdryer on the job, full heat. My male relatives discouraged my use of a blowtorch and soldering iron, which really slowed me down. (Don’t worry; I don’t even have a blowtorch).

That leads me into the activity that you’ll find me doing most of my free time—needle felting. I do it at meetings, while my loving spouse drives the family around town, and while the boys do their Tae Kwon Do at the Monroe County Martial Arts center with Mr. or Mrs. Scott. With time on my hands and the hair dryer in place I was working on this weeks weaving project, a piece called ‘Fruit Salad’. How can you not dream of summer when it’s 14 below zero and your pipes are frozen? So I was making slices of fruit for the piece, which you can see in an unfinished form in the image I included. You’ll see unfinished apples, cherries, watermelon, strawberries and orange slices.

The inspiration for the piece really came last summer when I was dyeing wool using Kool Aid with my kids. I remember pulling fleece out of the dye pot and thinking that the color looked just like watermelon. Then the ‘I love a challenge’ part of me kicked in and I started imagining which fruits I would needle felt, and what the composition might be for a weaving. I decided to make a piece along the lines of ‘Homegrown Tomatoes’ or ‘Some Like it Hot’, my pieces based on tomatoes and peppers. But now I was thinking about picking blueberries at Brays (by the Crane Naval Station), eating apples from Musgrave Orchard that come over several weeks in the Core Farms CSA baskets, and improving the cherry harvest at Grandpa’s house by removing the ones that come ripe a little too soon.

So off I went! I have home-dyed wool from Sheep Street and the Farmer’s Market and a season full of memories of fresh fruits. I have a mental image of the chef (Auguste Gusteau) and the rat (Remy) in the movie ‘Ratatouille’ who liked to blend flavors into new taste experiences. Of course the challenge is to transform a mouthful of wool into a mouthwatering slice of summer. It’s also an attempt to blend the flavors of the fruit and the harvesting seasons across summer and fall into one piece.

Until next week…

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