Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wood Poppies

Spring is here, and it’s the week of the commission piece. This week I’ve been working on a green fern piece with wood (Celandine) poppies to add a splash of color. My projects always seem to involve a mixture of local or recycled materials, Bloomington landmarks and my own personal history. The recycled material this time is the brass flashing that seals doors to the outside. I cut this into fern leaflets that I wrap with green yarn to achieve the rigid structure I need to grow the ferns out of the frame. The brass comes from the ever-reliable Kleindorfers’ hardware store, one of the best-kept secrets among three dimensional fiber artists. The wood poppies have special meaning for me as they have taken over our backyard gardens. Shortly after I moved into the big gray house (now yellow!) with my husband, every time one of us spotted a wood poppy flower and said ‘wood poppy’ we had to kiss each other. It works like tapping your water glass at a wedding, only you’re less likely to break a glass or spill water.

The warmer weather of last week was also great for letting me move ahead with finishing frames. The magic temperature for a lot of the paints and stains I use is 50F, and we easily passed that last week. Tom Bertolacini is a local friend who makes my unfinished frames. He does an amazing job with mitering beautiful joints and drilling the rows of holes I need to display my pieces. I putty any imperfections, sand them into submission, and finish them on the veranda. Finishing means painting or staining and sealing, depending on the piece. It isn’t my favorite part of the process but I work hard at making them look nice.

I’ve also been out and about town this week. I met up with Amy Hamilton of Musgrave Orchard and Core Farms CSA fame. She had on her big muddy boots and was happy to be outside planting. The vegetables that will appear in big wicker baskets this summer are popping out of their seed coats and reaching for the sky. That means big Russian Black tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and apples. Plus all the zucchini we can eat, give away or compost. Amy is the only person I know who was happy for the rainy weather of the last weeks to get her seeds germinating. I also went with my son Jacob’s class (the Creek-Love room at Rogers Elementary) to the Indiana University Art Museum and Lilly library. The Art museum was an inspiration for me, especially seeing some of the patterns in the African art exhibit. I made some sketches and I’m sure some of the themes will end up in ornaments for the holiday season. The weather was fabulous and the kids were energized so I got my weekly dose of shrieking. The passing IU students looked a little confused, but that’s pretty normal. The highlight, though, was that I got to enjoy a rare lunch with my son Cubbie on my lap.

Until next week

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