Sunday, June 27, 2010

The joys of eating locally…

This might not qualify as eating, but I did finish another felted tile piece this week. I’m trying to complete the series of fifteen ("Pieces of Life"), and this is number nine, "Postcards from Home." I still need to create five more canvases, which I make in batches, but my plan is to have an exhibit with the series. It’s my exploration of color and composition, so for now I’m staying with the same color palette. I think it’s warm, bright and happy. The latest version is filled with sun, sky, water and heat, which I think came from hours of fishing in blazing suns this week—more on that below. I have an exhibit booked in October at the Dunn Street location of the Bloomington Bagel Company, so that might be the big local debut for the pieces. The most important thing is that I’m really enjoying making them!

For the Father’s day weekend the crew and I traveled to Michigan to visit Grandma. We timed strawberry season just right, and we got to have strawberry shortcake for breakfast one day and lunch on another. If you’re going to indulge, do it right I say! We got the berries at the Midland Farmer’s Market—boy were they good! Grandma used great-grandma Drummond’s recipe for biscuits. The whole thing was topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. What a treat! On Father’s day itself we broke out the Lila Mae, Jim’s dad’s boat, and headed out on the bay for some walleye fishing. It didn’t take long before I had a nice one in the boat. And then another! Did I say I caught the most and biggest fish that day! Of course that meant a fresh fish dinner, which we had on Monday, and the rest of the fillets were frozen for another trip to Michigan. It was good to get out on the Lila Mae, and we felt like Grandpa was fishing with us. He passed away in February, and he is greatly missed.

We came home on Tuesday, settled in a little, and I worked on my felted tile piece and making more dandelions for a weaving. Friday we ramped up for a full day, though. The morning started with an early alarm at 4:30, then off to Lake Monroe for a day of fishing for wipers with Captain Tim Hudson. He’s a very engaging fellow and we had a great time. It was one of those trips where ‘you should have been here yesterday’, but we still managed a six and an eight pound wiper first thing in the morning. We should have headed for home then, but we soldiered on for six more hours without any more action. Friday evening we washed up and headed out to see ‘If you give a mouse a cookie’. That’s the Cardinal Stage Company production of a favorite book of ours from the boy’s early childhood. It was very cleverly done with a lot of creative touches. The whole family liked it, especially the chocolate chip cookies that were on sale at the intermission. Then last night (Saturday) Jim baked some of our wiper haul. Boy, were they nice! It’s a very mild fish and went nicely with the new potatoes and corn that we picked up at our Farmer’s Market earlier that day. It was truly a delightful local meal, something we’ll certainly repeat soon with the rest of the fish.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thunderstorm, thunderstorm, go away

My week started off with a few bangs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all in the art world. A thunderstorm moved through the area and the winds knocked off a large, high branch across the road. Luckily, it fell mostly on the power line and less on the house, but of course that meant we lost power. Sunday night the same thing happened: a new branch but the same house. I also saw lightning strike the transformer, and wow! What a show! It looked like a fourth of July firework with sparks flying all over the neighborhood. This time the power was out all night, and we had to listen to the crews doing the repairs and cutting up the trees all night through the open windows. The bright spot was the fact that the back-up, battery powered sump pump came through and sent the flash flood streaming back out of the house. I took the precaution of lifting all of my loose yarn and works-in-progress up off of the carpet in my art studio, but happily, all stayed snug and dry. The whole experience inspired me to invest in a hand-crank radio for just such emergencies—now I need a hand-crank computer!

By candlelight, I managed to finish another felted tile piece. I really like how it turned out, and it’s hanging in the kitchen to get some exposure before it meets its public at my next art fair in Madison, Wisconsin. The bad news is that I managed to poke myself with my multi-pronged felting needle pretty badly, which I washed and treated with antibiotics as well as I could. I’d like to avoid doing that again! At least I got to release a little of the Czech vocabulary I don’t get to use much.

If it wasn’t injuries, it was art back pedaling. I went to Wonderlab to finish off the butterfly piece, which was a community art piece I helped organize over the winter. The Wonderlab volunteers painted over three thousand wine corks collected from around town; thank you, Bloomington oenophiles! One Saturday afternoon the museum attendees glued the blue yellow, and black colored corks onto the design I created of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. This week I tried to paint on some details, but that turned out to be a terrible idea. I ended up painting over all of my efforts and declaring it complete, which is one of the great things about being an artist—you decide when the piece is done! Now the ever helpful, resourceful and cheerful Andrea is sealing it with urethane, and soon it should be hanging on the bee-line trail (I’m sure they misnamed it).

There are some new things to look for in the local art scene. I went to the library last week and yet another person asked me to do an ornament workshop, so I’ll be organizing something in the Bloomington area in October—drop me an e-mail if you want to be put on a notification list when the planning does come together. I also finalized plans for an exhibit in Valparaiso, Indiana this summer and fall. The opening of the new galley art center on the Fourth of July will include some of my ‘Shhh… the trees are sleeping’ pieces, and I’ll have blank notecards there as well. Then there will be a larger exhibit of my work for their full opening in mid-September. I’m looking forward to heading up there in the middle of August to see the new gallery space and give a talk. I’ll post the details when I have everything settled.

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The week I had to use my opera voice

As Saturday’s go, today is a little more relaxing than the last one, when I was in the middle of the Art Fair in Columbus Ohio. I had to spend a little time excavating in the house on Monday—I knew the kitchen was underneath all that stuff! There’s rarely any rest for the artist, especially when school is out, and this week I had to finish preparation for a workshop in Danville Indiana on Wednesday. I made the boys, aka my workshop documentarians, pack up their self-entertainment bag the night before and we all got to bed early. By eight o’clock we were dressed, fed, and on the road to Danville, art supplies in tow. I had a wonderful few hours with an enthusiastic crew there, and it didn’t seem possible that it was time to go at noon. Everyone was still poking away, and the boys were still playing Yu-gi-oh. Or should I say oh-oh—they forgot to take pictures of the workshop! So with apologies, I don’t have any nice pictures to show of the event. I’m going to have to insert some of the needle felting work, one of the new Pieces of Life series, that I did in my own quiet moments during the week. Anyway, things went so well that we’ve already scheduled another workshop for a Saturday in October to include the people who couldn’t attend Tuesday’s session. And an alert to Pat and Nancy at Sheep Street: they have vowed to descend on your store to stock up on fleece and needles!

My next big event was a reception for the ‘Touching Summer’ show I hung in Columbus Indiana last week. Hotel Indigo, which is hosting the show, is such a vibrant place to have an art exhibit. My hat is off to the Arts Council for their efforts to keep shows hanging without a brick and mortar home right now, with the Columbus Commons being rebuilt. The Hotel Indigo in Columbus is a fabulous arts space, with lots of light and color around. It doesn’t feel like any conventional hotel that you might walk into. The food was good, although they didn’t have the brownies necessary to hold the complete attention of the boys. There was also a really nice full-page spread in the Columbus paper, The Republic, although it’s hidden behind a subscription firewall if you want to read it. However, the big picture on the top of the page is accessible. And I have a nice one from the reception that I’ve posted here. I got home around eight, just in time for a beer and some interesting new swirly chips I found at Trader Joe’s on my trip through Indianapolis on our way home from the workshop in Danville.

Last, you may think of me just as an arts diva, loving mom and Midwest traveler, but I have other roles as well. On Friday, a deer snuck into our back yard. It was making a calculated and cunning trek to the big bed of lilies in the middle, trying to look inconspicuous. After last year, I know that if the deer mowed down the lilies, it would have been a crushing blow to my hubby, so I leapt into action. I tried scolding, without effect, so I grabbed some pieces of wood by the door to pitch at the deer. Still nothing but munch, munch munch. I contemplated getting some pots and pans to try my ‘anti-bear in the campsite strategy’ that I learned in Canada, but I found that I just had to bring out my opera voice and add a few loud claps. My grandfather was a bass in the Czech opera, so I come by that honestly. Anyway, that did the trick and the lilies are safe for now, and I was a hero when Jim came home. Now do I get a pie?

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The new world explorer discovers Columbus

I had yet another jam-packed week. I started out by preparing for my assaults on the every town named Columbus between Bloomington and New York (and New York had better watch out too!). The boys had their last day of school, which meant I had one last window of freedom to get things done until August. I started out by convincing my photographer, Tom Bertolacini, to come into town to do a quick photo shoot of my newest work before it left the studio. I also printed (thanks White Rabbit!) and packaged my note cards for upcoming shows. For that I got some help from the boys, who pack them in wrappers and put the price tag stickers on. All for a reasonable fee, of course, that will either go to Yu-gi-oh cards or a new pack of silly bands. On Wednesday I packed up some of my bigger pieces for an exhibit in the Phi Gallery at the Hotel Indigo in Columbus Indiana. While I was in town I did an interview with The Republic newspaper, which I think will be published in Thursday's paper. After a stop for ice cream at Zaharanko’s (a set-up tax for the boy’s cooperation) we raced back to Bloomington for dinner and packed up the monster rental van with all my art fair stuff. On Thursday morning we set out for the Columbus Arts Festival in Ohio under pretty blue skies. The set-up went smoothly, and I have to say that it was a beautifully organized show. I was impressed with the show coordination, the helpful and ubiquitous volunteers, the artist support facilities and the show planning efforts that made everything go smoothly. It’s an artists dream to participate in a show that well organized, especially for its size. The only thing that didn’t go as planned was the weather. Friday was off-and-on rainy, with storms in the distance. Saturday was dampened by torrential rains and thunderstorms that shut down the show for a couple of hours, but the booth held together and kept me dry. The worst part was that I left my needle-felting supplies at home so I didn’t have anything to work on. By late afternoon the weather cleared and the crowds came back. I had a lot of very interesting conversations, including some with former Bloomingtonians and people with some connection to my hometown. I’ve even ended up in someone else’s blog! One of the highlights was meeting a group of fiber artists from Cincinnati who said that drove up just to see my work—I felt so honored! We talked about the possibility of putting together a workshop next year, and I’m getting some ideas together for topics.

Of course, any show I do involves the travails of my road crew. They bring me food and keep me entertained with trick scooter riding and stories. While I watched the threatening skies on Friday, they partied at the Zoombezi Bay water park at the Columbus Zoo. They body surfed in the wave pool, rode the tubes in the lazy river, and defied certain death on the huge waterslides. The next day they went to the CoSI, the Columbus museum of Science and Industry, which was an easy scooter ride from the fair. I’m told the boys ran around like crazy and explored all the exhibits, wearing out their father in the chase plane. At least I got some of the leftover cheese pizza from lunch. On Sunday we packed up the moment the show closed and were back on the road by about 7:30. Everybody except the driver fell asleep on the way home (good job, Jim!), and we were all sound asleep in our own beds by midnight. To top off my adventures in Columbus, on Monday the boys and I had to drive back to Columbus Indiana to tie up a few odds and ends for the exhibit and the opening reception for "Touching Summer" which is on Thursday June 10 from 5:30 - 7 at the Phi Gallery in Hotel Indigo.

For now, I’m happy to be back home, enjoying the lilies flowering in the yard and gearing up to start a commission for a red-eyed tree frog piece for a patron in Columbus. Now that everything is done I’m looking for a celebratory dinner—I wonder if I’ll get pie!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin