Sunday, January 30, 2011

The art world reclaims me.

By some combination of reasonable weather and administrative fortitude, the school system managed to string together five full days of school this week. For me, that’s like waving a red flag in front of my internal artist. I was able to move along all my major projects this week. First, I finished the background weaving for my large format weaving and tied it off from the loom. I stretched it out on the frame that my personal wood craftsman Tom Bertolacini made for me and stitched it to the oak members. It looks perfect! Then I laid out the completed veggies: three beets, four carrots and one of the onions. The veggies still needed rootlets, so I started wrapping onion rootlets in my waiting times. I have a nice wooden bowl full of them, enough to garnish a big salad. The rootlets that I’ve attached to the onions looked very nice, which meant I could spend a little quality making onion leaves. I picked yarns that formed a gradient from pale to rich green and started wrapping some reclaimed macramé yarn. The finished leaves are more like tubes, the kind of thing a chef chops up for a pretty garnish on an elegant dish. I can finally see the light at the end of the row of vegetables. Of course the real challenge has been to keep the garden rabbits from eating them while I slept at night.

Another project whose deadline is approaching involves putting together a dress for the Trashionista show. I started out with a fabulous idea that involved legs from Barbie dolls. I did a lot of Barbie collecting last year. Then I fed my inner demons by ripping off their little legs! Jim found it all a little creepy, but it was all in the name of high fashion. Given all the icky things models really have to do to succeed I didn’t think I was that bad. As the dress came together, though, I decided that it was just going to be too heavy. I quickly switched to the plan I developed for a second dress. I’ve been collecting dryer sheets, one of my signature recycled fabrics, for a year now. I got out the ironing board to smooth them out and prepare them for painting and glitter application. I’d give you more details, but I know Versace is a troll on my blog. I made the mistake of laying them out on the kitchen island as a surface to add some puffy fabric paint. I added my designs, only to discover that the paint takes three days to dry fully. That’s not consistent with having two boys who need regular feeding and a place to dump all their school stuff. The living room carpet is now covered in handcrafted designer fabric tiles. OK, so they’re really just painted dryer sheets. On the bright side, the people who really appreciate fashion have very broad tolerance for new fabrics. Either that or they can’t tell painted dryer sheets from dyed silk squares. By Monday I should have all the materials for one Trashionista dress, some assembly required. While I have my seamstress hat on I’ll probably mend some of Tommie’s pants with torn out knees. Nothing like two boys to keep your life in perspective.

That covers most of the highlights from the week. I did give my ArtsWork presentation to a small but enthusiastic group of artists in transition on Tuesday. I described my own metamorphosis from scientist to artist, which I really enjoyed. Part of the charm is being able to see how much I’ve grown over the past few years. Each new technique or endeavor, whether it’s needle felting animals, creating wet felted scarves, or print cards of my pieces has been a new part of the adventure. I still feel like I’m a newbie in the art world, though. There’s so much to learn!

That means it’s time to get back to chugging along, making more art, and looking forward to springtime. I am so ready for a change in the weather—it’s like I’m still living on Ontario, with the snowiest December and January that most Bloomingtonians can remember. It’s been so cold that Jim and Tommie even went ice fishing yesterday, being so desperate to get out and do something. It was a mild day and nobody fell through the ice, which made the trip a success for me. On the other hand, the best we’ll do for fresh fish tonight is salmon from Kroger.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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