Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two day school weeks

Help! The boys spent more time at home this week than they did in school. Monday brought the Martin Luther King Jr. day holiday and Tuesday was an in-service day. That brought on the usual parade of breadsticks, pizza and popcorn-snurfing kids over for play dates to fill the hours. That made me a little less productive, but I was able to keep my art projects moving forward. Luckily, in my house MLK day is also a pie holiday. The boys and I bought nine big apples, three each of ambrosia, pink lady and Sonias. I gave Jim my best ‘I need a pie very badly’ look. It worked! I had a nice week of pie and espresso for breakfast after a week of intense 6:30 am Zumba classes (thanks Liz and Cera!).

In art news, my big commission piece took a few steps forward as I worked on weaving the sky. I also started cranking on the carrots and beets during the week, which I can work on just about anywhere. The four carrots are done, and I must say that they look delightful. My completed beets needed leaves, which was an evening job this week. It was very cold several nights, and that meant fires in the fireplace. I sat in front of the flames and embers to keep my fingers warm as I worked. When the fire started to die down I called out ‘krb!’, which translates into fireplace in Czech. That brought a well-trained Jim in the living room to poke at the wood and get the fire stoked up again so I could focus. To make the leaf veins for each leaf I use somewhere between six and twelve cut remnant copper wires. Beet leaf veins require a lovely deep purple yarn, which I was lucky enough to have through a typically unusual twist of fate. When the boys were very small I ordered a few toys from an educational catalog. It also offered remnant yarn lots for sale and I bought a bunch. One of the first yarns I received was, I thought, a really awful color that I would never be able to use. Of course I didn’t know I’d have beet veins in my future. I wrapped my copper wires to create the veins, attached them to last week’s leaves and connected the leaves to the beets. Another vegetable done! Next it’s on to the onions.

Another big milestone this week for the giant veggie piece was receiving the frame. My friend and woodworker Tom Bertolacini made and delivered one of the oak frames and it looks great! My greatest concern was that it needed to be sturdy enough to support the large weaving. I’ve had problems in the past with frame-members bowing under the strain of the horizontal pieces. But Tom’s frame is made of thick oak with three central support bars. I have great confidence that it’s going to support the piece with ease.

The boys did manage to get back to school on Wednesday, even though a big storm was looming on the Wundermap. That gave me some time to have a delightful chat with my aunt and uncle, Maruska and Martin, in Pisek (in the Czech Republic). I haven’t spoken with Martin in over three years, and then the hour-long call cost me a lot of money. This time we talked using Skype and I took advantage of the internet. It’s great to be able to see each other as you speak and really connect with them. After this talk, and my Skype conversations with my aunt and uncle Mila and Pepik, and my cousins Renata and Milan in Prague over the holidays, I really have a warm and fuzzy feeling to be part of my bigger Czech family.

On Thursday the big snow hit. Of course school was called off and the boys were excited to have yet another day at home. Friday was back to school, and Saturday meant getting back into our routine with Taekwondo in the morning, a play date in the afternoon, and kluski for dinner. And next week my life gets even busier. Monday are more arts organization meetings, Tuesday at 5:30pm I’ll give a presentation at City Hall in the ArtsWorks series entitled, “Transitioning into an Art Career” and the big story about me in the Home and Lifestyles magazine should appear at the end of this week. And there are still giant onions to create!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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