Sunday, February 27, 2011

Veggies are high in fiber...

I was in major vegetable construction mode this week. I have been working on the big ratatouille piece this week, and I completed all the structural elements needed for the vegetables. I even laid them out on the woven background. To my great relief I see that the design will work! The scale is right and the number of pieces is right. I still need to create the herbs to season it, which means felting some basil leaves and thyme branches to fill it out. For now, I just feel really good about completing all the ingredients. The art construction parallels preparing ratatouille, where the secret to success is sautéing each of the ingredients separately. Combining them as the final step ensures that the veggies retain their crispness and individual flavors.

My plan for creating the vegetables was based on an art piece I saw on a recycled art website. It was a table made out of cardboard, created by cutting and combining circles with increasing diameters to sculpt the 3D shape. For my vegetables I harvested cereal boxes out of the recycle bin and cut out the shapes I wanted. I used these as templates to cut layers out of wool blankets and old sweaters. These were stacked and stitched together to create the vegetable slices and cubes. I’ve needle felted a skin layer to the zucchini slices and have launched into skinning my tomatoes. The last phase is to get the intricate design and color palette right for the interiors. I’ve gone through three different zucchini models from Bloomingfoods, each of which went into a family meal. I carded and created three different colors of fleece for each of the inner colour regions of the zucchini, and so I’m ready to start needle felting the patterns. A ripe red tomato sits frightened in the fridge, ready to be dissected for its internal color and design.

Monday was the Spinners and Weavers Guild meeting. They’re trying something new, which might become an annual event—the paper bag exchange. Each person puts four ounces of a fiber, yarn, wool or roving into a bag. The bags are exchanged, and you have until September to create something out of the material and return it to its original owner. You can add materials as needed, but the base of the piece is the exchanged fiber. I’m excited to see how the person uses the yarn I contributed, and I’m always up for a challenge to see what I can do with the beautiful deep blue-green roving I received. Unfortunately it’s a superwash material so I can’t wet felt with it, but I like the fact that it pushes me out of comfort zone into new creative directions. I’m thinking a needle felted bowl…

In other news of the week I have a new show going up at the Orchard Gallery in Fort Wayne. It’s called Small Squares, and I contributed some of my felted tile pieces. I’m excited to see all the pieces together. The opening is this Friday, and I’ve heard the opening reception is nice. The postcard for the show makes me think it will be quite eclectic. I love Cappi’s mosaic chicken tile.

In local news, after the warm days this week I’ve noticed that the tulips leaves are peeking out. The first snowdrops and eranthus are appearing in the garden beds, which is a sure sign of spring. As the spring comes on I’m hoping there’s a rhubarb pie in my near future. There’s a tradition that we have rhubarb pie on Mother’s day, but I’ve decided that when you’re a princess and a mom you can have pie when you want it. I’m on the lookout!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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