Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Before I tell you about my travels and discoveries from this past week, I wanted to share some more about the Déjà Vu show. It was held in the Columbus Commons two weekends ago, which is a wonderful venue for the show. This week Marilyn Brackney sent me a few pictures that show off the space and my booth and so here they are…

My last ‘new’ project was creating noodle scarves by cutting up felted wool sweaters and repurposing them. As I played with the process a little I realized I could take the process in new directions. I started creating wool flower petals and combined them with small felted balls I had in my collection and came up with a pattern I really liked. About then it was time to head for Michigan to see Grandma for Thanksgiving, so I packed up my felted materials in a bag with threads, scissors and my new thimble for the trip. During the drive I made a bag full of ‘sweater petals’ (thanks, Grandma!), my name for the new creations. They’re fun little bright spots to go on jackets, sweaters or hats. I just know that the gloomy weather is coming and a little bright spot can go a long way to brighten your day. I’ll display these at the Unitarian Universalist Church Holiday Art Fair and Bazaar this weekend (the UU show) if you’re interested in seeing them in person.

It was nice to travel to Michigan for the holiday to hang out with Jim’s mom, the Gibson’s next door and Aunt Lois. I got to just relax and spend time with everybody, although I did have to help with Thanksgiving dinner preparations. Jim made the crusts for the traditional pumpkin pies and prepared steelhead and salmon for one main course. These are the fish that he and Tommie caught in October so it was a real family effort. After Thanksgiving the whole crew spent a day at the King Tut exhibition in Midland, which I hadn’t seen since I was living in Toronto before moving to the states around thirteen years ago. Has it really been that long? I enjoyed seeing the Egyptian alabaster carvings and other art pieces, the gold work and liked the whole atmosphere. On Friday I helped Grandma transplant seven trees away from her barn, which made her happy and me sore. Jacob got into that project with me while Jim and Tommie were off fishing again. They did come home with a bucket full of perch from the pier at Tawas, so Saturday brought another nice fish fry. The whole family ate very well over the long weekend.

Now I’m back in Bloomington, back to Zumba to work off the holiday food, watching the first snow settling on the tree branches and gearing up for the UU show this Friday and Saturday. I’ll have all my new scarves—lattice, ruffled and noodles—along with my new sweater petals. Of course I’ll bring some art pieces for the display too, but I’ve been focusing on making scarves and commissions rather than new pieces to display. Stop in and say hello, see what’s new in my booth and don’t forget to pick up some cookies from the cookie walk!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seems like déjà vu…

This week marked the arrival of my brand new deep dish pie plate! My friend Jan Arbogast, a local clay artist, made us a beautiful replacement for our broken pan. To my great delight, it’s bigger than the last one - I’m telling Jim that means we can have healthier pies—they’ll have more fruit! Jim got right to work and made a mixed apple pie Thursday morning. It was yummy! Everybody got two pieces, and I have enjoyed pie and coffee for breakfast since Thursday. I’m guarding the last slice for tomorrow morning after Zumba.

In the art world, I spent the week preparing for the Déjà Vu art fair. Because the show features art created from reclaimed and recycled materials I decided I couldn’t show my ruffled scarves. They’re made from new merino wool and have no recycled content—unless you consider the sheep are recycling material for their coats. To fill in I launched into another new project that involves up-cycling old sweaters. The project came upon me when Cappi Phillip’s husband Bud had the vision to wash and dry her beautiful alpaca sweater she got on her trip to Peru. Cappi was very sad, but knowing that I could do something nice with it helped ease the pain. At least that’s what she said. I played around a bit cutting up felted sweaters and sewing them on to strips of felt. That wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I came up with the idea of making crocheted noodle scarves. I begin with a sweater, felt it, and then cut it into a continuous strip that I crochet to form the spine. Then I attach strips of felted sweaters onto the crocheted spine and felted the whole thing again. I think the resulting texture is really interesting. It’s a bold statement scarf and I really like them! I made some with black noodles and red spine, then red noodles with black spines before I went off playing with new color combinations. I’m basically riffing on what I learned when I made the ruffled scarves. In some strange way I see them as similar. The only major crash I had came when I tried to felt in the washing machine and the whole project fell apart. By the time I scooped all the tangled fibers out of the machine and onto the basement floor it looked like a giant eagle had swooped in and eaten a huge black sheep, leaving only the scattered coat remnants. That’s probably why we haven’t had mice in the basement this fall.

Saturday morning I packed up all of my latest creations and headed off to the Déjà vu show in Columbus Indiana. It was great fun. The Commons is absolutely the right place to hold the show—it’s airy, spacious and the layout supports a good traffic flow of fairgoers. Plus there’s a huge play space for kids next door, separated by a big, glass. sound-proofing wall. Thanks to Marilyn Brackney who did an amazing job of organizing the event and making it happen. I got to see people in Columbus that don’t make it to the Bloomington shows, including some of my friends from the Cincinnati workshop who made a long drive. Everything new was well received, including the noodle scarves and my line of Re-shirts I’ve been showing at the Discardia events. Next up is the UU show (the Unitarian Universalist Holiday Art Fair and Bazaar) in two weeks where I’ll show all my scarves, shirts, cards and wall art. Stop by(Fee Lane and the bypass) to see what’s new and buy some cookies from the cookie walk! Everyone goes home happy, guaranteed.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scarf season begins…

This week I was caught in a whirlwind of ruffled scarf creation. Last week I designed and wet felted a large collection of lattice scarves created from reclaimed and recycled materials. I combined novelty yarns, ribbons, and lace from my collections with ultrasoft merino wools to make my art scarves. I then decided I needed more ruffled scarves for the Fiber Arts show so I launched into creating black and red scarves from merino wool. I developed a strategy to make the outer scarf edge undulate, where the undulation is part of the actual scarf structure. I really liked how the red and black colors worked together, so after a few of those I made some of red, purple and black. That led me to two different shades of purple and black and then two tints of indigo and black, then on to scarves with tints of turquoise and black. By the end of the week I was looking for something different to do so I incorporated some shiny red Angelina fibers to give the scarves a little bling. I made so many that I was ironing scarves right up to the start of the Fiber Arts show. The good news is that the ruffled scarves were a big hit again this year. The bad news is that I don’t have many ruffed scarves left for shows later in the year! I guess that means I’ll be laying out more ruffled scarves before the December Unitarian Universalist Holiday Art Fair & Bazaar (Fee Lane & the bypass).

The Fiber Arts show itself was a huge success and a lot of fun for me personally. This year three local guilds put on their shows the same weekend, which was dubbed by the BEAD folks as the ‘Craft Crawl’. People could easily move between the local clay, glass and fiber guild shows at three nearby churches. Plus it was the weekend of the Handmade Market downtown. I think people enjoyed visiting all the venues—it was just a local art shopping weekend. For me, it was nice to see people I don’t get to chat with often enough. The Fourth Street Festival is always jam packed so I don’t get to visit with everyone. The Fiber Arts show is a little slower paced. I ran into my friend from Argentina, and I spent Friday and Saturday hugging people, laughing and catching up. I only stopped long enough to sell scarves, both ruffled and lattice, every so often. Now I’m looking forward to the Déjà Vu show this weekend in Columbus Indiana. I won’t bring my ruffled scarves, since they don’t have any reclaimed and recycled content, but I’ll bring a selection of my lattice scarves and my new upcycled sweater scarves. Even if I don’t sell a lot of art I’ll have a lot of fun with my art friends and show-neighbors Cappi Phillips and Pat Hecker. I’m sure that we’ll laugh the whole time. I went there with Cappi and Dawn Adams on a reconnaissance mission a few weeks ago to check out the space so I have an idea how the Commons will be laid out for the show. We had a great trip then, including lunch at Bistro 304—I’m looking forward to having a box lunch from there this weekend. Thanks to Marilyn Brackney for organizing the show, and I hope to see you there to show off my Re-shirts, scarves and a few weavings.

On the home front, when I have a successful art show my family makes me a celebratory dinner. This time things were a little hectic so I pulled some peppered salmon out of the freezer for dinner. Jim baked some bread and a boca negra (black mouth) cake, both out of the ‘Baking with Julia’ cookbook. It was sooo… good—Jim just nailed it. Just what I needed after a full weekend of chitty-chattying! I guess the last bit of news is that in the background of my life I’ve been working my new poppy piece, which is very labor intensive. For two months now I’ve been creating leaflets for the plant and I wanted to lay out what I had and see how many more I needed. I think it looks really good but I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I need more leaflets, plus poppy buds and flowers to finish the piece. I’m sure it will be ready for the first spring show! Oh, and if you’re in Bloomington and want to see some Scarf Art, I have several pieces hanging at the Bloomington Bagel Co. (on Dunn St). Stop in, have a bagel and enjoy the art (and the bagel).

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The fall show season begins…

I promised myself that before the fall show season began I’d complete the two commissions I agreed to do at the Fourth Street show. I just finished the second piece, called ‘Low Tide’, and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I was channeling the beach, specifically the receding surf as it deposits little pools full of shell fragments, drift wood, and other treasures. There’s always something for an explorer to find, which is why the beach is so great for kids and artists. The whole process of sorting shells takes me to a special place, and this time I remembered sharing my hunts for sand dollars with Tommie on the beach. Between a powerful surf and a parade of collectors what we found was more like sand quarters and dimes, but we snatched them out of the surf with gusto and glee. I’ll probably have to make another beach piece when the snow starts to fly and I feel cold again.

This year I added the Chamber of Commerce show at the convention center to my fall circuit. It was combined with a runway show, which was fun. One highlight of the show was when the sweet little boy, who couldn’t have been more than five, came down the runway dressed in a stylish vest. He was moving and posing and the crowd went wild. His mom had to come on the stage to give him the hook. The best part of the art show was sharing a booth with Terry Taylor-Norbu, one of my Fourth Street friends. She does beautiful dichroic glass jewelry. She let me have half her booth and together we kept the show lively all evening. It was nice to interact with a different group of people.

This coming weekend is the Fiber Arts Show and Sale put on by the Spinner’s and Weaver’s Guild. It will be at the First United Church here in Bloomington on Friday from 5-9 pm, then Saturday from 10-5—twenty four hours of pure fiber fun! It will be nice to seeing some old friends at a show that’s so close to home. Stop in if you’ll be around Bloomington. And if you're around town, stop in at the Bloomigton Bagel Co on Dunn street and see my ArtScarves exhibit - it'll be up until the end of November.

The family news this week begins with putting Halloween to bed for another year—we picked up all the decorations from the front yard. We even put a few more display things in the closet when they went on big discount the following week. I finally got a window to get the boys room clean (they did most of the work and all the complaining) and then I vacuumed the house. That’s a sign for me that the seasons are changing. Then we all went to the African American Arts Potpourri show on Saturday night. We really enjoyed the dance group segment and the boys really liked the chorale ensemble, and the soul review segment was fun and full of energy. The shows are always very well done, and I enjoy the diversity you see in the performers. They come on stage big and small, tall and short, hailing from countries and cultures all over the world. What they share is talent and a passion for performance, which is what makes the shows special. Now we’re looking forward to the spring show. I guess that means it’s time to get busy making more scarves for the fall shows and start some new weavings for next summer!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I love weaving!

I always seem to forget that weaving is one of my favorite things to do. This week I got busy with the two commission pieces I need to complete in the near term. I finished my second take on ‘Tread Lightly’, a piece with rusty car parts in the background and a bike floating over the surface. I created the bicycle out of scrap wire that I found in Grandpa’s barn in Michigan and adjusted the thickness with old shoelaces. I wrapped them with yarn thrums I got from Peg Dawson, a friend of mine from the Spinner’s and Weaver’s Guild, that she got from another weaver in Minnesota. Yes, my bicycles come with lots of miles on them! I almost want to take them to Bikesmiths for a tune-up. I then launched into another commission piece similar to my ‘High Tide’ beach piece. Beach pieces are always good cold weather projects. I got to pull out my sandy yarns and seashells, which reminds me of walks on the beach and fresh ocean fish. Creating those weavings just takes me to a very nice mental space. Ahhh…

Back to fall and Halloween, which was last night. Before the festivities started, my friend and frame-maker Tom Bertolacini stopped by with nine new frames for weavings. He also brought the oversized custom frame he made for the McCormick’s Creek community weaving project I oversaw this summer. I guess I have a little frame finishing in the near future. I’m delighted because I’m just itching to start on some new weaving projects that are floating around in my head.

As evening fell, my three boys ventured out to places unknown to cajole candy out of unsuspecting neighbors. (Well, maybe they suspected). Of course I contributed to the process by handing out goodies at our house, decked out in its Halloween best with four carved pumpkins and ghoulish decorations all over the yard. I think that enough sugar and chocolate changed hands last night to keep everyone going until Valentine’s Day. Or, at least until Friday. You might not think that candy inspires math, but my boys will continue their Halloween tradition of making a pie chart in Excel and analyzing how much of which kinds of candies they got.

Finally, on a sad note, my deep-dish pie pan broke on our trip back from Michigan. My hands are starting to tremble a little bit from withdrawal. No. Pie. Since. Last. Saturday. Well, I suppose when you put it that way it isn’t so bad. Yet. I quickly got my friend and the boy’s ceramics class teacher Jan Arborgast on the case. She just e–mailed me to tell me she’s finished throwing the pan and did the fluting on the edges. Hooray! Jim, did you know there were still Mutsu apples in the refrigerator? Who can think of a number between three and four?

Until next week…

Martina Celerin