It has been a very green week. Most people do spring cleaning when the weather gets nice—I do my annual green dyeing fest. It usually gives me enough green yarn to carry me through a year of verdant art. I pulled out my dye pots from Grandpa (thanks!) and filled them with greens I like. After the dyeing I drained the green yarns and spread them over a chair in the veranda. It looks very soft and inviting to sit in. When the weather turned cooler I moved everything downstairs to hang and dry more completely.
Speaking of turning things green, I spent a little quality time with my brain. If you aren’t up to speed on this project, I’m embellishing one of the 22 brains in Bloomington’s ‘Brain Extravaganza!’ It’s the brainchild of Jill Bolte-Taylor, pun intended. I met my brain at Stonebelt this week among a bunch of other brains. Mine is gong to represent my interpretation of bipolarism. The right hemisphere is now a lawn of green felt to be covered in flowers I created, and the theme is a floral euphoria. I spent a big block of time, at least when I wasn’t chatting with my friend Bonnie Gordon-Lucas working nearby, attaching felt to the right hemisphere of the brain. I’ve been collecting felt scraps for years, knowing I’d have a use for them someday, and now I do! I used up every last green scrap I had. I tested several glues along the way to see what works best to adhere the coarse resin brain surface to felt and discovered that good old white glue was the best. The good news, and bad news, is that I went through my entire collection of leftover white glue bottles. I started the project with two two-gallon bags full of partially used bottles of white glue; now I’m completely out. My husband thinks I’m going to stand outside the elementary school after classes and mug kids to get more. Have I said I’m big on reclaiming and recycling? The problem is that I don’t have enough glue to finish the dark side of my brain, so I see a trip to Pygmalion’s soon to pick up another gallon or so. If you can’t use recycled materials, buy them locally I say.
My own brain got to re-thinking my ‘Hilly Hundred’ piece this week. I decided that the green background I made isn’t persuasive enough to evoke the hilliness I want for the twelve bike wheels I just created. I need to play with some design ideas to make it more dimensional. I decided that the background I made would be perfect for a project I mentally composed about a year and a half ago. Of course I got sidetracked before completion, but now I’m back on the job. The vision is to have a hand holding a bouquet of dandelions above a diverse background of more traditional garden flowers. It speaks to the idea that things don’t need to be commercial or prized by society to have great value to a person. People think of dandelions as mundane weeds, but they provide the first real explosion of colors for the world in spring, whether you planted them or not. When my boys were little they would pick dandelions for me, which they saw as pretty. They just wanted to share flowers with me because they knew they made me happy. I still cherish the little yellow splashes of spring.
Art making never seems to completely fill my week. Thursday evening was the big grand re-opening of the Bloomington Playwright’s Project. Chad and Gabe and a whole bunch of volunteers have done an amazing job converting the theater from a dingy gray space into a warm inviting living room. It’s an accessible and inviting place to be. Part of the ceremony was the official unveiling of two art pieces that were intended to capture the spirit of the BPP and to be part of a permanent collection. Oliver Winery underwrote the commissions for two pieces (thanks Oliver!). Joel Washington, a terrific Bloomington artist, did one and the other was one of mine. I was delighted and honored to be included in the project and the re-opening ceremony. I’m very grateful to Chad for re-establishing the BPP as a Bloomington landmark and artistic treasure. His vision and energy were just what the place needed and demands.
And if that wasn’t enough for one week, on Friday night we were all off to Wonderlab for the aluminum pouring event. About a month ago my boys and I picked up sand molds and long nails for carving designs. The boys set to work almost immediately, scratching designs into the artificial sandstone medium. I put off my design until the day before the pour because I couldn’t decide on a subject. During my dyeing spree I went out into the veranda and the sun was shining, so I knew what I had to do! We watched them pour molten aluminum into the molds and buff the cooled products. While we waited, we had a nice macaroni and cheese dinner upstairs, care of Bloomingfoods, and did a little running around inside. The pieces turned out beautifully, and everyone involved was excited to participate in the process of creating the aluminum casts. It was a week of delightful experiences all around.
Until next week…