Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Pie, chocolate and brains

Yesterday morning was Valentine’s Day. I woke to the alarm and skipped off to my 6:30 a.m. Zumba class through an inch of fresh snow. When I came home I was in for a few surprises! Jim baked me a delightful pie using Mutsu apples. They were bought at the farmer’s market, sliced up and frozen away until now—a little bit of autumn in the winter. My boys made me Valentine’s Day cards too, with chocolate candies taped inside. They tell me I’m the best Mom ever! My day was off to a good start. After a day of art and housework I settled into the couch in front of a nice fire to warm my bones while I needle felted the final details on the hand that holds my bouquet of dandelions. Last week I described this in more detail, but basically the bouquet will stand out in front of a green background covered with colorful felted flowers. I finished the dandelions a few days ago and photographed them in a special vase from Kathey Gibson, a good friend from Kawkawlin, Michigan. I still need to add the layer of skin to the hand before I can assemble the parts, but I’m really pleased with the hand and how the piece is coming together.

I can’t talk about art these days without mentioning my giant fiberglass brain at Stone Belt. Last week I finished attaching all the flowers to the green side of the brain. I still need to create vines and butterflies to give that side of the piece more depth and movement. The green side is intended to showcase the eurphoric aspects of bipolarism. My understanding, and what I’m going for, is to create an information overload that goes beyond pretty valleys and images and creates an intense, palpable, almost overwhelming experience. I also started work on the dark side of depression and despair as I move the rest of the piece forward. I covered the left hemisphere with mottled sections using black felts. I started to attach a few black objects to the dark side as well, including broken watches and compasses (time stands still and direction is lost), empty liquor bottles, wine corks, and pill bottles painted black (alcohol and drug abuse). I’m working on creating more dark objects to include by spray painting roses, birds in cages (thanks Cappi!) and dark angels . I’m going to add a few words I’m creating from cardboard castoff letters (thanks IU Geology department!), also painted black. I’ll use helplessness, depression, darkness, anger, and anything else that contributes to the depths of despair. I also intend to include black electrical cords to add movement and balance the green vines on the euphoric side. I’ll make the dark side additions permanent using silicone adhesive, which seems to work best for the range of materials I want to use.

The brain project also brought me a few minutes of fame across the Midwest this week. The Bloomington Herald-Times newspaper came and took pictures of the brains. They interviewed Joe LaMantia and me to get a flavor for what’s going on, and the article was picked up by the Associated Press. I saw that the article made it to papers and TV websites in Indianapolis, Chicago (the Tribune!) and Louisville. It even made it to Terre Haute and Brazil (Indiana). My life is complete. The local public television affiliate, WTIU, is scheduled to visit Friday to get some footage for TV. We’ll have to see if my brain makes it onto the little screen.

Of course the rest of my art projects don’t rest, even as the brains expand. I’m trying to finish off a few pieces I’ve been working on for the Bloom artist showcase on February 25th. I even took on a new commission this week, due by early June, so life is full. I do take a little time out for myself (and Jim) these days. We went to the Sunday matinee performance of “The Boy in the Bathroom” at the Bloomington Playwright’s Project. Chad Rabinovitz and the cast put together another amazing and moving performance. We’re extremely fortunate to have him running the BPP, bringing together both the artistic and business aspects of the venture together into a successful and vibrant home for new plays. I’m sure we’ll be back sometime soon!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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