Friday, May 18, 2012

Arbor Day for Life’s Trail

I spent most of this week working feverishly on Life’s Trail, my commission piece.  Last week I finished weaving the background, and this week I released the whole piece from the loom.  After I attached the piece to its frame, I started using dimensional crochet to build up the path.  The background features a sumac weave structure, which creates the loops I use as the starting point for crocheting.  Did I mention that it was a huge piece?  I literally went through pounds of sand colored yarn in this phase of the project.  I used up close to 20 skeins of yarn remnants building the path that projects a full twelve inches from the frame.  In order to create the smoothness I wanted for the path I needle felted several yarns in the sand/taupe/beige range.  I’m very pleased with how that turned out. 

The next phase of the project involved creating the trees that stand in the foreground.  Basically the trees are solid wool except for the very core, which begins with used baling wire.  I wrap the wire in a couple of layers of grandpa’s old wool army blankets to keep it cozy when it gets cold.  I then needle felted the bark on the surface using bark-colored wool roving.  To create the branches I began with an assortment of thinner wires from several recycled sources.  Some of the branches contain floral wire, while others come from spiral notebook that I took apart.  Some are just wire remnants from Grandpa’s collection.  To turn them into branches I wrapped them with hand-spun wool that matched the bark roving perfectly.  I feel like those trees and branches could have been my kids, because I took them everywhere with me and kept poking at them until I was satisfied. 

With trees and branches in hand it was Arbor Day.  I planted my big brown trees by needle felting them onto the path.  So far I have three trees finished and I’m making progress on the last one.  I’m very excited about how it looks, especially now that I can get a sense of the depth of the piece.  When the last tree is planted I have the leaf clumps at the ready to attach.  I can’t wait to see how it all turns out! 

On a final art note, this weekend is the soft opening of the Discardia store in the Trained Eye Studio.  It’s on the B-line trail at 615 North Fairview close to 11th Street.  Discardia is a new, cooperative adventure by local artists where all of the items are made from 90% reclaimed and recycled materials.  It’s a project that’s very near and dear to my heart, so I hope you can stop by.  Their full grand opening will happen later in June, so keep an eye open for that as well—it’s a worthwhile adventure that I’d like to see succeed. 

Until next week…

Martina Celerin