Sunday, October 28, 2012

And the leaves keep falling.

My intensive weaving season continued over the past two weeks as I moved forward on several commissions that came in over the summer.  I completed the background on another piece that features a path through the woods.  I picked out all of the yarn colors for my pepper piece and warped the loom I’ll need.  I also made more felted balls for my ‘lemons’ piece—I feel like all of those projects are moving along nicely.  I also completed a piece that wasn’t a commission, but one that I started just before the Fourth Street Festival.   
The chaos that the weather brought to this year’s event kept me from completing it before the show.  I probably had the time, but I just couldn’t focus on art creation.  Waiting to complete the piece turned out to be a good thing.  When Grandma was here two weeks ago we collected some gravel from a creek bed that turned out to be perfect in the piece.   
The rocks had been beaten up a little and the edges smoothed by running water in the creek.  The smoothness and the weathering made them perfect for the rocky tip of the peninsula in the piece I was finishing.  If you’d like to see some of my most recent work, come to the first fall show of the season, the Spinner’s and Weaver’s Guild show opens on November 9th. 

The business side of my life kept me busy too.  Toward the end of the week I got Tom Bertolacini, my photographer, to drop by and capture images of many of my newer pieces.  It had been a very busy summer, and I just didn’t have a chance to capture images of many of my newer pieces.  Some of them sold before I could get a picture, but I’ve resigned myself to that eventuality when the crunch before a show comes. 
 I also negotiated with Bloomingfoods East to display my sweater petals.  The barrier to expanding my display there has always been the expanded footprint in an already packed store.  I had an epiphany when I turned the problem over in my brain—I would just extend my card rack up one story!  The lower level will continue to display cards while the upper story will house the sweater petals.  I built the display out of mostly all reclaimed and recycled materials, except for the dowel I bought new at Kleindorfer’s Hardware.  I’m hoping that the weather cooperates just a little bit to give me a window to paint my creation black to match the rack.  With any luck it will be at Bloomingfood’s East early in the week. 

And yes, the season also features Halloween.  This year Tommie wanted to be a Zombie and buy a Zombie costume.  I usually encourage making costumes (I’m pretty handy with fabric, it turns out).  But he really wanted the costume, so I decided it would be a reward for his excellent first term grades.  Jacob also had a clear idea in mind, taken from one of his favorite books.  He wanted to be the Ranger’s Apprentice.  Fortunately or unfortunately, he came with a clear vision of exactly what the costume should look like.   
He rejected all the green materials in my huge collection for the cloak.  We ended up in the fabric store to find just what he needed.  I sewed the material into the cloak, and he found a button that was perfect as a clasp to define the hood.  He needed a quiver and decided that black leather was the way to go.  I’m actually quite proud of what we were able to create together.  For the arrows, Jacob and Jim went into the garden and cut down dried lily stalks.  They needed sharper points, he decided, so he’s been using Sculptey, an oven bakeable clay, to create them.  They also cut down a curved branch from the maple tree in front for the bow.  He’s been doing some whittling to get the shape right.  I, on the other hand, found the perfect costume on a trip to the Recycle Center.  I can’t wait to wear my cow costume!   
Mary at the Recycle Center suggested that I might want to put a ring through one of the teats, but I could see Jim wincing at the visual.  I’ll have my fun on Wednesday and take it back on Thursday.  It was good that I didn’t upset Jim too much, because he made us a fresh raspberry pie this morning!  We found the last of the season’s berries at the Farmer’s Market.  One batch went into the freezer for a winter pie and one went into a crust this morning.  I had fresh, warm pie with a second cup of espresso!  Perfect!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Life’s path finds its home.

My past few weeks have been a roller coaster ride through a series of art and family events.  My big commission piece, ‘Life’s Path,’ is now complete and hanging in its new location, the Like Law Group’s reception area.  I just love how it looks against the orange background.  A lot of long hours went into completing the piece, which makes it all the more satisfying to see it hanging on the wall. 
 I immediately launched into my next commission, which also features a path.  This time the focus will be on the trees rather than the path.  Because my patron wants to hang it in a hallway it will have to be a flatter piece.  My trees can be a little feisty, and I don’t want them accosting anyone as they walk down the hall.  The challenge will be rely more on color to help create the perception of depth.  Of course the size of the objects in the piece conveys depth, so I’ll incorporate different sized elements such as crinoids to contribute to the depth aspect.  Fortunately, I have an extensive collection of found objects, sorted by size, so I’m already working the fossils into my piece.  As I’m moving this project forward, I’m also preparing for the next commissioned piece.  This is the time of year when I can catch up on requests for pieces I’ve received through all the summer art fairs, so you’ll be seeing these pieces come together over the next few weeks.  
 Next up is a version of my ‘Some Like it Hot’ piece that featured dozens of peppers.  The layout will be different, with the new piece a being narrower, taller version of the original.  The patron requested that I include some purple peppers, so I stopped in to visit the pepper lady at the Bloomington Farmer’s market on Saturday.  I bought a few purple peppers to get the color right.  A couple of days later I visited Yarns Unlimited and found some Corriedale fleece that was just the perfect match to my peppers.  

Along with the actual artwork, I’ve had several other projects to keep moving forward.  I’ve been creating felted balls in the dryer to use for fruits and vegetables, such as the larger peppers and some lemons that will appear in another piece down the road.  When the weather turned warm and clear, that was my signal to start finishing frames for the pieces.  I need to have the temperature above and the humidity below certain thresholds to stain or paint.  I need to get a bunch of frames painted before the cooler, wetter weather of fall blows in.  

The big family news of the week was the visit of Grandma (Jim’s mom) for the long weekend.  Friday was fall break for the school system and IU, so Grandma stopped by to play with us.  She told us the story of her family having raspberry pie for New Year’s Day with fresh whipped cream when she was a child.  While there are still raspberries around at the farmer’s market, we weren’t there early enough to claim a pie-worthy number.  Luckily, Jim froze a batch for pie filling a few weeks back and he baked one on Sunday morning.  Yum!  We’re going to need to get up early on Saturday and scavenge enough for another wintertime pie.   
Grandma went everywhere we did on the weekend, including out collecting fossils with the family.  Tommie is working on an independent study project for his science class, where he wanted to collect geodes from two locations and compare the crystal structures inside.  Of course it’s just a lot of fun to collect geodes and smash them open, so it doesn’t feel like work.  The report is written and the powerpoint presentation is done, we’re told, with two weeks to spare.  We’ll have to inspect it for grammar and completeness, but I’m delighted that he took the initiative and did it all on his own.   
On the collecting trip, we all climbed down into the river bottoms, including Jim’s mom at (very close to) 80.  She was a trouper, helping to find crinoids and small, opened geodes for Martina as Tommie did his thing.  We fed her a nice fish dinner for her troubles.  In fact, we ate pretty well while she was here!

Last, I wanted to mention a delightful adults-only date I had last Saturday.  Jim and I went to the Uptown for a nice dinner with a bottle of wine.  After the show we walked up Walnut to the Bloomington Playwright’s Project to see "Rx.The staging was really impressive (great job again, Chad!).  Many of the actors were from Ivy Tech, so I even knew some of them.  The best performer was the woman who played the drug company manager.  She truly brought the character to life.  In fact, I’m sure I met her at a scientific conference several years back when I was still a scientist.  The whole evening was delightful.   

The only bad news from the week was the realization that summer is giving way to fall.  My first show comes up on November 9th, which is the Spinner’s and Weaver’s Guild show at the First United Church onThird Street - yup, it's a picture of my piece, Summer Salad in full colour!!  The Déjà vu and Unitarian Universalist Bazaar shows can’t be far behind.  Yikes!  What did happen to summer!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Leaf clumps are old, Swuppets are new...

My art focus last week was on my big commission piece.  For a huge landscape piece with lots of trees I needed to make a mountain of leaf clumps for the tree canopy.  I now have enough to fill a salad bowl! 
 I have been making branches to house the leaf clumps - I've made several to get me started and today I'll start attaching them to their trunks.  I never know how many I will need until I see them attached. Creating the giant trees is becoming less of a design and more of a discovery project, which means I’m readily distracted.  Squirrel!  There!   
Actually, what happened was I stopped in at a local business to ask whether she would be interested in carrying my sweater petals.  She hummed and hawed and asked if I had anything new.  Of course I do, I just haven’t invented it yet!  I’m still going to make sweater petals this year, since this is only the second year I’ve made them and I’m still developing ideas for the pieces.  In other words, I haven’t burned out on making them yet.  Along those same lines, this will likely be my last year to make scarves…    
I had been thinking about kids, and puppets came to mind, so I created Swuppets!  They are puppets made out of upcycled wool sweaters.  The creatures are whimsical, silly monsters.  The boys helped me sketch out some ideas for faces that appealed to them, and I’m having a great time making them. 

My life is never as simple as art projects, and this week was no different.  I wrote a grant for the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) to support advertising for the Fourth Street Art Festival.  Over the past few years we’ve used the monies to support advertising buys in markets well beyond Bloomington.  Our goal is to attract art patrons from markets such as Cincinnati and north of Indy where the drive isn’t excessive, but where people might choose to spend a night in town.  All the stress of gathering data and writing the grant might be one of the reasons I needed to create the Swuppets when I did!  On Friday night my boys passed their red belt test in Taekwondo.  I’m very proud of them all.  They’re talented and cute as bug’s ears.  I continued on my baking binge by making a yeast-raised apple bread and cranberry-orange chocolate chip muffins.  Fall is soup time, so I made Three Sisters soup.  The three sisters are white beans, corn and butternut squash.  The recipe came from a Bloomingfood’s flyer a couple of years ago and has been a staple for winter dinners.  This week I’ll make corn-squash chowder.  Oh, and I wanted to mention that in my travels I dropped off my sweater petals to the new Hidden Closet location, which is now on Kirkwood across from the Buskirk-Chumley theater.  Brynda Forgas is the owner, and now she has a huge space compared to the tiny shop she had in Fountain Square Mall.  I’m delighted for her and wish her well in her new home. 

Until next week…

Martina Celerin