Now that traveling to summer art fairs is behind me and the weather is cooling off, I know it must be fall. The kids are back in school too! My art studio is a much quieter place, which means I can put my full energies into weaving again. Last week I wove and wove and wove on my giant commission piece. I was able to complete the background weaving and crocheting. The flat background that fills the frame came first, after which I released the piece from the loom and stretch it into the frame that Tom Bertolacini built for me. Then I started to build the foreground soil by crocheting forward, building up in layers away from the woven background. I used my yarns in beige, sand and taupe shades to create the path, and I used random greens that I tend not to use as the base for the forest floor. It’s a great way to use up the blue-greens and Christmassy greens that rarely work in my pieces.
They serve as a placeholder yarn that I’ll cover over using my grasses and plant materials. The goal is to create a realistic forest understory adjacent to the path that moves through the trees. When I step back and look at it, I realize that the piece that has consumed an amazing amount of yarn. I’m estimating that I consumed close to a twelve-gallon tub of yarn scraps just to finish the base for the trees. That’s a good thing, because now I can close the lids on my storage tubs and they fit in my wall racks again! To finish the base, I picked out the exact sand, taupe and cream colors I wanted to use for the path and layered them on top of the crocheted yarn. I then needle felted the components together to get the mottled look I wanted. It was very satisfying to see it all completed. With the background in the frame, I moved on to creating the tree trunks and forest canopy. I finished needle felting the free-standing tree trunks, so they’re ready to plant. This week I’ll extend the trees by constructing the branches and launch into making the leaf clumps. After my last round of dyeing, I have plenty of the crunchy greens available to create the leaves. It’s a huge project, but I’m delighted to see it coming together.
My life is never quite as simple as it should be, so lots of other things are going on as I weave. I’m deep in the throes of writing a grant to help support advertising for the Fourth Street Festival. It isn’t glamorous work, but it has to get done before the October first deadline. It helps make the show better by drawing in crowds from accessible markets such as Cincinnatti, so I know it’s worth the effort. On the home front, Jacob is finally emerging from a long and nasty respiratory illness. It’s something like whooping cough, but it didn’t test positive for the actual disease. He sure has the ‘whoop’, though. After three trips to the doctor and a messed-up digestive system from all the antibiotics he’s finally looking like Jacob again. It’s so good to have him back! Friday night turned out to be a big night for the family too. We left the boys to guard the house (OK, to play Minecraft all evening as their treat) while Jim surprised me with an elegant dinner at Finch’s Brasserie. I had the grilled swordfish, which was excellent, and a wonderful calamari appetizer.
Jim planned it so we could have a bottle of wine and walk over to the opera afterward on a pleasant fall evening. We had excellent seats, right down in front with all the long-time subscribers, to see DonGiovanni. I’ve seen it many times, and I really enjoy a lot of the music. Of course the production was excellent, so it turned out to be a wonderful evening. It was a dry walk back to the car, but we missed a torrential downpour while we were watching the statue claim Don Giovanni. The boys were sleeping in bed (for how long I don’t know) when we got home so all turned out perfectly. Saturday brought the farmer’s market, which meant lots more tomatoes for sauces, cucumbers for lunches, raspberries for pies, and hot chocolate (or espresso for me!) along the way. I should also mention that with the cooler weather my enthusiasm for baking came back. I made babovka (a traditional Czech cake), muffins (with healthy stuff packed in) and “co dum da” cookies (which translates into ‘what the house will give’). This week the house gave a few chocolate chips, white chocolate chunks, some peanuts, oatmeal, wheat germ and ground flax seed. Fortunately, the kids only noticed the chocolate. I even made my famous cheese filled slugs on Friday! All that baking took a lot of effort, but I think I inspired Jim to make another raspberry pie. Hooray!
Until next week…