Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Foray into Graphic Design

Monday is a big landmark for me.  I’m due to hang my ‘Garden Walk’ collection at the MonroeCounty History Center.  This represents a series of garden-themed pieces I’ve made over the past few months specifically for the show.  I have blogged about most of the pieces over the past few months, but Monday they will all be up for viewing at the venue (202 E. Sixth St.). 

My life took an interesting and productive turn when I mentioned the show debut to Colleen at Wonderlab. I dropped by to re-stock my cards in the gift shop, which is managed by Colleen.  She told me that visitors who see the cards often ask where they can see the art, and that she would love to be able to direct people to the actual pieces.  She asked if I had a rack card for the show—the kind of small promotional card you can pick up for free to help advertise a show.  I’ve never done one, but that only meant I had a new challenge!  They said they would happily distribute rack cards for the show, as did some of my other notecard distributors, so I was off to design a rack card. 

I spent a big chunk of my week, in between completing pieces for the show, coming up with a design I liked for my new and first-ever rack card.  My final design tells you as much about my friends as it does me, because I got a huge amount of help and input along the way.  When I came up with a prototype I showed it to Cappi Phillips, Dawn Adams, and Sarah Pierce and got some very useful advice to create the second version.  I belong to a Facebook group called Art Girls, and they were wonderful at giving me their opinions.  Sometimes you have friends and don’t know what their background is, and I learned that my friend Pat Hecker used to be a graphic designer.  She gave some great advice to help me finalize my design.  The rack card design is complete and off at the printers, and they’ll appear around town as soon as I receive them. 

As I’m writing this, I’m in the final stages of completing my last piece for the Garden Walk show.  I’ll snap a picture before I post the blog so you can see the lilies I’ve been working on.  I encountered a very unusual phenomenon as I was quietly working away in the art studio.  Usually I listen to WFIU but sometimes I like to work with the music off and listening to my own thoughts, and I swear that as I finished the lilies I could smell them!  It freaked me out a little bit.

With all my energies directed toward finishing my garden collection, there hasn’t been time to think about much else.  Time marches on, though, and there are two big events coming up at the end of the month.  The Trashion-Refashion show is always a big event.  Even though I’m not modeling any clothing this year I will have my Re-Shirts there for sale.  The Open Studios Tour was a big hit last year, so I’ll open my home again for the show at the end of April.  I’d like to have a bunch more Re-shirts for each of those two events, so Monday afternoon I’ll pull out my trusty sewing machine and get to making more.  That should be a fun change of pace for a few days.

On a final note—good news!  With only a little prompting, Jim recognized that it was time to bake me another pie.  I went off to a meeting Monday evening and I came home to the delightful aromas of a cherry-strawberry pie sitting on the oven.  The next day, even before I could get a picture, Jim gave Tommie a slice for breakfast.  Apparently Tommie didn’t want to take a piece because he knew it was ‘Mom’s’ pie, but Jim assured him it was OK.  Just as he lifted it out I came downstairs in the morning and they both looked a little worried.  In the end, I got my picture, a slice of delicious pie accompanied by an espresso, and a relieved and happy family!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Trip to Grandma’s

Last week was spring break for the boys and Jim, so the whole crew got out our winter clothes and headed seven hours north to see Grandma.  Along the way I created 32 green leaves that will go into my ‘Old Friends’ piece that features white lilies.  I know a lot of my friends question the wisdom of driving north for spring break, but we have such a wonderful relationship with Grandma.  We hung out, played ping-pong, ate well, and Jim and Tommie even braved the cold and wind to go on a fishing trip.  I’ll just report that the fish we ate all came from the freezer and Meijer’s.  While the trip was restful for everyone, I’m just not good at just sitting around.  I took my needle felting with me and also managed to finish all of the red petals for the tulip piece I’m envisioning for the Garden Walk exhibit.   All the pieces I’m working on are very spring-esque, including the now-finished tulip piece and the lily piece that’s still in progress.  

In Michigan we had lots of family time.  We even introduced Grandma to fondue, which she liked.   When Jim and Tommie went off fishing, Grandma, Jacob and I headed out to check out a stained glass supply store.  I did a lot of poking around to see if there were some interesting bits of glass that might be useful in my fiber pieces.  As I was looking, Jacob came up to me with a new craft he was interested in trying—now he’s making Kumihimo bracelets.   
He started out with dyed hemp cord and has since launched into bracelets featuring more bling-y material we picked up at Jo-Ann’s in Fort Wayne on our drive home.  He’s even hired me to attach the findings when he’s done, and so he’s off on his latest creative venture.   I suspect that if you come to our house for the Open Studio’s tour in late April he will have a display wall set up to vend his creations alongside my art work. 

Now that I’m back in my art studio I’ve been assembling the pieces I’ve made into completed works.  The first is Spring Tulips.  I love the colors in the piece—they’re just so bright and happy.  The piece is an off-the-wall bouquet and is very robust.  Now I’m gradually attaching the main veins to my lily leaves, and then attaching each leaf onto a major stem.   

I have been needle felting the white lily petals that will eventually be assembled into a lily flower.  All the while I’ve been moving mountains—of laundry!  The big piles down by the washer have all been moved through the system and onto hangers or into piles.  Now if I could just get someone to carry them upstairs! 

Finally, Indiana basketball has been a big thing.  They played an exciting game against Michigan to win the Big Ten Conference title (hooray!), and now they’ve won their first game in the NCAA tournament.  It’s all fun.  The flowers are just starting to appear (finally!), which means crocuses, snowdrops and the first daffodils are appearing in the yard and around town.  And since it’s spring, my thoughts are tuning to…  PIE!  Aren’t we due for another pie soon?  I see the bags labeled ‘cherry’ and ‘peach’ in the freezer.  Fingers crossed!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Walking Through Gardens…

I’m really excited about the piece I just finished.  I’m calling it “The Visit,” and it’s another piece in the series I’m creating for the Monroe County History Center’s Garden Walk Show.  I think that it’s a piece that nicely conveys the inspiration for the piece, so I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  I had been thinking a lot about two ideas that fit together in my mind. 
One aspect is the effort to see things that are slightly hidden, obscured by something in the foreground, looking through a mesh or partly closed curtains. My mind’s eye is trying to build a picture of what’s on the other side from the bits and pieces I can see.  The fence blocking the path and some of the flowers captures that essential part of ‘The Visit” for me.  The other aspect is the feeling you get when you visit a friend and leave pieces of yourself outside and step into their world.  

I tried to capture that with the abandoned bicycle at the fence, leading you to the conclusion that you’ve stepped through the gateway and into the yard beyond, something you couldn’t see clearly from outside the fence.  I really enjoy visiting with my friends, both in the physical sense of being with them and because I can step out of my world to get an idea about how they experience life. 

I had two wonderful experiences this week that helped me bring those ideas together.  Early in the week I went with my friend Dawn Adams to the SOFA gallery at IU to see the current BFA show.  It’s a completely different experience from my usual routine, and I learn a lot by paying close attention to the art – what works and what doesn’t.  One of our memorable conversations was about the concept of large areas of open space in artwork, really pushing the amount of negative space in a piece.  I tried to incorporated that concept in ‘The Visit’ through the amount of green space off in the distance and balance it with an abundance of information in the foreground.   
The other terrific experience I had this week was a visit to Jill Bolte-Taylor’s studio.  She invited me to play in her sandbox, working with stained glass, which is a medium I’ve never explored.  Her studio is a welcoming place—it’s well organized and brightly lit and she has power tools!  My standard choice for composition when I’m exploring a new medium is to create a tree.  Jill is going to fuse it for me, but for now it’s already laid out, foil wrapped and ready to assemble.  She’s really an amazing person—caring and generous, and just fun to sit and chitty-chat with.  I’m glad she makes Bloomington her home. 

This week we had what I expect is our last snow day of the year.  I could tell you we had lots of snow, but the reality is that two inches of wet snow closes the schools in Bloomington.  It was very pretty to see.  The wet, sticky snow attached to all the branches and gave a nice patina to my yin-yang piece hanging at the carport.  I made it as an installation piece, where the yin and yang are the arts and sciences.  I thought it was pretty with the branches covered in snow.  I was ready to take it down earlier this year, but now I think it’s OK to stay up a little longer.  And the really big news of the week—I got a raspberry pie!  Jim ‘discovered’  frozen farmer’s market raspberryies he had squirreled away in the freezer and forgot about.  It was under the frozen Girl Scout cookies.  Anyway, the flavor was awesome!  And spring is almost here!  The birds building nests and chirping happily outside, so I know it must be true.

Until next week,

Martina Celerin