Monday, November 18, 2013

As American as Re-Shirts and Apple Pie

It is delightful to be back on schedule with a weekly blog—things have settled down to the usual weekly hectic pace.  I have been working on my next commission piece and I now have the background woven.  By the end of today I should have the piece stretched out in its frame.  My next step is to do the dimensional crochet to build the grassy shoreline forward such that there is a place to plant the willow tree and the bench that are the focal points of the piece. 

I love to weave, so that’s taken up a lot of time, but I’ve had to split my time between weaving and making more Re-Shirts.  Last week I cut out the pattern for 48 new Re-shirts!  I focused the fall/winter colors that are strong and bold.  I tried to avoid pastel colors, but a few fabrics just demanded to be used.  I am planning to do the Bloom showcase in February, so those colors might be more appropriate as spring approaches.  It was a lot of fun breaking open the boxes of fabrics I’ve been collecting over the past several months.  
 It’s a lot like opening Christmas presents with all the colors and textures.  I then get to piece them together to see who works with whom.  I began with eight bins of fabrics that have had a previous life and now I’m down to four.  So many of the fabrics have history, such as the Re-Shirt I made from Rosemary P. Miller’s curtains.  I even cut up my first official art fair dress, which was made of flax.  The back-story here is that I always have a collection of four or five nice dresses that I wear at shows.  The lower parts of dresses are usually in really good shape as the tops wear out, so I want them to live in a Re-Shirt.  I even have some shirts that Tommie has outgrown and should be hand-me-downs, but the colors and patterns don’t match Jacob’s aesthetic.  And of course I’m permitted to remove shirts from Jacob’s wardrobe that no longer match his vision of style. 

To keep myself fit I’ve been doing Bollywood, Zumba and Dance fit more regularly these days.  Yesterday morning I was even part of IU’s Dance Marathon as a back-up dancer in Darrelyn’s Zumba troop.  Our goal was to pump up the crowd of over three thousand IU students with some energetic music and dance.  They were thirty hours into the marathon at 5:30 in the morning when we started.  It was a lot of fun, although I realized I was the oldest person in the whole room.  What I lack in youth I make up for in enthusiasm!  The marathon was held in the indoor tennis facility to make room for all the students and dancers.

On Friday night, Tommie and I went to IU’s basketball game.  It was a lot of fun, whooping and hollering and cheering.  We even did the IU chop (on cue, of course).  On the way out we spoke French as we walked to our meet-up point with Jim and Jacob.  They went to see Ender’s Game, and they came to pick us up.  I think they liked the movie.   

With the balmy weather we’ve had this week I was able to sand and paint four more frames for this winter’s weaving projects.  That brings my total of finished frames to 24.  The warm weather will pass with the spate of thunderstorms and sporadic tornadoes that passed us by yesterday afternoon.   
Oh, and good news!   
A fresh apple pie appeared early this week!  I still have one slice left to have with coffee to start my Monday morning, so life is good. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Great holiday art fairs, but no pies.

When the weather turns cold I start thinking about the Bloomington holiday art fair season.  It has been a full couple of weeks as I prepared for the Fiber Arts Show held over the past weekend.  The Spinners and Weavers Guild puts it on, and this year we had a record turnout.  I heard that the concurrent Clay and Glass shows that are also held in churches along Third Street were packed as well.  I brought forty-five of my new Re-shirts to the show and came home with less than twenty.  With the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Holiday Art show coming up in early December, and Talia's "Gathering" pop-up store opening in Fountain Square Mall later this month I have to get busy again!  With the weekend behind me I took over the dining room, pushing the table out of the way to make the floor into my palette.  The boys will just have to find somewhere else to eat for a few days!

My Re-Shirts are my project to give a second life to great fabrics trapped in old garments.  I collect and cut up shirts, skirts, dresses, curtains, and any interesting materials I can get my hands on.  Sometimes I include a fabric panel "chest plate" I created by block printing.  Over the summer, in anticipation of this season, I made my own blocks and created some prints to which I’m partial.  I also experimented with a cross-section of a Nautilus shell and used that as a ‘block’ to print.  The result isn’t as bold as I intended, but the pattern has a delicate quality and lots of detail that I find appealing.  I’m planning to incorporate it as a centerpiece in some of the new shirts for the UU show. 

Weaving hasn’t been a mainstay of my efforts lately, but I did finish one of my commission pieces, a version of Tap Water.  I excitedly finished the piece and packed it up into a big box to ship today.  And now I’m launching full force on my next commission piece, which will be similar to my recent ‘Sitting with Grandpa’.  It will feature a park bench overlooking a pond, but this one will have a secret message carved into the bench to celebrate the couple’s anniversary. 

My family life has been packed, as usual.  Jacob has been practicing with his Hip Hop group at the Panache dance studio.  With extra practices in the evening to tighten things up, along with Tommie’s Science Olympiad and Jacob’s assistant teaching at Monroe County Martial Arts, we were a bit oversubscribed.  Last Friday night was the showcase and Jacob did a fabulous job with his two pieces.  I think he also had a great time dancing with his friends, so this might become one of his regular activities.  Panache is such a great studio, filled with enthusiastic and supportive people. 

  And as for the report from the kitchen - lots of baking has been happening in the house, with bread, muffins, but no pie.  I used up all the summer apples from Grandma’s house that we had frozen in July.  I incorporated the rind of three oranges into a nice recipe I found that uses whole wheat flour and lots of cut oats.  I made variations with cranberries and just got the OK from Jacob to include toasted pecans.  Hmm, did I say that there was no pie over the last TWO weeks?  Even though I called on the Pie Fairy in my last blog?  I am not amused. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin