Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Time to weave and receive!

 As soon as I completed my final commission piece, I revved up my sewing machine and launched into one last push on Re-Shirts before the Unitarian Universalist Art Fair this past weekend.  I managed to assemble a few more from fabrics I snipped into shape and stored for the occasion.  I wanted to have a nice selection because the Re-Shirts were a big hit at the ‘UU’ show last season.  I even picked up a few shirts I had at 'The Gathering' in town and ended up with sixty-two Re-Shirts.  Just as I was building up artistic steam for the show, a big storm came barreling out of the Midwest.  It dropped ice on us during set-up, then eight inches of snow overnight and through Friday.   
The schools were closed and the town pretty well shut down, but I drove in to meet the enthusiastic crowd of eight or so shoppers that braved the weather.  On the bright side, I had lots of time to needle-felt, talk to my friends and even do some Christmas shopping without any crowds!  Saturday dawned a little cold and crispy, but more people did venture out.  It was good to see some familiar faces that I get to see only once or twice a year and catch up.  The smaller crowds yielded longer and more meaningful conversations, which I liked.   
The good news is that I have plenty of Re-Shirts for the Bloom show in February!  I'm sure I’ll till make a few more, though.  I’ve had several comments or requests for Re-shirts that are a little longer in the front.  I re-designed my tank in all three sizes such that it is about four inches longer both places.  I’ve created the pattern and I’ll try it out before Christmas.  My plan is to give great Aunt Lois the first one in blue, which is her color, so don’t tell her! 

Partly because of the show, I have done a fair amount of needle felting lately.  I finished the lemon and orange rinds for my fruit plate piece.  That reminds me of the story of the piece, which is a nice circle.  My booth at the UU show is next to Abby Gitlitz, the glass artist.  Last year we got to talking about Turkish food.  Abby used to live in Turkey and she speaks the language.  She offered to bring me a recipe for imam bialdi, my favorite dish at Anatolia on Fourth Street in town.  Abby brought me a cookbook that happened to have an image of a bunch of vegetables laid out on a plate as a salad, some assembly required.  That image inspired the “Summer Salad” piece, and now, a year later, “Fruit Plate.”   
I was also reminded that last summer, Marcy Neiditz, ceramicist extraordinaire, gave me a pale green, thick, wool sweater that she shrank.  I’m never sure what I’ll use materials for, but I discovered that the green was just perfect for the inside of kiwis slices!  I added the brown skins onto the kiwi slices during slow times at the show.  I even had time to work on the pink fruit of watermelon triangles.  I previously dyed some fleece with cherry and strawberry kool-aid to get just the right color.  When the show was finally over Saturday afternoon, we packed up in record time and celebrated another successful show in our own special way, with homemade kluski and a warm blackberry pie!  I think there’s still one slice left for tomorrow’s breakfast with coffee.  Now I can focus on the holidays and reclaiming the house.  The power of two boys to reduce order and cleanliness in a house should never be underestimated.  Then I’ll get to move back into my art studio and weave!  I’m so excited!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The holiday season is upon us!

Last week included Thanksgiving, which means travel to Michigan to visit Grandma and her kitties.  I came really close to finishing my latest commission piece just before we left, which made me eager to get back at it when we returned.  I’m delighted to report that the weeping willow is now fully leafed out, finished, and en route to it’s new home.  I love the way the branches drape from the tree.  I see an elegance that reminds me of Rapunzel’s hair.  To finalize the piece I added a special bench with an unusual feature—it gives the patron’s initials and anniversary date carved into one of the bench slats. 
The piece is a gift to commemorate their anniversary, so I wanted it to be special.  I did some practice carving and staining to get it right.  I think I came up with a technique that yields writing that is at once legible and cryptic.  You have to know what you’re looking for to recognize the detail.  The piece is finally complete and I’m delighted with how it turned out. 

Since you asked about Re-Shirts, the number of the week is 32!  That’s how many new shirts I’ve made for the Unitarian Universalist art fair.  I probably could have assembled a few more but I ran out of black bias tape.  I finished snipping off all the little strings and my friend Ruth came through on her generous offer to come by and iron the shirts in advance of the fair.  It’s the last art fair of my holiday season before I burrow into my studio to create pieces for the 2014 summer art fair season.  Next week I will also re-stock my local venues, such as The Gathering, which has Re-Shirts and Lion scarves for sale in the holiday season, and By Hand Gallery, Wonderlab, and BloomingfoodsEast, which have felted scarves, sweater petals and cards.  The all make nice holiday gifts!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we had a delightful visit to Michigan for the holiday.  We visited with Grandma, Lois and family friends the Gibsons and Ms. Millie.  We ate and laughed a lot and just generally hung out.  I’m never good at just sitting still so I did manage to make a nice big bowl of leaf clumps out of the yarn that I dyed last month.  I also came up with an idea for a new piece.  It was inspired by a comment from my patron that I sent the last piece to (Tap Water).  
 She said something about a fruit piece and I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be fun to do a fruit plate similar to my ‘Summer Salad’ piece. In my new vision I want to create clumps of color where similar vegetables are arranged thereby making almost color blocks on the canvas.  I’ve started thinking about and creating lemon slices, orange slices, kiwi slices, blueberries, cherries, apple chunks and watermelon triangles.  
 I’ve already made the lemon slice discs and attached yellow fleece, dyed with turmeric to create the outer edge of the lemon rind.  I’m looking forward to delving into my dandelion-dyed fleece to use as the lemon meat.  I think it will be a fun piece, but don’t ask about cantaloupes because I'm allergic to them. 

Oh, and I did get two small slices of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  It was good, but not enough.  The pie fairy is going to have to hurry to get one in before we get to the special raspberry pie scheduled for Christmas!  Go pie fairy, go!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin