The story of my winter has been creating commissioned pieces. The next in line features a bicycle propped up against a fence in front of a flower garden. Last week I completed the fence and this week I finished the bicycle and painted the fence! Painting is exciting in the winter because it means we finally had a brief window above fifty degrees that allowed me to coat my popsicle sticks. I was delighted to get that done because the forecast for the next ten days is for miserably cold winter weather with ice pellets mixed in for good measure. On the bike itself, I always feel a little extra pressure to get the shape and proportions of the bicycle just right.
I showed the very first bicycle I made to Jeanne Smith, the owner of Bikesmiths in town. I’m sure she tried to not to hurt my feelings as she gently critiqued the angles and proportions of my bike. Ever since I have tried hard to treat my bikes like my biological organisms and get the details just right. This was also my first red bicycle, which is what the commissioner wanted. I’m delighted to be pushed out of my black bicycle norm. I guess I flash back to the bicycles in Amsterdam from my visit twenty years ago—I remember the bikes were always painted black. I discovered that red just makes me feel cheerful and happy and I really like it. I promised to have this commission to the owner by mid-March and I feel like I'm on track for that deadline.
The next commission I promised to deliver by the end of March, so I’m feeling a little pressure to keep moving on that piece as well. The piece features a forest path with two dogs waiting for their keepers in the foreground. I’m very pleased with how the sketch turned out and I’m looking forward to creating the piece, which features a lot of trees. That means that where ever I have gone I’ve been needle felting tree trunks. Or unicorn horns, or whatever people see when they view the unfinished trunks as I poke away to shape them.
Oh, and when the warmer spell hit I also took that opportunity to do some more dyeing, because my stores of green yarns were seriously dwindling. From the sketch you can see that various shades of greens are essential to the composition. I got a great start on weaving the background yesterday afternoon when we had a snow day for the local school system.
That gave me time and space to work in the art studio as the boys entertained themselves upstairs in the afternoon. The morning was filled with boy-made pancakes, Apples to Apples, and the movie ‘The Boxtrolls”. Then the boys invented a game that involved rubber balls, metal bowls, rubber bands and doing push-ups. That’s all I need to know! It gave me several uninterrupted hours with my loom, space heater and classical music as they played upstairs. They even transitioned into making dinner for the family.
That turned out to be artisan macaroni and cheese by Jacob and three different versions of blizzard cake balls by Tommie. The evening ended with a fire in the fireplace and a delightful glass of wine. Hooray! I hope I can be as successful today with a second snow day.
On the family front, the big news is that both boys won gold medals at the ISSMA (Indiana State School Music Association) vocal competition. I’m so proud of them! An apple pie did appear just after I wrote the last blog, which means it’s been gone for over a week.
Fortunately the espresso has been available each morning, which pairs nicely with the ‘Oblivion’ cake from the Bakehouse. That’s a flourless chocolate cake with a wonderful chocolate ganache layer on top. We had a guest over for dinner and didn’t have time to bake anything ourselves. The Bakehouse only had large cakes left when I got there in the afternoon, but that turned into a positive because the cake is awesome and I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast. I think I have my new favorite local cake from a bakery since the departure of Angel B’s! I’m thinking it will last until Wednesday, at which time I’ll be ready to switch back to pie again. Maybe a midwinter cherry pie?
Until next week,