Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Back to the Studio!

I’ve said this before, but it’s been another busy two weeks!  I have three major work fronts that I need to pop in and out of:  finishing commissions, making costumes for Beauty and the Beast, and keeping my family happy.  Of course the family includes me, so making sure more pie appears is a priority. 

On the commission front, two pieces are moving along.  One features a white picket fence with a bicycle propped up against it.  The weather has been very cold, but the warm breaks we had allowed me to bring out Grandpa’s belt sander.  I set up on the veranda with the sun shining and the temperature in the mid-forties and donned my facemask and safety glasses.  I plunked myself into a comfy chair and sanded popsicle sticks to make fence slats, a process I love.  It brings back memories of the time I learned to count.   
My teachers, Mrs. Kirk and Mrs. Logan had bundles of popsicle sticks that were supposedly in bundles of ten, fifty or one hundred sticks.  I was fascinated by the bundle of one hundred because it didn’t look to me like it could have that many sticks.  I started to count it and she gave me the teacher’s “No, no no!  We just pretend there’s one hundred sticks in there”.  I remember my certainty that there couldn’t be one hundred and I was very frustrated that I wasn’t allowed to count them.  It just wasn’t right!  I was a good kid who did what I was told, but as soon as I couldn’t trust that there were one hundred sticks in the ‘hundred’ bundle I started to question how many there really were in the fifty bundle.  Perhaps that’s what turned my life toward science at an early age.   
Anyway, I’m forgetting the commission!  I do love the color, texture and size of popsicle sticks.  As I sat sanding the end of sticks to form a pointy end I counted them and put them into piles of exactly ten or fifty sticks.  And I basked in the satisfaction of knowing how many stick were in each pile!  I made enough for the fence commission but the weather was so nice that I made enough for another commission that won’t be completed until the end of April.  It also features a fence so I bundled a stockpile of forty fence slats.  On my current work Ive glued them into a gate that will open on wire hinges strong enough to bear the weight.  
 It looks like it might be a while until I can get outside again to paint the wood so that part of the project is on hold.  I did finish weaving the background, using my dimensional crochet technique to build forward the foreground.  The weaving is stretched out on its frame so I’m ready to start planting the flowers once the painted fence is attached. 

At Bloomington High School South I’ve had lots of help from the students in the choir programs, both Sounds of South and the mixed choirs.  Together we’ve moved a lot of the costume projects forward.  It’s been amazing and heartwarming to see the enthusiasm of the students.  As soon as they come into the classroom they ask if I have anything for them to do, and my answer is always “of course”!  
 I feel good about introducing many of them to potential life skills, such as seam ripping and sewing on snaps and poppers.  Most have done very little sewing and the outcomes can be unexpected, but it all works out in the end.  The most fun is when I can get a student working on is or her own costume so they can connect with their contribution.   
Nancy and I have been working in parallel cutting and pinning lace, ribbon and trim to what we’re referring to as base costumes.  We have scrounged a lot of outfits that need to be embellished to look like village people from the eighteen hundreds.  We’re just about finished with the women’s racks of clothing.   
The process is thoroughly organized such that a person can pull out a list of things that need to be completed on each remaining costume.  The volunteer then checks off whatever tasks they have completed and returns the costume to the rack.  I’m imagining that the process will take a couple of months to complete.  With Nancy’s keen oversight this should roll right along until it’s done. 

On the home front, Jacob made his first homemade pancakes last Saturday morning, which turned out very nicely.  The dark news:  it’s day 17 and still. no. pie.  I’m holding out on healthy food, espresso and wine, but I not sure if life still has meaning.  I saw what looked like a crust in the refrigerator this morning and a bag of frozen fruit, but then it just sat there.  Cautiously optimistic, I move forward with my life!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

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