I’m back in my art studio working on several projects. I have several commissioned pieces in various stages of completion, due early this spring, and I’m trying to keep them moving along. The first features a bicycle propped up against a fence. I wove the background and stretched it out in its frame. I’m now building forward the flower garden and path area that projects into the viewer’s space. I am also in the early stages of a second commission that is still mostly a vision in my head. I know it will require tree trunks, so those are underway. I suspect the composition will feature a forest path with two dogs sitting patiently, waiting for their owners to catch up.
I completed some sketches to share my vision, but I need to have the layout approved by the commissioner. Now that I’m weaving and creating again, it feels great to be back working with my hands using materials that are familiar. It was a lot of fun playing with new materials in the Bahamas, but fiber art is my life and livelihood.
I have also made some major strides forward on my other big project. I’m working on sculptural costume design for the Sounds of South production of Beauty and the Beast, to be performed this October. My first completed piece is ‘Chip’, a sweet little cup with a small crack and the son of Mrs. Potts.
She’s always ready with a cup of tea for anyone willing to brave the castle grounds. Mrs. Potts is next on my plate (actually, I have to make the plates too!). I have a delightful sketch for her and I have assembled her skeleton from donated, water sport hula hoops (I found that out directly!) and plastic tubing recycled from the former home of World Wide Automotive. I will coat the hoop skeleton with ½” thick soft foam, then used and washed white felt (retired from Twisted Limb Paperworks) and then yellow fabric (scrounged from a thrift shop), green stripes and purple flowers that match Chip.
The stripes will be easy because years ago I ordered ribbon that I thought would be perfect for an unrelated project. It wasn’t. On the bright side, I got a great deal for the ribbon on e-bay. After eight years of storage I have finally found the right application for the green ribbon. The flowers on both Chip and Mrs. Potts are made of the same purple felt (from the Materials for the Arts at the Recycle Center) so they match each other. I made a pattern for the flowers and handed it off to one of the Moms of the SOS group and she cut out all sixty-four flowers I needed! I love having the support to bring my visions to life!Her spout is in progress—I have now fitted the prototype onto the girls who will portray her. The base is made of one inch thick couch cushion foam which I will up holster with yellow fabric. It will be removable and attachable to the body of the teapot via Velcro. Overall, I’m having a lot of fun with the design elements here—Chip is built from a laundry basket and a pool noodle, but you’d never know from the costume. My younger son Jacob is modeling the costume in the picture above.
I also had a wonderful adventure to West Lafayette Indiana with three other SOS moms this week. The costume creating committee embarked on a hilarious adventure to see the Disney stage version of Beauty and the Beast to get ideas. On the drive up we stopped at several thrift shops and scrounged for costume and prop parts. We started off early in the morning, stopped anyplace along the way that might have clothing or prop treasures, and attended the evening production. It turned out to be very educational for our planning. I got a great hint for creating Lumiere’s torches without using an actual flame and an idea for the beast’s jacket and cloak.
I was less keen on the napkins and utensils that were part of the big dance number. It reinforced for me how happy I am with my designs. There are a large number of costumes to create for all the villagers, utensils and characters, but they are also coming along swimmingly. I’ve completed the sketches and a prototype for the top half of the napkins and passed along a takeaway project to another mom to sew both top and bottom pleated napkin parts. That’s basically how I’m hoping this will work—if I create the design and bring the materials and instructions together, one of the SOS parents can take over finalizing the actual costume completion.
I have to give a big thanks to Nancy Riggert in this process, who has been an enthusiastic partner and a fountain of knowledge about how to get things done. Her energy and effectiveness give me confidence that this whole project will actually come together on schedule.
Good news! There was a pie last weekend. Jim made a beautiful blueberry pie from farmer’s market berries. There was something subtle and special about the fruit in this one—it had a hint of black current flavor in the filling of summer blueberries.
I even think it was his best blueberry pie yet. And I’m not just saying that because I know there are two more bags of blueberries in the freezer!
Until next week,