This week I made a huge scientific breakthrough by employing my degree in plant sciences. I grafted a blueberry branch onto Bergenia rosettes—hahaha! Just kidding. On my recent long drives (more on that later) I have been needle felting blueberry leaves. When I was settled back into my art studio I finished the blueberry leaf structures. I embellished them with veins and created berry clusters from felt balls that I overdyed with icing colorant gels to get the deep blue.
Yesterday I combined all the leaves and berries onto branches that I made from floral wire wrapped with eight different yarns to match the color of the bark on a blueberry bush. Ta da! The berry branch is done! This just a small piece for a large commission I’m working on that is nearing completion. I promise to post pictures of the composition after the piece is delivered.
In another revealing admission, I do spend a lot of summer hours as a passenger in a car. Most recently I made the trek to Madison, Wisconsin for the Art Fair on the Square. I had a very successful adventure overall. The weather in Madison was cool and comfortable and the people were terrific, as usual. They are an eclectic mix of personalities and I had a lot of rewarding and thoughtful conversations. One of the most satisfying aspects of my career is when I sit on the perch outside my booth and watch people’s faces light up when they first see the art. Their happy responses alone are rewarding. One young couple that has been coming to my booth for three years finally decided to buy a piece—they couldn’t stop talking about a willow piece and had to bring it home with them.
The last time I blogged I described finishing three new pieces. Two of them (Tired Tree and Heirloom Tomatoes) found new homes in in Madison, as did several others. Before we left for Madison I was able to finish two more pieces called ‘Car-nation’ and ‘My Sweet Peas’. 'Car-nation' is a weaving that explores our obsession with cars and the latest shiny thing. I see a lot of old cars, forgotten and rusting as memories, in countryside yards and car part lots. I decided to create a piece that featured all sorts of old car components buried underground and have a beautiful flower emerge from the rust and decay. The carnation works as a flower for me because I’m especially connected to them—my Ph.D. research involved a pathogen of carnations, Microbotryum violaceum. As I weaved and felted, the line from the song American Pie ‘pink carnation and a pickup truck’ kept cycling through my mind. That’s how I knew what color the carnation had to be.
As usual, a highlight of our Madison adventures is the hospitality and surroundings we find in Hollandale, Wisconsin with our friends Wendy and Duane. Not only do they host us, which is wonderful, they make us happy by contributing to the success of the fair—it’s like having family to visit. Wendy baked an amazing chocolate cake for Jacob’s birthday and made a triple batch of pancakes to feed the boys on Sunday morning as I was off setting up with Jim. Duane grilled some wonderful salmon to go with pesto and salad for a celebratory dinner after Saturday’s show. On our last morning there, Jim (my hero) faced mortal danger (OK, he scratched his legs up pretty good) and entered the wild patch to collect enough raspberries for a pie. He and Wendy picked a few red and blackberries on Sunday before the rain set in, and even a few yellow raspberries. I had no idea that yellow raspberries existed! The Sunday berry pick wasn’t even close to enough for a pie, so Jim set off into the wild undergrowth to finish off the picking. It was a wonderfully flavorful pie, but I finished the last slice yesterday along with a nice cup of espresso. Sigh.
Now we’re back home. It’s good to be home. Based on my extensive art studio research, I have concluded that it is blueberry season! Good news, Jim—they come in baskets at the farmer’s market and don’t have thorns!
Until next week, or sometime soon,