This week I spent time in my studio working on my next commissioned piece. After the long, wonderfully busy summer, I needed to take myself back to the beginning of the summer. We spent two weeks on the beach in North Carolina looking at water and blue skies, and I’m delighted to report that the background of my commission captures those elements. The foreground will feature a willow with its long branches swaying over the water. I have started working on the tree as a traveling project to poke at while I wait for the boys at their activities. I have been using army blankets to create the inside of the tree trunk and I still have one more blanket piece left. Those of you who are regular blog readers will recall that I began using army blankets when Grandma gave me Grandpa’s old army blanket.
She didn’t know what to do with it and didn’t want to throw it away. I discovered that it was perfect for the core of trees I make. It’s basically a felted, solid wool base that I can build on to form the trunk. Over the surface I needle felted fleece that came to me by chance from a young woman raising Shetland sheep. She approached me at Fourth Street a few years ago and I bought some fleece from her and I’m just now using up the last of it. It’s the perfect color for willow bark.
The Fourth Street Festival, my next big event, is rapidly approaching. The image that I've posted is of this year's T-shirt design - a tribute to Jerry Farnsworth and his amazing kaleidoscopes. Coordinating all the small tasks and making sure they’re completed commands a lot of my attention these days, but only for another month. I made the difficult decision in late spring to step down as president of the Fourth Street festival committee. I’ve been with the group for over twelve years, and I’ve learned an enormous amount from them.
I’m grateful for the experience and the friendships I’ve made. Still, it’s time to move on after this fortieth anniversary art fair. I’m excited about all of the artists that will participate this year—120 come from all over the U.S. to descend on the art-loving community of Bloomington. I’m very proud to be associated with the event that is such an integral part of the Bloomington arts scene. I do need to keep my nose to the grindstone and create a few new pieces for the Labor Day event. I have had a very successful summer art fair season already, which means that I will need more work to fill my booth with a fresh display of my pieces.
On the family front we are approaching the beginning of the school year. Wednesday will find both of my boys in high school! Amazing! I will have to split my time between my studio and the costume studio at Bloomington High School South to complete thecostumes for Pippin. One of the last elements of costume design that I’m contemplating is providing headdresses for circus performers. I found a used copy of the “The American Circus: An Illustrated History” online and it has plenty of inspiration.
Yesterday morning Jim and Tommie went off fishing and Jacob and I headed for the farmer’s market. We slept in a little longer than the fishermen and we found the market packed and rocking—it was full of people! We scampered around to get the produce we wanted. We got watermelon, corn, cucumbers, basil, plums and peaches. We dropped our treasures off at the car and sauntered back to get delightful dainties from Maria at Piccoli Dolci. Jacob and I relaxed on the grass and watched the world go by on a pleasant Saturday morning.
Oh, and the best news of the week! All is right with the world. I found a warm peach pie after the last market that went delightfully well with decaf espresso in the morning for breakfast. If that weren’t enough, Gwen Witten dropped off a warm Derby Pie yesterday evening for dessert! It was AMAZING!! Life is very good.
Until next week,