I’ll share the fabulous conclusion of this year’s Pippin saga below, but my mind is already re-focused on the first of the holiday shows. The Artisan Guild show at the Convention Center sets up Friday morning. The fiber, glass and clay guilds come together under one roof, and I’m very excited about participating. I’ve been working feverishly at advancing two huge new bodies of work that I’ll show this season. First, I’m pretty excited about the felted tiles I’ve been working on.
The inspiration for the tiles really comes from visiting the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. In my family I’m the really big tomato fan, so fall is the conclusion to my season of my tomato sandwiches. When I arrive at the farmer’s market I casually conduct a surveillance loop around the market to pick out my one perfect tomato for the week. My selection has to big, red, ripe and juicy, but not especially pretty. I love the idea of having one big fat slice of tomato in my sandwich - as thick as the bread slices. The reality of my weekly search explains the inspiration for the new felted pieces. I’m trying to capture the essence of that one, big special thing recognized as essential to your life. For my family, the week the first ripe snap peas appear in boxes on tables is a good example.
At the Farmer’s Market you suddenly see the rich, green color and the memory about how much you love them kicks in. We buy a box and eat them raw at the market. Then we usually buy a couple more boxes and put them in a big bowl at the center of the table to munch on. Taking an important part of your life and framing it for the wall to help you remember it is important to me. Of course as soon as I start making one type of vegetable I’m inspired to begin making another. I have a few big pieces where comfortable combinations of vegetables come together to shape the whole. I also love the idea of being able to piece together a favorite dish by combining tiles. You might create a salsa art piece combining tomato, onion and jalapeno tiles. Or you might think of borscht by mixing beets, onion slices and garlic. The tiles are like a visual recipe. Of course some of the tiles do speak volumes standing alone. There is something seductive about a pile of cherries, which my brain would immediately commit to inclusion in a pie.
My second new body of work is the collection of felted vessels I’ve been making. The genesis of these vessels, along with pictures of my first attempts, are featured in earlier blogs. I now have a collection of felted vessels that I have begun to package to display at the show. It has been a lot of fun to explore how different materials behave and combine to create new surface textures. Merino noils, the very short waste merino I picked up several years ago from Sheep Street felts incredibly quickly, but the short fibers result in a bumpy texture. What I like about the merino is that the finished product is very rigid. The merino top, which is the longest merino fibers, felts quickly but results in a softer vessel. If the vessel were created on a larger scale I can imagine that it might collapse in on itself. I also did some experimenting with some spun horsetail hair. It has a fascinating texture that I incorporated into one of the vessels. The contrast of the coarseness of horsetail hair with the soft, fine merino is striking in both texture and color. I’ve done some additional embellishing on a few of the vessels, adding cute little felted balls to supply even more character and make them more whimsical.
Another chapter of my life closed this week to make room for my holiday art fair season. The final production of Pippin was presented on Saturday night and yesterday morning we did the set teardown. The costumes were divvied up for washing and the parents hauled them away. The armor and the props were collected, organized and put to bed for now. Monday morning it all seemed like a dream. For now, I’m delighted with the amazing number of parents and SOS kids that came together to deconstruct the show—the stage and costume studio were beehives of activity. The entire set was broken down and put away within three hours. Thank you again to Gwen, Chris and Nancy and all of the parents and students that made this an amazing experience. I will forever cherish the memories.
Right now, though, my calendar shows me that I have a workshop in Crawfordsville on Saturday, November 12 to teach about weaving with reclaimed and recycled materials--please do sign up! You may contact Jessica Madsen
for more details.
The workshops will be capped at 10 people, so signing up sooner is
better. At last check we were at
And finally, the last Pippin performance also coincided with the end of the first trimester of high school for Jacob, who came through stressed but successful. Tommie is on autopilot, carving through his curriculum as junior. Coming up sometime in the near future will be a second degree black belt test for the two boys, who have just about completed their weapons training for their cross-training requirement. We’ve managed to stay on track with Taekwondo training, voice lessons and hip-hop dance training, but we’re now transitioning into the late fall schedule of boy activities. This week Jacob and I are looking forward to seeing Sweeney Todd at Ivy Tech, while Tommie and I are excited to be at the home opener for IU men's basketball. Basically, we just buckling our seat belts until Thanksgiving vacation, because it will be a crazy, busy ride with lots of laughs and pie along the way. Oh, and Jim tried to hide it between loaves of bread, but an apple pie emerged from the oven yesterday morning while I was away breaking down the show! Best.dessert.this.week!!
Until next week