Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mr. Turtle Goes to Indianapolis

I spent last week in serious turtle mode. Where do you find serious turtles? That’s right, I started out at the Monroe County Public Library. I pored over the books with glossy color pictures of Eastern Painted turtles, which I needed to finish my latest weaving (Among the Ferns), but I didn’t meet any really serious turtles. The librarian told me that they’re off at the Library of Congress this time of year. To finish my turtle I needed some specialized fleece, starting with just the right deep olive green. I found some that I bought at the Hoosier Hills Fiber Arts Festival (in Franklin, IN) that worked well. Painted turtles have beautiful, bright red lines, and I matched the color I needed from a lot I picked up at Sheep Street in Morgantown. Last, I needed a natural-looking golden yellow highlight. I was stumped until I remembered my disastrous beet dyeing experience of a few weeks ago (August 15th blog). Who knew that the perfect soft yellow-brown for turtle stripes was in beets, as soon as you got past that deep red color? So this week I poked and poked (and poked) and out popped the turtle. He slipped right into the fern fronds as his new home, but something was missing on the ground. I needed some rocks, and I decided that slag was perfect for the task. Slag is a glassy leftover from the smelting of iron ore, and I picked up mine in Michigan along the Saginaw River. Recycle everything, I say. I’m always delighted when I can take someone’s cast-offs and make something others think is beautiful.

Yesterday the turtle and I headed off to Indianapolis to the Penrod Art Fair. It was a great show—beautiful weather, lots of people, a helpful staff and an elegant garden setting. My booth was set up so the back of the booth was in the shade and the front in the sun, so I get the best of both worlds. The turtle prefers the shade this time of year. A lot of people remembered the frog I had last year and were pleased to meet the turtle (Ms. Frog lives in Wisconsin now). It was nice to meet patrons from previous shows and hear that the pieces they bought are still appreciated. I get pretty attached to my critters and flowers and everything else. It’s good to know they have good homes. Indianapolis shows are also a good chance to catch up with friends and acquaintances that live in that part of Indiana. When the show was over, take down went smoothly this year—no pouring rain, and we got a lot of help from the guys in the golf carts. They zip your stuff to the road when you’re ready to pack up, so we got in and out in just a few minutes when the van got through the queue (definitely not a Czech word—too many vowels). Thanks to all the Penrod Society folks who helped to make it a great show and the IMA for keeping the grounds so beautiful.

Now I just have to figure out what to do this week.

Until next week…

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