Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday week: Art takes a back seat to family and food.

The week has been packed fuller than Santa’s sleigh. I’ll try to hit the highlights, but so much is happening that it’s hard to stop and write much. The biggest news is that the house filled up. Vojta came last week from the Czech Republic via Los Angeles where he’s learning English in a Kaplan school. Grandma and Aunt Lois came on Wednesday in time for dinner, so people are now sleeping on all three levels of the house. That means lots of baking, cooking, eating and generally enjoying each other’s company. I finished my two varieties of stollen for Christmas breakfast, which is traditional. Jim suggested that we try to spread out eating some of the goodies, so we cut one loaf for Christmas Eve breakfast and one for Christmas morning. Brilliant! With all the other goodies, including rumballs, ice cream, and brownies, we’re on holiday eating overload. Thank goodness for Zumba on Monday!

Even with all the family events, my art projects are slowly advancing. I have a commission to make five ornaments, and I’ve managed to finish three of the bases. For my two large commission pieces, I made all the beet root parts and I’m working through a second large carrot. I expect to see giant rabbits peering in through the windows any time now. I packed away all my scarves for the year and transformed my art studio into a bedroom for Aunt Lois. All my art toys, such as looms and tools, are hidden behind a blue curtain…nothing to see here! If I wake up in the middle of the night and listen carefully, though, I can hear them calling to me. Next week will bring a major house clean-up and art studio reclamation project before I launch back into work full time.

Everything else in my life is kind of a blur. Let’s see. We had a big snowfall, and grandma went out and shoveled the sidewalk, driveway and path to the house. If the grass were showing she’d be trying to cut that, too. I had a great Skype conversation with a subset of my family in the Czech Republic. It was good to see their faces and talk as if there were no distance between us. I remember wanting to call my grandmother in Prague, but at two dollars a minute my father wouldn’t let me. It seems like that wasn’t so long ago, back in the late seventies. Thursday we went to the Cardinal Stage Company’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’, by Dickens. That was truly amazing. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it for different reasons. Grandma was touched by the songs, saying it brought back wonderful memories. Lois popped up and gave them a standing ovation at the end. Vojta thought the English accents were amusing. I just love going to the theatre, where I can be transported to a different world. We’re very fortunate in Bloomington to have vibrant theatre groups with high caliber actors. A big cheer and thanks to them!

Christmas dinner was salmon, scalloped potatoes, broccoli and Lois’ famous cranberry salad. Everyone was so full we opted to skip the chocolate pecan pie. That will be dessert for lunch today, after a modest bowl of soup. The boys stayed in their jammies until dinner, building their Legos and Megablock construction projects. They did take a break for lunch and about an hour off for playing with remote-controlled cars. They basically kept themselves busy all day so the grown-ups could have pleasant conversation. My big score at Christmas was a tool kit from Vojta—it’s as though he knows me! I think it’s going to become my art fair traveling toolkit. As well as a lovely bottle of Amarone from my be saved for a nice, quiet evening.

It’s just been a wonderful holiday week for us, and I hope you and your family have found some holiday cheer with your family.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santa makes her deliveries!

My art season ran long last week as I finished up all the scarf commissions I had accumulated from late season art shows. I made quite a few red and purple scarves with black ruffled edges, depleting the southern Indiana stocks of merino in those colors in the process. I felt like the UPS delivery person at Christmas, calling up patrons and arranging for drop-offs. This picture may look like me rollerskating with my family, but I’m sure I was just out on a scarf delivery mission. One person was so delighted when she saw the scarf that it ceased to be a Christmas present for her granddaughter. Another friend picked out a scarf and sent her husband to buy it for her as a Christmas present. He said he’d grown tired of getting a blank look when his wife opened his presents, and he knew this was going to be a success.

I made some giant strides forward on my huge commission piece. It’s a five by 2-and-a-half foot weaving, so this week I hand-made a five by three foot loom. I was just about to hammer in all the nails needed to warp the piece, but then I heard the voice of my sweet husband in my ear: “Drill pilot holes! You’ll be happier if you do!” So I did! All the nails went in nice and straight, just like a row of carrots coming up. With a nail every quarter of an inch, well, you do the math—that’s a lot of holes and nails. But I was glad I did it. And I’m not just saying that so he’ll make me coffee and pie! I then warped the loom and it’s ready to receive the weft. After a quick trip out to Sheep Street to pick up all the dirt brown yarns I could find I feel ready to launch on the weaving. I also picked up all the merino roving I could for scarves next year (be prepared, I say). Oh, and I found some really amazing spun silk, which is the waste from weaving Saris. I’ve seen various examples in different yarn shops, but this was so stunning I couldn’t possibly leave it. I ended up buying a couple of skeins. This too will go into scarves next season.

With the holiday season comes family, and that’s a good thing. The first visit started earlier than I would have chosen, when my thoughtful Czech cousin arranged for a 5 a.m. flight to bring her son into Indianapolis. He’s learning English in Los Angeles, and he’ll spend a couple of weeks with us. I consider this his ‘polishing’ phase, where he learns real Midwestern axioms and pronunciation. Actually, I was really delighted to pick up Vojta and bring him home, even if I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. On the bright side, when I got home there was warm blueberry pie and a batch of homemade Kluski ready for dinner that night. And an espresso! The boys were delighted to meet Vojta and show him around the house. The next day he pushed them around in the shopping cart at the grocery store. They had so much fun I couldn’t tell who was the bigger kid. And...if that wasn't enough, my rusty Czech is getting a welcome workout.

The rest of the news is all about getting ready for the holidays. I’m making marzipan for my holiday Stollen. I’m taking over a tradition from Jim’s grandmother, who bought Stollen from the local grocery store for Christmas morning breakfast. I thought that was just the place to buy into a family institution, but of course I had to make my own. Mine is full of dried currants, dried cherries, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, rum, butter, lots of sugar, and it’s all baked into a yeast-risen dough and covered with buttery icing. Yum! More preparations are underway to prepare the house for Grandma and Aunt Lois’ arrival on Wednesday. I’m converting the art studio into a bedroom for Lois, and I’ve got to turn the jungle room into an extra guest bedroom. A full house at the holidays is a very good thing, though. This is especially true if there are good things to eat and lots of laughter. I’ll do my part!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Monday, December 13, 2010

‘Tis the Season!

I just don’t know which one it is yet! I concluded my fall art fair season this week by throwing myself into wet felting. I finished all six scarf commissions (and one very elegant black shawl) this week. At that point I declared it the holiday season! Things slow down a bit in my art studio, except for wrapping presents. I did manage to make a big carrot and another beet for my giant commission piece, so I felt good about that. This is a project I’ll keep moving forward as I sit in meetings and waiting for the boys at taekwondo. Plus I’ve been buying up all the chocolate-y earth tone yarns I can find on my shopping adventures. Between presents and work I’m a one-woman economic stimulator.

Toward the end of the week I had a nice interview with Lee Hadley. He writes a weekly column for the Bloomington Herald Times and now the accompanying H & L (Home and Living) magazine. He’s also a TKD parent, so I see him regularly. I do so much poking at critters, hands and vegetables that I’m bound to draw attention. He came to interview and we ended up having a delightful conversation. We both came away absolutely certain that we couldn’t live anywhere except Bloomington, Indiana. It’s such a wonderful town. Bloomingtonians are so supportive of creative people and the arts. It’s an open-minded and nurturing community of people and I just feel so at home here. The interview gave me a chance to reflect on how far I’ve come over the years as an artist. I’m still experimenting with new ideas, processes and directions for my career, but my confidence in being able to turn what I visualize into art has never been stronger.

The Christmas season marks the beginning of an important family time for us as well. The official kick-off is December 11th, Jim’s birthday. It’s also our day to get a Christmas tree, but I’ll come to that event in turn. The first thing Saturday I baked a flourless chocolate cake while the boys were off at TKD. They did the class and sparring sessions, so I had plenty of time to create a chocophile’s delight. Fortunately, Jim-the-chocophile also got a delivery of brownies from his mom the night before, but unfortunately he overdosed a little. He shared them with the family, but I think he must have snuck a bonus piece or two... After pizza and cake for lunch, we all went roller skating. Jacob was eager to go again after learning how last week. He took his share of spills and bumps, but now he zips around the track like a pro. I haven’t been skating since I was a teenager, but it’s just like riding a bike. After a few loops I was having a great time, dancing with Jacob to the music as we skated in the flashing lights of the disco ball. Suddenly I had big blonde hair again! Tommie and Jim were out for their first try at roller skating. Fortunately, Tommie is made of rubber. He started out creeping along the rails and taking quite a few falls. If there’s a word that described him yesterday, though, it was determination. After three hours he was skating the entire loop without falling. Jim picked it up pretty fast, I’m sure because he did plenty of ice skating as a Michigan kid. He did take a nasty fall when he was helping Tommie. And so with his pre-injured shoulder, birthday tummy rumblings and badly bruised hip, he looked a little sad in the rain as we went to get our Christmas tree. Luckily, the boys and I were eager and enthusiastic, and so we took over and brought home a nice tree. Yesterday we trimmed it, put up some decorations outside, and got a load of candy to decorate the traditional candy house. We were settled in before the big snow hit us. On top of everything else I managed to make a huge pot of pumpkin-red pepper soup to keep us going through the winter. On to Christmas!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Winter!

My big achievement for the week was finishing my “Baby Carrots” commission piece. I’m delighted to have them off to their new home. I wanted to have it completed before the Unitarian Universalist Art Fair this weekend, and fortunately everything came together for me. The ‘UU’ show marks the end of my art fair season. It’s also a really fun time for me because so many of my Fourth Street Festival friends also do the show. When the times are quiet we chitty-chatty, laugh a lot and catch up on each other’s lives. The weather cooperated on that front on Friday, and then Saturday the weather created a fine holiday atmosphere by giving us four inches of fresh snow. It was great for the boys, who spent the day making snow forts, snowmen and other snow-based stuff. But back to the show—there was good news and bad news. The good news was that on Friday the show was packed with people who must have known the weather forecast, the bad news was that the crowds seemed to be down a little on Saturday, perhaps due to the snow. But, the good news was that for both days they were in the mood to buy scarves. And boy did I have the scarves! I had been felting like a fiend when I had free time all through the late fall, replacing the pieces I sold at other shows. As a bonus, I got ten unsold scarves back from the Holly Market in Michigan. I thought that meant I was prepared for the show this weekend. Wrong! I sold 21 scarves, which was most of my inventory, plus six new commission pieces. Black ruffled edges on red and purple merino was hot this season—I’d better alert Heidi Klum. The only scarves that didn’t sell well were the ones I created in autumn colors for earlier shows. Now I’m secretly looking forward to seeing someone wearing one of my scarves around town to complete the circle!

The end of my holiday art season also means I’m ready to burrow into my art studio for the winter and weave. I have my silent space heater and a hallway full of unsorted yarns so I’m ready! The best news, though, is that I have a big commission for two giant weavings and I’m excited to get started. They’re each five by two and a half feet. I’ll have to get my frame maker, Tom Bertolacinni busy making frames for me. I’ve done the sketches and consulted with my patrons, and one of the piece designs has been approved. The first piece will be a cross section through the soil showing carrots, beets and onions. There’s also a hand harvesting one of the carrots, so I’ll have to pay my hand model overtime (luckily it’s me!). The composition is a riff on pieces that I’ve made in the past, although the large size and diversity of content makes it a new challenge. I started by felting the first big beet at the ‘UU’ show during the two o’clock lull. Beets are kind of a conundrum for me—I love how they look, I love the color and texture, and I love dyeing with them, but I just don’t enjoy eating them. I’ve tried all the ways I can find to cook them but it just doesn’t help. By the time I got started on a big carrot for the piece I was starting to feel a little like Alice in Wonderland. I couldn’t tell if the veggies were getting bigger or I was getting smaller.

The end of another successful art fair was marked by a celebratory dinner—I’m very fortunate to be appreciated by my family. Jim made a ginger and balsamic vinegar glaze in an orange reduction to put on fresh steelhead trout. I made a stir-fry of local snow peas (thanks, Bloomingfoods!) and sliced, toasted almonds that was crunchy and fresh tasting. I just love how the peas turn a rich, bright green as you start to stir-fry them. Add a nice bottle of Ripasso and top it off with Lindt black currant chocolate and you have a fine end to a successful art fair season! The only thing that was missing was a pie!

Maybe next week…

Martina Celerin

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving means family, food and travel. Before I got into the full spirit of the weekend holiday, though, I still managed to move some projects forward. I finished most of the carrot tops for my ‘Baby Carrots’ piece. I still need to finish one carrot top and needle felt the little babies onto the background. And dig up a few treasures for the soil—perhaps a rock or some slag and a rusty nail. Just the kind of stuff you dig up when planting veggie seeds in the garden bed. When I re-launch my art career tomorrow, after unpacking suitcases and getting laundry going, I’m also going to start on a black ruffled merino shawl that I was commissioned to create. I just got a big shipment of merino wool from Oregon, and I had already purchased all the black merino within a fifty-mile drive of home. My plan is to use the wet-felting strategy I developed for my ruffled scarves and create a larger triangular shawl.

This year for Thanksgiving we drove to see Grandma in Michigan. We started off from school Tuesday after lunch and drove like the wind. The whole family was mesmerized by a book on tape: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Tommie and Jim have read the whole series, but Jacob and I were hearing it for the first time. We both guessed who the traitor was, and what parts of the prophecy meant as the book went along. Even better, we were able to drive without stopping until dinner around five. We then embraced Kawkawlin with hugs all around with Grandma and Uncle Tim. He arrived from New Mexico earlier in the week and had some alone time with Grandma before we descended on the scene. For Thanksgiving dinner, Aunt Lois drove in from Essexville and the Gibsons from next door joined us. They brought their friend Millie. Everybody contributed to the dinner, which was fun. The Gibsons brought turkey, stuffing and gravy, Millie brought scalloped potatoes, Tim made a potato and bean stir-fry dish, Jim made salmon and Aunt Lois brought cranberry salad and mom made squash. She also arranged the table and made the place look special. I was in charge of cutting bread, arranging the relish tray and keeping wine glasses full. An important task! Everything came together beautifully. Everyone had all they could eat and then we finished off the feast with pumpkin pie and ice cream. We even opened a fifteen year old bottle of Muscat as a dessert wine that we have been saving since before we were married. The dinner, like most of the weekend, was just lots of chillin’, hanging around and chitty-chatting with family and friends. It was all very nice. We got to do a little secret Christmas shopping, and I even got a stylish winter jacket from Mom that I get to wear now, but promise to keep clean until Christmas and put under the tree. The highlight for the boys was when Ben and Kathey Gibson, took them to the airport. Ben flies a jet in his semi-retirement, and he took the boys for a tour of the plane. They got to sit in the cockpit, learn about engines and flying, and even had a brownie sundae at the airport. Does life get any better than that? When they came home they were just bubbling over about their adventure and showed us all the pictures and movies they took. Today we got an early start and sped straight home in time for welcome-home Kluski dinner! As soon as I get this written it’s sure to be bedtime. Tomorrow it’s back to work and a chance to reflect on the weekend.

And now back to art... this weekend is the Holiday Art Fair at the Unitarian Universalist Church (Fee Lane and the bypass, here in Bloomington) on Friday 10 am - 7 pm and Saturday 9 am - 5 pm. Hope to see you there!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baby Carrots Find a Home

My maternal instinct kicked in this week. I wanted to finish the background for the ‘Baby Carrots’ commissioned piece I’ve been working on so my little friends could have a home. Not only did I finish the weaving, I even stretched it out and stitched it on the frame. After the frantic scarf-making and shows over the last few weeks I decided this was just the right thing to do—get in my art studio and weave! Now I just need to create the carrot tops. The cold weather is upon us, and babies lose most of their heat through their heads, you know. Oh, and I also cleaned up the back of the weaving. That process always brings back warm memories for me. My grandmother always said that a piece of art should look as good from the back as it does from the front. I’ve kept that idea to myself for years. When I first started having my work photographed by Tom Bertolacini, though, I had to laugh out loud at his first effort. He actually photographed the back of one of my abstract pieces, thinking it was the front! In his defense he said that it looked good—how could I be upset?

The events from last weekend spilled over into this week in some unexpected and funny ways. At the Fiber Arts Show I met a delightful woman, originally from Argentina, who was very kind and complimentary toward my work. She asked me if I taught what I do, and I said I really didn’t. I basked in the glow of many similar kindnesses from last weekend as I prepared to do a long-planned workshop in Danville, Indiana. Anyway, I had a beautiful drive through rural Indiana along highway 39. Full disclosure—it isn’t much of a highway. It has wonderful switchbacks through southern Indiana limestone country and lots of cornfields farther north at the southern end of the glacier track. The towns were tiny and quaint and a lot of the barns were leaning to embrace mother earth. I was richly and repeatedly reminded that Bloomington, my little oasis, does not represent Indiana. When I arrived at the highschool in Danville I was greeted by an enthusiastic bunch of people, including—you guessed it—my new friend from Argentina. It turns out she’s a teacher at the school. We laughed and laughed, and I guess I was busted for saying I didn’t teach my craft. The group was delightful and we had fun creating needle felted ornaments. This was actually a repeat visit for me, and Tiffany (the organizer) and her friend (another workshop repeater) had created some truly beautiful patterns on their ornaments. I’m scheduled to go back in the spring to run yet another workshop on whimsical felted turtles. That should be a lot of fun!

This week some of my summer veggies showed their displeasure with being ignored over the summer. In the bottom of the crisper I found half a cabbage from July and couple of old squash that were starting to get a little moldy. I just handed the whole drawer to my husband Jim for a trip to the compost pile. I did feel a little badly about my best-laid (but failed) plans to cook with the squash into soup. To atone for my errant ways, I whipped up some ‘Lois soup’ using kale that came to me from a generous neighbor, Nicola. The soup is named after the boy’s fairy godmother, Lois Graham. She lives an active life of retirement, split between Cross Village Michigan and somewhere in southern Texas, depending on the season. Her soup (in my hands) has greens, black-eyed peas and veggie sausages, plus a little spice to warm it up. It’s tasty and the perfect cold-weather soup. We had some the night I made it, along with fresh focaccia. Yum! The timing was good, because the rosemary plant that lives on my kitchen counter needed a trim.

Now it’s time to get ready for Thanksgiving. I’m planning on doing a little sketching to get some fresh ideas down, and the boys are looking forward to getting some time off from school. The only dark moment from the week came in Jim’s Tae kwon do class Wednesday, when he separated his shoulder on an ill-timed fall. He kept on going until the X-rays Saturday showed what happened, and now he’s a little disappointed about having to cut back his activities for a while. He does look cute in the sling, though!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Big Fiber Art Fair

The calendar might say it’s mid-November, but the weatherperson had other ideas last week. We had some delightful sunny days with days in the mid seventies. Normal people think of raking leaves or going for a nice walk, but not me. I took the unexpected opportunity to finish four wood frames for weavings. Just like rodents putting away nuts for the winter, I store away finished frames for those long winter days when I’m cozied up in my art studio weaving and it’s too cold outside to use putty or stains. Of course that got me excited about weaving, so I spent some time working on my Baby Carrots commission. I wove a little dirt and remembered just how much I enjoy weaving. Luckily I snapped out of my reverie in time to get ready for the Bloomington Spinners and Weaver’s Guild Fiber Art Fair on Friday and Saturday. It was wonderful to catch up with people I only see once or twice a year. It was especially nice to finally cross paths with a woman who’s been looking for me for five years. I did a show in Sellersburg, a small town in southeastern Indiana not too far from Louisville. I haven’t done the show since, mostly because Sellersburg isn’t an apt name. I even read the papers the next day, thinking that the bridges between Indiana and Louisville must have washed out, keeping all my potential patrons south of the Ohio River...

The thing that struck me about this weekend’s show was the number of people who not only recognize my art, but can also point out the pieces that represent my new directions and ideas. This year the big hit for me was the ruffled scarves. I sold every one I had, which has sent me into a frenzy to find more merino. I try to buy all my stuff locally, but I've exhausted the supply of merino fleece for fifty miles. I ultimately ordered some from a web source in Portland, Oregon, but I ended up buying them out too. I’m patiently waiting for the delivery and a refund for the rest of the incomplete order. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m anticipating making more ruffled scarves and a black shawl, all before the next show, the UU Art Fair and Bazaar on December 3 & 4.

Doing the show this weekend made me appreciate my support crew. I got a delightful breakfast of toast, sausages and eggs. OK, the eggs were egg beaters and the sausages were the veggie version, but they were just what I wanted. They brought me food at the show when I needed it, including a delightful sandwich from Panera for lunch Saturday. When the show was over they packed me up in the rain and drove me home, smiling the whole time. I’m very lucky. My security translates into warm fuzzy art and new challenges.

A next step for me came to pass over the past few weeks, with David Goodrum stepping down as the president of the Fourth Street Art Fair executive committee. I tried to bribe him with some old champagne. Actually, I gave him a bottle to congratulate him and a second bottle to bribe him to say on. It didn’t work. When the committee reconvened and had elections to replace the executive committee, I threw my hat into the ring. Now I’m the new Fourth Street Fair president. I’m a little nervous about the enormity of the task but I’m looking forward to the challenge. The show has been a big success for 35 years, so I have big shoes to fill and long shadows to grow beyond. The good news is that the hard working crew of volunteer artists that make it happen is still in place. They make it fun and worthwhile.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gearing up for the fall season

November marks the start of my busy holiday season of shows and events. That means last week was spent trying to get ready. I felted scarves like a fiend so I’d have plenty of pieces for all the shows, including the Déjà Vu show in Columbus on Saturday. I was feeling so good about my progress that I put away the table risers and left my special felting tablecloth in place. I figured that one meal with the kids and it would be covered in ketchup and butter stains and thereby earn a trip to the washer. I also reclaimed my art studio to do a little weaving. This was a bigger project than I imagined because the boys decided it was the perfect place to do a little whittling. They did ‘clean up’, but I still spent a huge amount of time picking up all the little wood chunks left behind. I pushed everything else to the walls and got out my old friend the easel. I loaded up a loom and warped it with some brown polypropylene yarn. I filled my work area with my yummy chocolaty red/brown earthy yarns. I sorted them into a color gradient, and tomorrow, by golly, I’m going to weave! "Baby Carrots" your home is on it's way...

When Friday came I was feeling pretty good about my progress. Off I went to the opening reception for my show at the John Waldron Art Center. What a fun time! My boys were delightful, having learned the ‘Mom’s having a reception’ drill. They hung out with me and made origami Greek gods (Tommie) and fortune tellers (Jacob). They entertained themselves beautifully until Jim came to whisk them off to Greek’s Pizzeria for dinner. I had a delightful time chatting with people—I even got a few compliments! It was great to see one of my Zumba instructors, Liz, from Bloom Zum who gets up with me at 6:30 a.m. to keep me in shape. It was interesting to see her out of context—nicely dressed and looking sharp. I’m guessing I look a little different too when I’m not gyrating and dripping sweat. The best news was that one of my pieces, ‘Out on a Limb’, found a new home. There was no time to rest when we got home—I loaded up Bluebell with everything I needed for the Déjà Vu show and went to bed early.

Saturday morning I popped up out of bed early, ready to go. I drove to Columbus, set up the show with a few weavings, a lot of scarves and cards, and a few of my ornaments from last year. I had a really fun time. Part of that came from the happy and enthusiastic crowds we got—kudos to Marilyn Brackney, who is making the show into an impressive, artist friendly annual event. I was also fortunate to be set up next to Ann, an artist friend from Muncie, and across from Cappie, my good friend from Bloomington. Ann is just hysterical, and the three of us made jokes and laughed all day. I think it’s safe to say that a good time was had by all! The show sales went well too. I sold a weaving—“Stone Fish” found a new home. I sold a lot of ornaments (I’m down to about 18) and cards too, so I was busy all day. The big mover this show, however, was my felted scarves with ruffled edges. I even sold one scarf to three people! That’s too complicated a story for the blog, but ask me in person someday and I’ll tell you the tale. My proudest moment, though, was when I ran into a regular blog reader. She asked for some history around some of the felted tiles I designed in North Carolina. As I told her the story she kept filling in details! She knew about the rice paper I bought on the Outer Banks and the sketches I made. When it was time to take down, Jim and Tommie showed up to help. Jacob was playing at a friend’s house and having cheese pizza for dinner. Things went so smoothly we weren’t the last ones out, which is a rarity. By the time I got home I was ready to set the clocks back and go to bed, secure in the knowledge that I earned that extra hour of sleep. Tonight, though, I’m slipping back into stress mode. I sold so many scarves that I need to put a few more together for the show this coming Friday and Saturday (the Spinners and Weaver’s Guild’s Fiber Art Show). I have a few commissions to put together too—it’s the whole problem of selling one scarf to three people again. I dashed out to Sheep Street today to get more merino and I spent my post-dinner hours laying out some more ruffled scarves. Christmas just can’t come too soon this year! In all seriousness, though, it’s good to be busy creating new things, and I really enjoy meeting new people and talking about my art.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Holey Scary Scarves!

Halloween week started on a high note for me. I drove my mother-in-law to the airport on Monday morning after a wonderful visit. She headed back home to the pouting cats and falling leaves, both demanding her attention. There was still fresh apple pie for a few days, but now that’s just a fond memory. I threw myself into scarf-making one more time, bringing my inventory up to forty-two. That’s the good news. The less-good news is that I had to spend a little quality time with the iron to get them pressed into shape. I shipped the first of my babies off to the Holly Market in St. Joseph Michigan midweek. Then I had two patrons stop by, one intending to look at scarves and one just innocently coming by to pick up her son. Five scarves went out the door, so I was back designing and felting a few more this weekend. The sales would have called for a celebration dance all by itself, but I also sold two pieces from the Bloomington Playwright Project show. My ‘Transplant’ and ‘Among the Ferns’ are off to new homes! What a great week for business! There’s still time to see what’s left of the show until Thursday of this week. I’m also going to hang a show at the John Waldron Art Center tomorrow, which you’re welcome to come see. Even better, stop in at the reception this Friday, November 5, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The show is titled: “Fiberology: a Study of Textures and Colors”, and I’d love to see you there. If you can’t make it Friday, I’ll be in Columbus Indiana on Saturday the sixth at the Déjà Vu show at the Yes Cinema on the corner of Fourth and Jackson.

In other art news, this week marked the beginning of the end of an era. The weather turned warm enough to allow urethane varnish to cure, so I finally got to seal the four giant BEAD panels. These are the pieces assembled by the fairgoers at last year’s Fourth Street Festival and have been sitting in my living room all winter, spring and summer. I’ll gave them one more coat of varnish yesterday and will send them off to their new home in City Hall. At least I hope so—I expect I might have to remind them that they agreed to hang the BEAD panels there. You might not be able to fight City Hall, but I think you can persuade them to display art.

I’ve got to run—it’s Halloween day, and there’s lots to sort out. I’ve got the candy hidden (I hope) for tonight and the kids have a friend over. The pumpkins are carved and the costumes are ready, but I need to press more a few more scarves and I hope to lay out a couple more. Can’t. Stop. Working! The boys have been off from school for four straight days thanks to fall break, which means the house is a disaster and I’m feeling the pressure to get everything re-set for a new week of school, meetings and adventures. I also hear it’s traditional to make pumpkin pie—I’ll have to be sure Jim knows!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Scarfing 3.0, this time with apple pie!

Yes, I spent the week focused on scarves again. This time I just went wild with the color schemes. I used reds, teals, purples and I even pulled out some pinks to complement the purples. That’s pretty audacious for me, since I don’t generally ‘do’ pink. When I was younger, skydiving was outrageous; now it’s using incorporating pink in a scarf! I even created one commissioned scarf. It had a base of grass green with black ruffled edges, and I think it came out really well. Now it’s time to hit the pause button on wet felting for a little while and focus on some scarf pressing. Sometimes it feels like I’m not making enough progress, but looking back I realize that I’ve been very productive—I’m up to 31 new scarves! I’ll be shipping the first lot to St. Josephs, Michigan on Wednesday for display at the Holly Market. I’m hoping that displaying them in Michigan’s snow belt during the holiday season will be the perfect venue for sales.

In my weaving world, I managed to finish the needle-felted carrots I was working on. They’re for a commissioned piece based on the earlier ‘Baby Carrots’ piece, and I’m really delighted with how they turned out! It’s going slowly, but I feel like I’m moving the process along. And in a real blast from the past, late in the week I took advantage of a warm spell to finish up the BEAD (Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District) panels from last year’s Fourth Street Festival! I collected thousands of recycled plastic toys in the four theme colors of the BEAD logo. I picked them up at places such as The Recycle Center and Opportunity House in Bloomington, and 5000 kids and adults visiting the Fourth Street Festival glued them onto four large wood panels. The weather got away from me last fall and I couldn’t get them sealed before the snow flew. Of course I was too busy when the weather was nice in the spring. That meant the pieces had a nice home in our living room all winter, which my husband Jim wasn’t too thrilled about. I think he missed the fact that they added a certain colorful charm to the room. Anyway, I dragged them out onto the veranda and sealed them with a coat of varnish. This Wednesday I’m hoping to get a second coat on them and send them off to their new home.

On Thursday, more big things started to happen when Grandma flew in from Michigan. She always needs a project, so we got her painting a long-neglected wall and baseboards at the top of the stairs. Boy does it look good now! Friday night we all went to watch the boys test for their blue belts in Taekwondo at Monroe County Martial Arts. All went well, and the boys are sporting their new colors and have bellies full of reward ice cream.

Saturday was the big day for everyone with the boys out of school all day. We made it to the Farmer’s Market early and got two big pumpkins and a big batch of winesap apples. The pumpkins went on the front step and the apples went into a delightful pie—did I say I like pie? At least I like all the pies my sweetie makes for me. In the afternoon we drove to Brown County to get a bit of a color tour, but sadly the trees seemed to take the ‘brown’ county part a little too seriously. We then stopped in at Zaharako’s ice cream parlor in Columbus for some cool refreshment - a nice transported back in time to when life had a slower pace. The day was topped off with a visit to Bloomington South High School to see their performance of Fiddler on the Roof’. It was well done everyone had a good time, even if we got home waaaaaay past our bedtime. But now I’m going to have some of the songs running through my brain today. If I were a rich man…

Until next week…

Martina Celerin