Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hello, it’s the beach calling…

I’m officially jealous this week. I have a few friends who spent part of the holidays much farther south, while I’ve been in Bloomington freezing my toes through a cold snap that finally broke this week. When I hear their wonderful stories about the beach and warmer weather I’m taken back to an earlier life when I spent the school holidays around Christmas in the Bahamas. I got a lot of prime toes-in-the-sand time, a few sunburns, and all the sights and sounds of a different culture. So in a melancholy moment I decided to pull out my box of ‘sand’ yarns and my collection of seashells. I have a ton of shells that I’ve either collected, or that others have collected on their trips and donated to me. It’s fascinating to me how, over and over, I can collect the most amazing shells on a beach trip. Each one seizes your imagination as you hold them, dripping seawater on the beach. They seem like an integral part of how you’re going to remember that moment in time. But, months later, when you view the collection of shells in your living room the moments are lost. You even wonder why you brought so many shells home. Then a little tinkling of sand comes out of the box and you wish you were back at the beach.

Anyway, I started work this week on my latest beach piece. I pulled out my shell collection and realized that I’m a sorter at heart. I like my collections organized, not only to view and admire, but to make some biological sense out of the phyla I collected. I started by laying out the larger
shells in a pattern I liked that I thought created some visual movement to the piece. Then I reached for my two big boxes of ‘sand’ colored yarns. Yep, I’ve got a lot of boxes of yarns! Best of all, they’re all packaged in big plastic boxes to keep them dry when the tide comes in. In Bloomington Indiana that translates into when the power goes out during a rainstorm and the sump pumps fail to keep the water out. When I started to weave I incorporated the big ocean pieces into the warp and wove the yarns around them, kind of like the sand filling in around the shells when the tide comes back in. I also decided that every good beach piece needs some real sand, so I decided to make a sand frame. I have a little experience at this when I made the ‘Gold Fish in a Blue Ocean’ piece in the Creek-Love classroom last year and I was pleased with how it came out. Exactly how I do it is a closely guarded secret, but it involves repeated application of diluted wood glue and beach sand.

In Scarf News, I opened up the Herald Times this morning to see the bright red image of one of my scarves.
I’ve got a show up called ‘Warm and Cosy: Scarf Art’ at the Bloomington Bagel Company. It’s one of three exhibits that are up around town right now, (the other two are at the Waldron and Wonderlab) and all three are mentioned in the Sunday paper. Take a brief pause and imagine the haughty look I’m putting on for you right now. I managed to sell three scarves this week, and one of them set off an unexpected chain of events. I got a call from someone at BBC that was waiting to buy a scarf. I hopped in Bluebelle (my trusty car) and sped downtown. Did I say sped? Actually, I was going about the speed limit, and I was even using my turn signals. I don’t recommend doing that any more—it just draws attention to you. Anyway, Mr. Policeman noticed that I didn’t come to a complete stop at the deserted four way stop. He asked if I knew that I wasn’t in full compliance with the law, whereupon I launched into a full-bore defense of the arts (and my participation in supporting them in the local community) and he let me off with a warning. If you’re reading this, thank you! I promise I’ll do better. I made it to the sale on time and all was well.

One last note for the week: no one noticed, not even me, but last week was my one-year blogging anniversary. I wrote my first entry on January 10th, 2009, and last week “Tomatoes in the Snow’ was my 52nd entry. I offer my sincere thanks to everyone who reads and follows my work, whims, travels and family exploits.

Until next week…

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