Friday, January 15, 2010

Tomatoes in the snow…

This year Santa Claus brought the boys boogie boards for sledding on the snow. Ever since we’ve been waiting for snow, and not altogether patiently. Finally the snow started falling on Wednesday night, and the few inches we got shut down the schools for two days. The kids loved it, but somewhere in my Canadian hometown they’re laughing at us. We have since made several trips to Bryan Park to challenge the local hill. To get a picture of the fearsome slope, it’s about where the eastern most edge of the Rockies meets the western most edge of the Appalachians. With the steep gradient, and someone to launch you down the hill (thanks Bret!), you can get up a little speed. Somebody must have torn down the little posts with the black diamonds on them, and I think the rescue helicopter teams must have had the day off.

After a couple hours on the slopes, every good sledder needs hot cocoa. But a punishing day on the slopes also means cheese pizza—not all the shredding happens on the slopes. I discovered that I needed to replenish my pizza sauce supply, given the hungry hordes that were swarming the house, so I pulled the last of my frozen CSA tomatoes out of the freezer. They look a little sad, but they make great sauce, and now I’m ready to create all my tomato-based dishes for the rest of the winter. The shriveled little bodies are both the reminder of the riches of last summer and the promise of warmer days ahead.

Tomatoes have been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve steadily been producing needle-felted tomatoes for the commission piece I’m working on. The surface is going to be a collage of all the different tomatoes you might see at a late-summer Farmer’s Market. They don’t freeze well, so I keep them in a bowl to ripen up that last little bit as I make more. I’ve been using all of my tomato-coloured fleece to support the different varieties and shapes, so I’ve got everything from reds to yellows to greens. Then I delved into my tomato-coloured yarns. I even have some old red shoelaces of just the right shade that will end up somewhere in the piece. And so I’ve been joyously weaving a background for the piece this week. If you listen carefully you can almost hear the angelic choir in the background as I think about weaving after months of shows and scarves and ornaments. Have I said lately that I love to weave? Anyway, the background has kind of a smushed-tomato-on-top-of-the-stock pot look, bringing together all the colors of the surface tomatoes. You don’t really see it clearly in the piece, but where the surface tomatoes don’t quite come together you can see it peeking through. People used to say that you can’t see the forest for the trees—we’re going to start saying that you can’t see the weaving for the tomatoes.

This has also been a week of hanging shows, so if you’re out and about Bloomington this week, keep your eyes open. I hung a show with five other artists the John Waldron this week. They’re all fiber artists who clearly love color. They make the show bright and happy, and it’s worth the trip downtown. The opening reception was Friday night, and while the weather limited attendance, the people who came were lively and happy. I also hung my ‘Warm and Cosy: Scarf Art’ show at the Bloomington Bagel Company shop on Dunn Street. Surprisingly, my spell-checker still can’t get it through it’s head that Cosy isn’t spelled with a ‘z’. It’s just too much of an American sacrifice to change it after I’ve given up all the ‘u’s in my favourite words. You can see more scarves at Wonderlab museum if you stop in there. I ran into Andrea from Wonderlab at the John Waldron reception, and now I’m eager to see the display she put together at the museum. Andrea says they used magnets, foam and cord to hang the scarves, and somehow an air vent is breathing some life into them. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to incorporate movement into my pieces! I do love a challenge.

Until next week…

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