Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chameleon Conga and Salamander Salsa

My life and art seem to revolve around my friends in Bloomington, Indiana. I live in a community rich in resources of all kinds that help me flourish, and I’ve come to deeply appreciate what I have. For example, this was ‘chameleon week’ for me, courtesy of one of my benefactors, the Monroe County Public Library. I went to the kids section to find picture books with big, brightly colored images of my quarry. I found a treasure trove of books to help me on my way, including a picture of a nice pardalis chameleon. To create its body, I searched through my materials only to find that some evil spell-casting wood sprite had transformed a ball of my fleece into a parsnip. Oh wait—that was me! The parsnip didn’t fit into my veggie piece, so I transformed the parsnip into the body of a chameleon. I keep everything I make, since you never know when something important will turnip. Sorry, my kids are into bad jokes right now and I couldn’t resist. I also pulled out all my green fleeces that I dyed last year and a dark brown natural fleece that fit in nicely and set to work. I put the last touches on it while listening to the proceedings of the Fourth Street Art Festival committee meeting, surrounded by local artists and craftspeople who are all committed to the success of the local art scene. As you can see in the picture, I then let the chameleon run around my art studio and inspect my yarns before she settled down among her home ferns. I hope somebody likes her as much as I do.

Well, I figure that if I can make chameleons out of turnips, I can turn amphibians into salsa. More precisely, I’m now off making six salamanders to dance together in my next piece, ‘Salamander Salsa’. I picked up a few colorful books from, you guessed it, the Monroe County Public Library. The variety of colors palates for salamanders is truly amazing. I’ve completed the first dancer, a spotted salamander, which is a rich, rich black color with yellow spots. Now I’m working on a mud salamander, whose name fails to capture its beautiful bright red color with tiny black spots. They always seem to be standing on sphagnum moss beds so I’ll have to whip up some moss for this piece too. This project will take a little time to bring together, since my three-dimensional animals always take more effort than I imagined.

The other big event on my calendar this week was the DBI (Downtown Bloomington Inc) annual awards ceremony. It was well attended, and I got to chitty chatty with lots of downtown business people. It’s so nice to see how cohesive and well-supported the downtown community is. This is a community that wisely values the vitality of its downtown, which is succeeding where other downtowns are failing in this tough economic market. I’ve benefitted from a number of downtown businesses showing my art over the years, with big thanks to places such as the Wandering Turtle, By Hand Gallery, Bloomingfoods and the Bloomington Bagel Company. I feel like I’m part of a vibrant community, and I like that feeling. Bloomington feels like home.

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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