Sunday, April 4, 2010

How to turn oak into fruitwood...

The weather this week in Bloomington was glorious: the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the bulbs were bursting. We even topped 80 degrees at the end of the week, warm enough to open doors and windows to let in the spring. After a long, cold winter, what does spring mean around here? Yes, it’s time to start staining frames! I always have a few projects that need temperatures over fifty for paints, sealants or other finishes to work properly. I’m starting to back up on weavings and need frame homes for them. So first I dusted off my power tools and did a little spot sanding. My friend and photographer Tom Bertolocini makes oak frames to my specifications and I stain them to match my weavings. This week I got out a dark oak, a colonial maple and a lighter fruitwood stain. Don’t ask me what fruitwood is. I just know that when I put it on oak frame I get a range of light finishes that work with a lot of my pieces. I can finish a frame and hold it to the piece and decide exactly which finish I like best. It’s sort of like holding up my socks against a pair of pants to see how I like the match. If a certain frame finish really doesn’t work, back out to the veranda it goes and out comes the black spray paint!

I also have some big electronic news from the week. I joined the twenty-first century, aka Facebook. I was amazed at how easy it is to get connected and start talking to people. It’s been good to connect with a lot of people I’ve lost touch with over the years. I must seem to be getting older, because some of my local art buds were shocked that I did it. While it’s great to know what everyone is doing, I can see how someone could spend a lot of time keeping up with her friends, new and old. There’s also kind of a weird voyeuristic aspect to it all. You get to read about things that a person might not tell you, based on your own sensibilities, but they might tell another friend. You’re going where? Are you sure that’s a good idea?

In the salamander world, we now have a party. You can almost see them together in the waiting area at Red Lobster: ‘Salamanders, party of three—your table’s ready’. My latest creation is a cave salamander. It isn’t white, like you might expect from a dweller in the back of the cave. It lives at the openings and it’s a lovely papaya color with tiny black spots. She joins her friends the black spotted and mud salamander. I’m planning on having six salamanders for a salsa, but the weaving might take seven. Six is my favorite number, and six is a lot less salamander creation than seven, so I’m rooting for six but then seven is a better number artistically. They should be ready for the summer art tour, which is going to be a college town circuit. So far I’ll be in Columbus, OH in June, Madison, WI in July and here in Bloomington in September. I hope to see you somewhere this year!

Finally, this is a major flowering season in the yard. My first Facebook post reported the first tulip that burst into color in the yard. It just made me so happy to see it. It was red, of course, and it came up right in the middle of the herb garden. The herbs get their chance to shine later in the year. We’ve got deer candy—oops, I mean tulip buds—appearing all over the yard. The best part is that I’ve forgotten what colors I bought last year. Sometimes I’m like Dory in Finding Nemo for stuff like that. I find that life’s a lot more fun when it’s generally good and you get to keep reliving the best episodes! I’ve also got my bulldog husband out spraying the emerging tender greenery with his own anti-deer blend spray. So far so good! And I’ve done my part, although it isn’t for the flowers. I still hear our local raccoon climbing on the roof in the middle of the night, but now he’s clearly on the outside looking in. I just curl up, my eyes still closed, and smile a big warm smile.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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