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

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