Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dirt, Snow and Contemporary Dance

I started off the week with a big head of steam for working on my commissions. My big accomplishment was to finish off the dirt for the big format piece. In a five-foot-wide weaving that was a big challenge. I didn’t have a big enough baton to keep the shed open and carry the yarns through for the top layer, which left me wondering—what do I have that’s wood, thin and about a yard long—hmmm—a meter stick! For you Americans, that’s a yardstick, only better. I got out my big belt sander and created a pointy-ended stake worthy of an Anne Rice vampire. That let me create the top dirt level with ease. With that milestone passed I pulled out my box of sky blue yarns. I arranged them from lightest to darkest and made my selections for creating the sky. It’s coming along! About then the weather snowed on my parade. We had an extended snowfall that closed schools for two days. I love the snow, but no school means I had an unanticipated full house. Jacob’s friend Claire and came over for much of the first day, which means much running and screeching. We ended up at the precipitous hills of Bryan Park with sleds and a big thermos of hot cocoa. After a triple batch of breadsticks at home for lunch we declared it an excellent snow day. I’ve already forgotten what happened the second snow day, but it involved many kids, Beyblade duels, and other exciting stuff. Exciting for me was the chance to get out my new drum carder and whip up some beet leaf fleece. I pulled out five different green fleeces, some of which I dyed and some I purchased at the fleece fair in Greencastle last spring. I carded them all together into a deep rich green worthy of a more delectable vegetable. I started poking and poking, and by the end of the week I had thirteen fine beet leaves. Next week I hope to start wrapping copper wire with wine-purple yarn in order to create the veins for the leaves. And speaking of leaves, I began leafing out the carrot stems I created last week. I attached them to the carrots, so now I have my first completed vegetable for the piece. As school resumed I was able to finish my five ornamental balls that I’ve been working on for a few weeks now. I still have to attach the gold loops to hang them, but I think they look delightful assembled in a wooden bowl.

Before and after the big snow I did get to work in a few social events. Early in the week I had a nice lunch with my friends Dawn and Cappi at Lennies. I had my special order lunch, which places my favorite marinated red onions on top of their classic portabella mushroom sandwich. It was really good to just sit and chat with them. We hadn't done that in a while...and we were past due. And by Friday night we had enough energy left over to go out to the Contemporary Master’s Dance performance at IU’s Ruth N. Halls Theater. This was the boy’s first outing to a modern dance event so I wasn’t sure how it would go over. I promised - no tutus - and IU delivered - whew! Although the first piece was a very long, slow moving piece with lots of subtle body movements. I think the boys were ready to go home by the time it was over. Not good. But by the time they got to a piece called “Oil” they were hooked. It drew you in with oil barons, beach creatures, kids and an oil spill. They used long flowing sheets of black material to create oil-covered waves in a very effective design. Later they also had an unconventional performance called "Hand Dance," where the bodies were blacked out and all the movement was created by ten hands. The show-stopper was a piece lit only by a strobe light, which captured the dancer in mid-air over the entirety of the piece. It made him appear to be flying through the air, or gliding several feet off the ground. By the end the boys were hooked. It’s all part of my secret plan to expose them to all sorts of cultural events before they believe that the ‘Gummy Bear Song’ is the apex of modern culture. Only time will tell if I’ve succeeded.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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