Sunday, February 13, 2011

Seeing red as Valentine’s Day approaches

I’ve been seeing red all week long. Unfortunately, instead of red wine and red boxes of chocolates, it has all been tomato sauce for my Ratatouille piece. I started off with a huge pile of red yarns on my art studio floor and I’ve watched them simmer into the background of the piece. I need to create about thirty vertical inches by five feet wide. So far I’ve managed eighteen inches and burned out every red light receptor I ever had. I have a sudden urge to run down a matador and gore him. On the bright side, I love to weave, so it’s still been great to be in the art studio all week.

Of course ratatouille requires lots of fresh vegetables. I started creating some giant onion slices out of some little felted rectangles I got from my friend Cappi. We think they’re rejected brake pads for some device. Cappi picked up a huge box of them at the recycle center a few years back and they’ve been searching for just the right project ever since. It came to me that by connecting them I could create onion rings. They project is still at a stage where the untrained eye might not see them as onion rings, but I know it’s going to work out. I stitched them together on a skeleton of remnant baling wire scraps. It’s all I can do to keep from crying.

As I’ve zoomed ahead on my second commission piece, I’ve still been working on completing the first piece. I finished the last of the vegetables – the three onions – and with three art-related evening meetings this week I’ve had plenty of time to needle felt the oversize hand I’ll add that’s pulling out the Alice in Wonderland-sized carrot. I’m delighted with how that’s coming along, although I need to lay it out on the piece to make sure the scale is right. The size is based on sketches done on grid paper so it should be good. Still, it has to look good in place or it isn’t right. Tomorrow is the day I finally take a deep breath and lay out all the elements together on the background.

My social schedule this week was overwhelmed by meetings, but Wednesday at noon I did go to the SOFA gallery with Cappi and Dawn to see the current MFA/BFA exhibits. I even managed to avoid getting a ticket this time! I really love going to these events with my artist friends because they can recognize and articulate elements in the work that I can’t. I love being able to compare it to what I see and feel about each piece. Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the pieces really lets you appreciate your own weaknesses as an artist. We saw one piece that was incredible structured and detailed with orange geometric shapes on a gray background. The crisp shapes were twisted into an extended structure that had a very organic feel. But then the artist put a layer on top that felt like graffiti. I just couldn’t imagine having the strength to invest all the time needed to create the beautiful, detailed work and then cover it with graffiti. Still, it was very powerful. I also got to see some of Sara Nordling’s woven pieces, which I thought were very striking. The most powerful piece had three long horizontal stripes with structures that looked like translucent mushroom gills along the length. The viewer’s eyes just roll back and forth along the gills, bringing a three dimensional aspect to a two dimensional weaving. It was a beautiful, powerful and captivating piece.

That’s probably enough for one week. It will be Valentine’s Day soon, though. What kind of pie is red? Hmmmmm, cherry?

Until next week…

Martina Celerin


  1. How did you make stems on purple onions??

    1. I wrapped yarn around old cords and shoe laces, and then needle felted them onto the needle felted onion.

  2. How did you make stems on res onions? Bravo! Thank you!

    1. Thank you! I wrapped yarn around old cords and shoe laces, and then needle felted them onto the needle felted onion.