Monday, March 14, 2011

The first veggies of spring: eggplants and zucchini

It’s been a full week of vegetable creation, yet again. This is probably how Mother Nature got her start. My specialties were eggplant and zucchini, and I was focused on getting the surfaces just right. To complete the eggplant cubes I first stitched a felt surface on to the wool cubes I created last week. I used white and purple material to create a foundation for the deep purple carded fleece I created.
One of the joys of creating vegetables out of wool, at least to a former scientist, is the ability to look at the core structure with fresh eyes. I’ve sliced up a lot of vegetables in my day, and I funneled a lot of zucchini into summer sweet bread. But this time I really paid attention to the smallest details. I noticed that the eggplant has a thin green gradient at the periphery. This might be because it’s a young plant, so I’ll have to buy a few more mature eggplants to check. The eggplant model from Bloomingfoods eventually made its way into a delightful eggplant and quinoa stew. I’ll definitely need more eggplant recipes! The green transitions into a heterogeneous brown color, which almost looks like a cream cappuccino that isn’t fully mixed. I managed to capture the colors I needed using wools that I dyed last summer using natural materials. I remember having such a great time cutting flowers and other plant parts and experimenting with the dyeing conditions, but I never thought I’d be able to use the fairly drab colors I got in return. Now I’m really looking forward this summer!
I made progress on the zucchini from last week as well. I created a series of circle and half moon shapes, and of course I had to translate these into realistic zucchini colors. The sliced edges are kind of a minty green gradient, which quickly transitions into the buttery, creamy ring that people associate with zucchini. The center circle is a less dense, fibrous material that has more of a grey-beige translucent appearance. It’s all those subtle color zones in the middle that warn you off when you reach for a slice to eat, thinking it’s a tasty cucumber.
The thoughts of subtle greens have me thinking about spring in Bloomington. December started off with a couple of unusually heavy snowfalls. It was nice to have a white Christmas, but it feels like winter has been here forever with the cold snap in early March. Everyone in my family is chomping at the bit to welcome spring. I’ve given up trusting the robins to tell me it’s spring, since they seem to stay put most of the winter in Bloomington. You wouldn’t catch those robins out in Ontario in February! My favorite harbinger of spring is the purple iris reticulate that you’ll find along the walkway to our house. I’m including a picture of a sweet little one that made me smile.
Looking ahead, my ‘Small Squares’ display is still up in Fort Wayne. The Trashion-Refashion Show is coming up in a couple of weeks. I’ll be in the audience, even though I won’t have any dresses on display. I was very excited about a cool idea I had to make a dress out of Barbie doll legs. I collected and collected, and I had my boys ripping legs off of dolls for money. Unfortunately, the legs made the dress too heavy and I had to abandon the effort. This year I’ll just enjoy the show as a patron of the arts. I’ve seen some of the images of the work and I think it’s going to be incredibly interesting and diverse.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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