Monday, June 27, 2011

Weaving in the Park

Saturday was a big day for me—I coordinated an outdoor community weaving project at McCormick’s Creek State Park. This project has been in the planning stages for a long time. I’ve been collecting materials and thinking through how I could make weaving fun and accessible for people who dropped by. I arrived at the park early to an absolutely gorgeous morning. I set up the five foot wide loom that I built for my giant commission pieces, and I was delighted to be able to use it again. The organizers set up a few tables for weaving materials. I quickly covered them with the funkiest objects I could assemble. I spread out highly textured yarn cords, rope, turkey feathers, sea shells, hair from the mane of a pony (thanks to Mary from the Recycle Center!), a feather boa, leather strips, Jim’s aunt Lois’ old nylons (well washed), braided belt materials (thanks to Abby Gitlitz for taking those apart!), old coasters, raw sisel, cheesy synthetic plant parts, flax roving, lots of lace scraps and more. The people who came by were just inspired and the final product looks amazing. I enjoyed watching people taking it all in and then coming up with their own ideas. One woman had a great idea to make a weaving that incorporated materials from her wedding from twenty years ago. She thought about weaving together treasures such as fabrics, ribbons and materials into a memory piece. Another couple said they own a coffee shop in Stinesville, if I remember correctly. They thought it would be fun to set up a weaving project in their shop and let their patrons create a piece using a box of scraps. I’m told they have a big brick wall that needs an art piece—I’d love to see what they come up with.

During the day I did my best to include everybody who wanted to weave. I used my standard weaving approach, which is to attach my loom to an adjustable easel. This let me lower the project to be accessible to the three year olds and raise it back up for the tallest of adults to weave. Combine that with a diverse selection of materials and I found that I could accommodate all the people’s needs and influences as they created the piece. I think the biggest surprise to most people was the appearance of giant seashells in the weaving. I say—why not? I was impressed with the people who selected some scraps of materials and created an art piece from them, then incorporated their piece into weaving. I even had artists, who were showing their own art that day, stop by to do some weaving. When sales were slow wove a little, then headed back to their booth when the traffic picked up again. I was really pleased to see park visitors drop by to weave a little, go away to do something else, then come back later to add a little more. They got to see the beginning, middle and end of the process. At the end of the day I felt really good to be an active part of the fair.

Over the rest of the week my efforts were intense but distributed over several projects. I spent a lot of time trying to finish up some pieces while moving others forward. I completed by BFF piece, which I really like. To me it’s just a set of mismatched friends, which brings back memories of my high school days. We didn’t quite fit in to the world as individual entities, but together we were pretty good. I did a lot of work on my Summer Salad piece, which meant a lot of needle felting. I laid it all out this week to see how much more I need to create. I’m wondering if I just might need some asparagus, or perhaps something else. I haven’t quite decided—maybe some cauliflower, or maybe some peppers to top it off.

This week I’ve also been admiring the lilies in the back yard garden as they come into full bloom. A trip to the compost pile brings out an intense, pleasant fragrance (from the lilies, not from the compost pile). It’s been such a rainy year that everything in the garden is doing well. We’ve even attracted a family of rabbits, much to the detriment of Tommie’s backyard lettuce patch. In our future I see either a small fence or more trips to the farmer’s market.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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