Monday, July 18, 2011

Today I gave lemons to life.

It took me a couple of days to re-settle in Bloomington after my supremely successful trip to Madison, but I did get back to creating new art this week. I started working on the piece “When Life Gives You Lemons”. I was poking on lemons all the way to Madison and back, after having carded some beautiful lemony-yellow fleece I dyed. Since then I’ve been poking at lemons everywhere I’ve gone. This week I wove the background for the lemon piece. I incorporated tints of my pure lemon yellow as well as some fresh green that represents the leaves one gets every so often. I laid out all the lemons I have created so far and quickly came to the realization that life needed to give me some more lemons—I’m only about halfway there. I e-mailed my friends at Sheep Street to see if they had some yellow fleece I could use to save me some further dyeing, but I was patiently informed that sheep don’t come in yellow. I don’t think I phrased the question very well! I guess it’s back to the dye pot for me.

Speaking of dyeing, I return to my soak pots. I’m afraid I might have left the materials soaking a little longer than they should have. On the bright side, I did end up with some interesting colors. First, I poured the stink-pot contents into my stainless steel dyeing pots and boiled them for about an hour. I wasn’t popular with my family when that happened because I created a heck of a stink in the kitchen. However, the process did yield a deeply intense liqueur for dyeing. I let the materials steep overnight on the veranda before I poured off the solid material and strained out the goo. I then plunked in some freshly washed white fleece and heated it to boiling again when no one was around. It was just a little stinky the second time, but I didn’t mind because I knew art was happening. The fleece next steeped on the veranda overnight. The maple bark gave me a warm caramel colored fleece. The Osage orange, which I thought was yellow, turned out to yield a more intense taupe. I definitely want to try the Osage orange in a three-day soak instead of three weeks to see what happens. Right now I have no idea what I’ll use it for, but I know that when I use it the color will be exactly what I need! I’m good that way.

I’m excited about a few events coming up in the near future. There will be a show at the By Hand Gallery celebrating thirty-five years of the Fourth Street Festival. Each committee member will contribute one piece to the show. I think it will be nice to see all our work together, which will be a reminder of all the expertise and experiences we bring to the show.

This Saturday will be the Farmer’s Market weekend when the heirloom tomatoes will be ripe for this summer’s bruschetta. We made some awesome batches last year that didn’t survive the winter so we need to replenish on a bigger scale. We did make a few nice finds there this week, including Tommie’s favorite lettuce—baby romaine. The lettuce person also had a few native leaves, including violets. I had no idea that violets were edible and reasonably tasty, but I’m planning on harvesting a few leaves for our next salad. I also bought a big basket of peaches and convinced Jim to make me a celebratory pie. It was the perfect dessert after a flatbread dinner last night! My crew is falling back into its summer routine, with bike rides in the morning and pool time in the afternoon. I’ll get some water time, but I’ll be poking away at lemons too so I can finish my piece and get on to the next one.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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