Monday, August 1, 2011

Fourth Street approaches…

The Fourth Street Festival is about a month away, and I’m in high gear creating new pieces. The Madison show put a huge (but very welcome!) ding in my inventory, which has left me scrambling. I spent some time bringing along my pea pod piece. I did all the stem work and wrapped some cute little tendrils. Now I’m left with a mountain of needle felting, which means I’ll be sitting and poking at pea leaves and pods at every opportunity this week. I’m pretty happy with the piece so far, because I really like the contrast between the curvy, organic branches and the weaving background. I think it will look great when all the elements come together. I’ve also been poking away at lemons this week and I now have quite a pile, so I think my “When Life Gives you Lemons” piece will come together soon. The third piece I started this week is one I described in my last entry, which is about memories. I did the background weaving this week, and Tommie and I have been on high alert for rusty objects for the garden soil. The background already has a bunch of found objects incorporated into the weft. I love how the weft strings enhance the sense of the objects being trapped in the soil until someone comes along to discover them. The piece will also feature a tulip in the soil, and the bulb for it is now complete. To create it I layered browns and reds and oranges, then more browns on the surface. I feel like I’ve captured the shininess of the bulb. The layering of fleece to create textures as well as colors is a technique I came upon when I was making my abstract felted tiles.

The approach Fourth Street Festival means both work and excitement for me. The yearlong efforts of our working-artist committee will come together on Labor Day weekend, but rarely does it happen without a few surprises. This year we’re introducing a Spoken Word stage. Tony Brewer is bringing this project together in conjunction with the Writer’s Guild, which is part of the Arts Alliance of Greater Bloomington. A series of local writers will have a chance to present their ideas to a large crowd. I’m excited about it after participating in an Ekphrasis event, which roughly translates to ‘speak out.’ Local girls wrote poems in response to visual art that had been contributed by area artists, then the audience spontaneously repeated phrases that were most meaningful to them. There I saw how the combination of art and the spoken word can create profound new connections, so I’m excited to see how the spoken word stage might affect the Fourth Street event. I also want to invite everyone to come to an opening reception for the festival to be held at the By Hand Gallery. To celebrate the show’s 35th anniversary, each of the committee members will display one piece from five to eight on Friday, August 5. The opening reception is part of this month’s gallery walk, so be sure to get out and enjoy the art our town has to offer! My “Summer Salad” piece will be on display.

On the home front, Saturday morning brought the farmer’s market and another big batch of tomatoes came home with us. That means more bruschetta! Basically one begins with a selection of heirloom tomato varieties and onions from the farmer’s market, adds some basil from the CSA and oregano from the garden, and slips in some balsamic vinegar and wine from the pantry. There’s a lot of peeling and chopping and then: Ta Da!—bruschetta! The onion chopping used to bother my eyes, but I have my tear protection device in place. I can now report that week’s batch is wonderful! I love being able to share it with friends, and there’s plenty in the freezer to share.

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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