Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Newsflash: Moss grows on wheelbarrow!

OK, so maybe it's not actually moss...This week I decided it was time to start working on some of my commissions. One features a three-dimensional path through the woods on a large-scale format. The tree branches will need leaf clumps to project out of the piece, so a couple of weeks ago I started crocheting some yarns together to see if I could produce the effect I wanted. The initial result was disappointing, which convinced me I needed to dye some mohair boucle a deeper shade of green for the leaves. Around a month ago I ordered some big loop mohair boucle from Sheep Street in Morgantown for the project. A few weeks ago I picked it up, but I’ve been waiting for a block of time in my schedule to pull out my dye pots and experiment with it. Fortunately, I have several big stainless steel dye pots in storage. My father-in-law envisioned them for traditional salmon boil dinners, but they never got much use. They’re perfect for me—thanks Grandpa! The day’s success was some gorgeous greens that will be perfect for the commission piece. I was also feeling very experimental, so I decided to try dyeing with some fur scraps and old fur clothing I got from Marilyn Brackney a couple of weeks ago to share with Cappi Phillips. I took what I thought was a reasonable amount, throwing in the white and light brown fur pieces into the dye pot to fulfill my grand vision of fluffy green fur pieces to use in the ground cover adjacent to the trail. Unfortunately, I learned that when you boil animal skin it turns into a globby mess. Only a few small pieces survived the process. My inner scientist reminded me that every experiment is useful, even the failures. She thinks that will help rationalize having to clean up the mess, but she’s wrong. I just focus on the intense green boucles and some other wool that I threw in as a ‘what the heck’ kind of test. I always find a use for everything.

My other major art project involved an intense effort on completing the grassy blades for my ‘Sunrise over Goose Pond’ piece. I attached them to the background and I’m close to calling the piece done – I think that a wandering, half awake salamander looking for his “morning joe,” unaware of the distant hooded crane, will be the finishing touch.

The mail carrier has been my friend this week. When I think of our mail carriers, I fondly remember a family story involving a very young Jacob. We were sitting at the dinner table having an animated conversation about something. We asked him, with enthusiasm, “What do birds eat?” He shouted out “mail carriers!” Of course we all broke up laughing. Anyway, the mail carriers escaped the birds of prey to bring me a letter from Homeland Security inviting me to take my citizenship oath in about two weeks. As soon as I finished my citizenship test (did I mention I got a perfect score?!) I decided on a vision for a weaving I wanted to make. The piece will be called ‘A Home of my Own’. It’s really about my journey toward citizenship in this country with my wonderful extended family and the loving community I live in. It will feature a hand holding a trowel, digging a hole in a patch of garden soil. Adjacent to the hole will be a small seedling, ready to be transplanted.

The snail mail carriers weren’t the only ones on my side this week. My e-mail brought me the news that the Loring Park Art Fair in Minneapolis had chosen me to be a featured artist this year! I had to scramble to put together some text describing my work and my history, but that’s all in place. I’m really honored to be selected, and I’m looking forward to the trip out there this August.

The big local event on my horizon is the Trashion-Refashion show this Sunday at the Buskirk-Chumley theater. It is presented by the Center for Sustainable Living and Discardia, and it starts at 7 p.m. It’s all very hush-hush, but I’ll let you in on a secret—I’ve created a trophy for the show. I’ve been sworn to secrecy about the design, but next week I’ll post a picture. I also created some fashion for the show, which I will model this year. My son Jacob has an outfit that he designed and will model, and Tommie has volunteered to hand out programs at the event. Jim will chauffeur and applaud, and so it will be a family event. We had our first rehearsals this week and I know it’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope to see you there!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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