Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fourth Street on Labor Day weekend!

Over the past week I’ve been making the final push to create some fresh art pieces for the Fourth Street Festival.  I had a very successful summer of art fair travels, which left my booth looking a little threadbare.  Unfortunately, all of my most recent pieces sold.  I like to have some fresh work to show all my friends, old and new, at the Fair.  That means I had a couple of weeks of pretty intense weaving.  The piece I finished most recently is called Flower Fiesta.  The concept grew out of a piece I did a couple of months ago called Bike Parade.  It featured bike wheels dancing on the horizon between the sky and grass.  This time I wanted flowers instead of wheels.  I decided to try creating flowers based on my sweater petal strategy.  
 I also wanted to take charge of the color palette for my piece, rather than rely on what I can find at my local thrift shops.  I therefore did a little over-dyeing this week.  I took the big circles of felted sweater material and dyed them in purple, red, orange and yellow.  The colors came out beautifully, with one unexpected twist.  The dye wasn’t able to penetrate the entire thickness of the felted fabric, such that the core of the flowers remains the original colors.  It makes perfect sense in hindsight!  When I cut the sweaters to create the shapes I need I get a light colored outline around each swirl of color.  I think the mottled effect just adds to the spontaneity of the piece—there’s a real happiness and lightness to the piece that makes me smile.  Come by my booth at Fourth Street and check it out.  

In local news, the squash that I’ve been babying along (and excited to cook and eat!) is starting to look an awful lot like a decorative gourd.  The fruits are just not getting any bigger—dang!  The boys are getting into the swing of school and Jim is finally back teaching five mornings a week.  I decided that everybody needed a little reward on Friday night.  In my travels I stopped at Angel B’s bakery for some treats.  I learned about Angel B’s during the Art of Chocolate event last year when they produced some amazing confections.  I picked out a delightful selection that we all shared.  I must say that was a great idea!  Because it’s the last week before the Fourth Street festival, my life has been incredibly busy taking care of the last few details. 
Yesterday morning I was interviewed by the Herald Times videographer, as well as the arts writer, but I’ll save that story for next week as part of the Fourth Street Fair report.  You can look for me online on Thursday, if you’re a Herald Times supporter.  All I need now is to have Hurricane Isaac veer a little more to the west so the rains don’t hit us next weekend.  I’d like to have some nice weather for the show!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fourth Street Festival is on the horizon…

I did a lot of driving to art fairs this summer.  During my most recent trip to Minneapolis I had some fond memories of the geology I grew up with in northern Ontario.  We drove through some beautiful granite formations, and I even got to see some cool hoodoos.  If you don’t know, these are striking rock spires that improbably narrow and widen as they rise.  Usually the top part is made of more durable rock, standing on a softer rock layers that were eroded.  I had gotten so used to southern Indiana’s limestone structures that it was striking to see the scraped granite outcroppings I remember from northern Ontario, especially on the Bruce Peninsula.  
 I also saw the familiar sycamores of Indiana replaced by the birches of the north.  I found myself missing the birch trees of my youth.  Of course I had to make more birch pieces!  This decision was reinforced by the fact that these pieces have been popular at art fairs this summer.  I have now finished two of these pieces, which will be on display at the Fourth Street Festival.

Another art project that I’m looking forward to seeing in action is the yarn bombing of some local trees.  This is a fundraising project for Middleway House, organized by Mary Ann Gingels of Yarns Unlimited.  There’s a nice story describing the project in Bloom Magazine  if you’d like to read more about it.  I’m sorry I couldn’t be part of it, but my plate is overflowing with preparations for the Fourth Street Festival.  Somewhere in Bloomington there’s probably a tree that’s grateful.  I did donate a bunch of yarn from my stock for the project, so I feel like I’ll be there in spirit. 

When it rains it pours, and this week was the start of school for my boys.  Tommie is starting middle school at Jackson Creek, so he has to be up at 6:30 to get ready and catch the bus.  He comes home exhausted every day.  Jacob is still cruising at Binford.  He’s Mr. Confident and is mature beyond his ten years.  And for those of you keeping track, yes, hubby Jim did make me a peach pie this week. Mmmmm. 
Close to the front door, my squash is thriving.  It has three babies, which I’m starting to suspect are either acorn squash or pumpkins, based on the shape.  I’m still watering the plant regularly with my dehumidifier water.  As it grew, it decided to crawl over the sidewalk, so I had to redirect it.  I love all my boys, but it takes a constant effort to keep them all in line! 

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Home from Minnesota…

Today I’m happy to be home from all of my summer travels.  This past week I was hurriedly weaving new pieces featuring birches and water, a genre that has been well received.  I’ve been improving my technique for making the water more realistic and the foreground elements more elaborate and dimensional.  I’m really pleased with all my latest pieces.  I also completed my ‘Eat Your Veggies’ composition.  This is the one that features tomato slices, onions, peas and other vegetables.  The components have been my travel companions as I completed each of the foreground vegetables on my summer travels.  The good news is that all my most recent pieces sold at the Loring Park Art Festival in Minneapolis over the weekend.  The even better news is that I’m safely back home with my family after a very long drive. 

The Loring Park fair itself was a lot of fun to do.  The fair itself is organized around a very pretty lake.  Nearby are fountains, trails, a pool, flower gardens, basketball hoops and more attractions that help bring in people.  From the moment I got there the organizers impressed me as welcoming and efficient.  I (OK, Jim) was able to drive the car and trailer around the pond right to my spot Friday afternoon.  We set up on a beautiful summer afternoon and prepared for the show over the weekend.  A weather front that produced heavy rains and winds moved through the area Friday night, but fortunately my booth and art survived the storm without any problems.  Saturday and Sunday morning the organizers drove around with juice, water, fruit and treats.  
 I liked the fact that they came to me to check in and see how things were going.  I had two beautiful days with sunny skies in the upper seventies, which brought out the friendly art appreciators of Minneapolis.  Takedown was just as easy, and within an hour and a half we were on the road out of town toward Tomah Wisconsin, our waypoint on the long drive home. 

When I got home I stepped back into the home stretch of the Fourth Street Festival here in Bloomington.  A lot still has to happen for the show to come together, but I feel good about the efforts of the organizing committee.  It’s going to be another good year.  This year we’re going to have something new on Dunn Street.  We’re hosting Art Cars, which is really Dawn Adam’s brainchild.  Laura Lane, a writer for the Herald Times, put out the call for the cars.  I don’t know exactly what to expect, but there are likely to be mosaics, painted cars, and other embellishments on vehicles.  I’m looking forward to seeing some fun and funky cars.  These aren’t cars you’ll see at the dealership or the NASCAR track, so plan to be in town Labor Day weekend. 

Did I say I was glad to be home?  I sure am!  I spent the drive crocheting leaf clumps, so I know there’ll be a bunch of trees in my future.  I’m still channeling more birches and lakes, thinking about how we need more rain.  The corn was really painful to see along the expressway all the way to Minnesota.  I do have my own little bright spot in the gardening world, though, which features a volunteer squash in the garden by the front door.   
This is where the hamster bedding and uneaten seeds were used as mulch over the winter, and one little squash plant germinated this summer.  I run a dehumidifier in my art studio, and that leaves me a bucket of water to empty every morning.  My little squash gets all she needs.  I don’t know what kind of a squash it will yield, but I do know I’m planning on eating them!  Maybe if I get a lot I can make a squash pie.  Hmmm, that just gave me an idea, now that peach season is in full swing!  And we’ll get to the farmer’s market on Saturday!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin