Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall is coming!

Now that the Fourth Street Art Festival has past, I’m eager to launch into my fall activities.  Foremost on my list is completing a large-format commission piece, which will be 44 by 24 inches when it is framed.  It’s a huge piece!  It’s going to take an intensive effort to weave the background.  Luckily, I love to weave!  Right now I’m laying down the base yarn colors, although they will not be highly visible in the final piece.  That’s because I use a crocheting technique to build forward a ledge at the bottom of the piece.  That’s where I will “plant” the mature trees.   
Speaking of trees, I’ve been assembling the trunks during my captive times away from home, such as when I watch the boys do their Taekwondo classes.  The trunks are solid wool, but the core is made from my father-in-law’s old wool army blankets.  They were holey and needed a good home.  I also had a good stroke of fortune at Fourth Street when a young girl approached me to see if I wanted to buy wool roving.  She raised Shetland sheep for her 4H project and had just completed the first shearing.  The wool was washed and carded into roving.  I’m always on the lookout for small amounts of various wools so I asked her to sell me eight ounces of each variety she had.  Fortunately, the aunt was coming to Bloomington and was kind enough to deliver the wool after the festival.  I sort of tossed it downstairs to catalog later into my extensive collection.  When I started looking around for tree trunk wool for my commission, I realized the bag of new roving had the perfect deep, rich coffee brown for my tree trunks!  
 I’ll also use many of the green wools I dyed last week to make leaf clumps for the canopy.  I love it when a project comes together!  If that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I took on another commission this week.  I will be a tall, narrow version of ‘Some like it Hot’, my pepper collection piece.  It features red, orange yellow and green peppers of varying sizes and colors.  That will mean a lot of needle felting to create the peppers, but I’m mentally ready to take on the fall color palette.  I think I need to work with a broader range of vibrant colors after making many pieces featuring the crunchy, bright greens of spring and summer. 

And speaking of fall colors, last weekend we launched into our annual bruschetta making project.  We started out at the farmer’s market, buying twenty pounds of tomatoes.  Roma tomatoes make up the base, but the project consumed about eight pounds of heirloom tomatoes of various colors and shapes and several pounds of onions.  Luckily, Jim planted an herb garden this spring and kept it watered through the dry weather.   
That meant we were able to include four kinds of basil (lemon, Thai, globe and Greek) and two kinds of oregano (Italian and spicy).  Jim doesn’t seem to notice that I basically mowed down the patch, but it was all for a good cause.  We spent a day blanching and peeling until our fingers were wrinkled, chopped like crazy and stirred with the greatest of care not to break up the tomatoes or allow material the bottom of the giant stockpot to burn.   
Forty-seven jars later I think we’re set for winter.  Actually, there are only forty-six jars in the freezer while one was left out to test.  Tommie, Jim and I give it a huge thumbs up.  Jacob is still acquiring a taste for such things.  
 I can tell that we’re settling back into a routine, since this week there was no pie for breakfast.  I can either be sad about not having pie or I can look forward to the next one, which I’m sure will be soon.  The second choice always works better!

Until next week…

Martina Celerin

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