Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beach Dreams

In my last blog posting I set out on my ‘North Carolina beaches’ daydream.  This week I continued down the same sandy trail to the beach.  I moved along more beach piece themes, including finishing the background weaving for my ‘Sally Sells Seashells’ reprise.  Over the winter someone gave me some sea stars, which I’ve never incorporated into a weaving before.  In the background I also included sand dollars and a wealth of shells, which creates a movement in the piece that I like.  I make sandy frames for my beach pieces, and I created one before the rains came this week.  Unfortunately, the high humidity and low temperatures have prevented me from completing the polyurethane seal on the frame.  I’m hoping I can get to that project later in the day, but I’ve got a lot going on!  
 It’s the Trashion-Refashion show at the Buskirk Chumley theater tonight.  There will be a Discardia pop-up store where I’ll show my latest Re-Shirts and new spring Sweater Petals.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the designs, which are a tightly kept secret before the actual show.  It’s quite the challenge to keep the designers from leaking images of their work on the web before the show, because everyone is excited about their contributions—but happily, they have. 

My life took me to some interesting venues last week.  I watched the boy’s first lacrosse practice last Sunday, which went well.  On Monday was the Spinner’s and Weaver’s Guild auction.  It’s such a funny group, and we haggle and negotiate over all the yarns.  Most of them create wearable pieces, so their yarn needs to be soft and cozy.  They know if there’s a hideous green, scratchy fiber I’ll probably want it—which is true!  I need a diversity of colors and textures, and it can be hard to find the perfect yarn for grasses and vegetation.  On Wednesday I did an interview with a fellow from WIUX.  He and I met at my History Center show and we talked about the art and life in general.  I cancelled a 4th Street Festival meeting on Thursday night due to predicted weather that never really materialized, so I did have one quiet evening at home.  
 Friday, however, I went to the FiberFair in Greencastle with my friend Ruth Rives.  It’s our yearly adventure, which always seems to be horribly cold and often wet.  Because of the rain I wore my rubber boots, which led to two frozen feet before we had gotten too far.  One of the vendors was selling alpaca felted boot liners.  I bought a pair and, oh-my-gosh, they were amazing!  Ruth of course said she could have made me felted wool liners, but I needed them right then.  I picked up lots of green fleece and yarns, as well as some dried yellow and oranges.  I depleted my stocks considerably when I completed my pepper piece late last year.  The Fiber Fair is a good venue to re-stock and interact with the vendors I only see once a year over the past ten years or so.  All in all, it was another great week!  But…   no pie!  Shouldn’t the rhubarb be up by now? 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Channeling North Carolina

It has been a long and very busy winter, which means I’m starting to have thoughts of vacations to North Carolina beaches.  The weather did become delightful over the weekend, but whenever I’m stressed and need to get through a difficult patch I channel the beach.  I remember the surf, sand and seashells that Tommie and I find when we walk along the beach.  I like watching the birds as they run in and out with the surf—the whole atmosphere is very calming to me.  Those are the images that have been running around in my mind, and it has come out in my art.  The beach piece I’ve been working on is a variation on a piece I’ve made before called "Low Tide.The seashells incorporated into the piece are ones we collected on the outer banks in North Carolina.  The driftwood is from the beach in the Tawas State Park in Michigan.  The sand dollars come from beaches in Florida, brought back by my friend Dawn.  Oh, and a few of the shells come from friends on their trips to beaches.  The whole piece brings back a lot of memories and warm feelings.  

I always have several projects moving forward.  I made sweater petals this week and I’m transitioning to Re-Shirts.  The sweater petals are a good project for busy work when I’m watching the boys and their activities.  The Re-shirts will soak up a big block of my time this week.  To get ready, I brought out Grandma’s sewing machine.  I’m also going to take my back-up machine to Klaiber’s—they did a nice job refurbishing my main machine, so if that fails I’ll have a backup.  My Garden Walk show is hanging at the History Center.  Today I was delighted to see a picture of one of my bicycle pieces in the Herald-Times.  It’s always exciting to open up the paper and see one of my pieces in color.

In addition to my mainstream art projects, I did some volunteer work for a project at my son’s school.  Binford has a “Recycling and More” group, and we have been trying to draw attention to the recycling bins that most of the students ignore.  I was inspired by a vision of my son Tommie when he first started playing Minecraft, his current game of choice.  He created a virtual house but kept losing track of where it was.  He built a giant yellow arrow pointing down on his house so he could always find it from a distance, which I thought was brilliant.  I took the concept and applied it to the situation at hand with the underused recycling bins.  I created five giant arrows built from cardboard from recovered from hh gregg (they don’t capitalize the letters, so I won’t for them).  I decorated them with plastic bottles and cans from people involved in the recycling project, attached with my trusty glue gun.  I hoisted them on square dowels I purchased from Bender Lumber in town.  They were really just eight foot long 1 by 2’s that they ripped in half for me.  I used bunjee cords to attach the whole thing to the bases I use for my card racks and set them up around Binford for the big Carnival event.  The school is going to store them for future events, so I feel good about their continued usefulness.   And while I didn’t get a pie this week, the boys did win a couple of cakes at the cakewalk event.  The angel food cake went into the freezer, while the caramel-pecan covered monkey bread went into the refrigerator for breakfast.  I’ve been enjoying pieces for breakfast, warmed in the toaster oven and served with an espresso. 

The rest of my week’s events were all odds and ends.  The taxes are filed, the last of the firewood kept us warm on a cool weekday evening, and I’m gearing up for another seashell piece this week as I work on Re-shirts.  The boys went to a birthday part on Saturday evening, so Jim and I got out to dinner at the Owlery.  That’s a really nice vegetarian/vegan restaurant on the square that we don’t get to enough.  I ordered the poutine, which took me back to skiing on a mountain and warming up and filling my belly at the chalet.  Yum!  Maybe I can hold off for another week with out the pie.  Maybe. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring comes to Bloomington!

Our first decent spring temperatures arrived this weekend, with temperatures in just peaking over seventy yesterday.  We have daffodils all over, a few hyacinth, and a smattering of color from scilla, chiondoxa, wild tulips and few other little treasures.  After a long winter, when the temperatures go up I know it’s time to get out and… dye yarns!  I had a whole bunch of skeins waiting to go and huge containers of RIT dyes on the shelf.  Not only do I get the colors I want, I feel good about the fact that they’re made in Indianapolis.  They’re non-toxic, such that they claim you may dye in your cooking pots.  That’s not something I would ever do, but it’s reassuring to me that the dyes aren’t nasty.  
Of course my color of choice right now is green.  I’m envisioning making a large piece for the summer art fair shows similar to a commission piece I did last year.  I just enjoyed its presence in my art studio.  The best part about the completed piece was lying on the ground and looking up into the tree canopy, which made me feel like it was summer.  I need a big batch of green boucle yarn as one of the half dozen or so yarns I use to crochet into the leaf clump shape.  I also need a lot of green yarns to create the green grasses and forest understory.  After a winter of weaving spring pieces I was getting a little low on crunchy greens.  I ended up dyeing skein after skein of greens and I’m delighted with how the whole project turned out! 

In other art news, my life has been too busy to launch on big weaving projects.  I hung my Walking Through Gardens exhibition at the History Center and distributed rack cards all over town to promote the show.  I’ve been helping to organize this year’s Bloomington Open Studios tour.  That will take place on April 27th and 28th this year.  I just learned that my primary greeter (Tommie) will be off at an Academic Superbowl event that day, so I might have to go to my ‘sixth man’ (Jacob).  The Trashion-Refashion show is coming up on Sunday, April 21st, and I’ll have my Re-shirts for sale.  It’s at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater again, but this year I’ll be in the audience enjoying the show instead of creating new designs.  I did start experimenting with some spring sweater petals, which I want to display at the upcoming Artisan Showcase, a part of the Midwest Cultural Tourism Conference that takes place April 22 at the Bloomington Convention Center.   
When I looked at the muted earth tones colors I felt like they all belonged in the fall and winter seasons, not spring.  I pulled out some bright, cheery colors that came out of a project I did with a Boy Scout troop earlier in the year.  On a whim we tried overdyeing some wool sweaters.  It turns out that the results were perfect for spring sweater petals, and making more sweater petals made me happy this week.

On the home front, Jim and I went out to dinner at the Uptown on Friday and then on to the Bloomington Playwright’s Project.  The dinner was delightful and the new play, Ampersand, was wonderful.  It was funny and full of twists you didn’t expect.  The ending, which had some grim aspects, really was perfect and heartwarming in its own right.  The young actors were good, but the father stole the show.  On the way home we had to stop in to close down BluBoy with a decaf espresso and a shared caramel ganache brownie.  Mmmm, what a nice evening!  
 And in case you were wondering, a peach pie appeared this week!  I’m told that there is only one more pie filling fruit unit in the freezer (another peach pie).  I’m sure that’s a mistake.  If not, the rhubarb better kick it into high gear and start growing, because I’m not a patient person when it comes to pie!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin