Sunday, January 5, 2014

Birthday cakes and Christmas cheer!

Despite my best efforts, blogging fell to a low priority over the holidays.  I almost got this post out before Christmas but I never got around to posting.  I’m going to update and share it.  I’ll tell you what’s new and exciting in the new year in a fresh post shortly. 

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but my studio is delightful.  It’s been a very good week in the art studio.  I spent time there weaving each day this week and managed to finish a piece called ‘Cousins at the Lake’.  I’ve been thinking about family, and that the holiday season is the perfect time to get together.  I’ve been doing my nook and cranny cleaning and general home re-organizing in advance of my family coming in from Michigan and New Mexico over the Christmas holiday.  I also flashed back to my friend and photographer Tom, who has a cottage on a lake with birches surrounding it.  Somehow those ideas all came together into the piece as the holiday approaches. 

I’m also hoping to get at least one other piece completed before I have to convert my studio into a bedroom.  A drawing on a thank you card I received after I visited a fifth grade classroom at Binford last week inspired this piece.  I was invited to talk about using recycled materials to create art, something I do in each of my pieces.  I had a really good time with a fun and enthusiastic bunch of kids.  I was very impressed with the insightful questions they asked about interpretations of the pieces.  A few days later they surprised me with an amazing batch of thank-you cards!  One had a sketch that really spoke to me, and I’m planning to build a weaving around the idea.  The weaving will feature a balloon tied to a park bench that’s under a tree.  I’ll call it something like ‘Tethered Memories’.  Since the time I wrote the first and last draft of this post, I’ve managed to bring the piece to completion. 

If you didn’t get that I’ve been on an art frenzy since I’ve completed my last commission pieces and before I go into holiday mode, I can report that I have also been working on my felted fruit piece.  I have all but the seeds finished on the watermelon chunks.  I filled in the meat of the lemon slices with wool that I have in my stash that I dyed to a gentle yellow with dandelions.  Then I finished the edible white part of the apple slices.  It’s nice to be working on this project because I can work on it anywhere.   When my art studio becomes a bedroom for the New Mexico Drummonds I’ll still be able to move the piece forward.  I plan to do a lot of chatting with family, and I can always poke while I talk and listen. 

I have to start winding this down, but lots of other stuff is going on.  I’m in the process of sorting out my summer travel schedule. I heard back from the Des Moines art fair, but unfortunately they wait listed me.  Tommie is convinced that they’ll invite me to participate, so we’ll just wait and see.  On Thursday we celebrated Jim’s birthday.  It wasn’t a pie week, but I did make an elaborate German chocolate cake that Jim requested.  I found a Bobby Flay variation on the classic recipe listed with a high degree of difficulty.  I was up for a challenge, so off I went!  I was sold on the cake part when I read that it featured a cup of cocoa powder.  I ended up using Giaradelli’s instead of Dutch (Drost) because that was all I could find.  The frosting recipe called for a cup of goat milk, but I haven’t seen any goats lately so I improvised.  My favorite part of the process was learning Bobby’s ganache technique , which was the absolute simplest process I’ve ever used.  I’m definitely going to use that again on some other baked delight very soon.  The cake was a big hit!  It took several days to finish it off, even though it went very well with espresso for breakfast.  Who knew?  Happy birthday to my sweetie pie. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

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