Sunday, March 2, 2014

Come see Portraits of Trees!

February?  Sorry, but there just wasn’t enough time to blog!  I feel badly that I couldn’t find a little time to sit down and share some stories about my work and life.  I really have been spending every free minute in my art studio trying to complete the artwork I promised for my ‘Portraits of Trees’ exhibition scheduled to go up on March 4thin Bloomingon's City Hall atrium.  If you live in town or are passing through, I hope you can stop in and see it!  I’m really looking forward to seeing all 15 of them together and experiencing the story that they tell as a group – a family album.

I think the most fun I’ve had creating this exhibition has been bringing together the last few pieces for the story.  One of them is a piece called “Working Trees.”  I think everybody goes through times when they are working to save money, which made me think about stringing the laundry out to dry on a clothesline behind our house.  I created a line between two trees, then repurposed some of my family’s old clothes to hang on the line.  The T-shirt is a little piece I sewed out of one of Jim’s old favorites.   
And as long as he doesn’t know which one it is I think I’ll be OK saying that.  Tommie produces fabric for me to use all the time.  In this case I made a pair of jeans from a pair he ripped apart at the knee.  Luckily they were also a little too short for him, because the knee rips are now stylish and it’s harder to get him to part with his treasures.  I add a pair of red socks (from a felted sweater) and create a laundry basket to complete the composition.  Oh, and I had to play around a little with fabric stiffeners to get the clothes to hang the way I wanted.  I tested several brands against swatches to get a sense of how they behave.  I quickly found one that gives the effect I wanted on all the fabric types: wet clothes hanging on the line in a breeze. 

Last week I finished my “Flowers by the Tree” piece for the show.  I’m still working on that name, it's just a bit too factual.   I desperately needed a little spring color and memories of summer.  When it got so cold and nasty I just started making some colorful flowers.  I created a few colorful clumps and decided I needed some spiky liatris for a structural contrast.  
 I started out thinking about spring flowers, but as the piece came together the flowers turned out to be from the summer season.  I really like the bright red roses that I created from some bits of satin cording.  The piece also features a fence that I made out of used (and washed) Popsicle sticks that I stained to look like aged fence wood.  The staves are narrowed sequentially to create the forced perspective of the fence.  I could go on describing pieces, but it would be easier if you would just stop into City Hall and check out the show sometime in March!

A whole month passing means a lot happened in my family.  The highlight was Friday night, when my sister Edita came to visit.  One of the great things about being on Facebook is being able to reconnect with family and friends living in distant places.  This was so true this week when I saw that my sister, whom I haven’t seen in almost ten years, was flying from Chicago to Indianapolis for a workshop.  I reached out to her just before she reached out to me!  She ended up coming to Bloomington for a couple of days.  The first night we decided to stay home for dinner, then have a nice glass of wine by the fire and catch up.  It was great to sit back and share memories that were long forgotten by one of us.  It’s about time, since we’ll both turn fifty this year.  We agreed to stay connected and try to be a part of each other’s lives. 

The boys have been very busy too, with Jacob doing extra practices for his Hip Hop performance next Saturday (March 8th) atthe Buskirk Chumley theater.  His dance troupe, called the Footnotes, will be playing with the Hip-Hop troupe, ConnXion.  Tommie went off to Butler University with the Jackson Creek Science Olympiad team and came back with two medals - we’re very proud of him!

And...I’d like to note, though, that there hasn’t been a single pie in ALL of February, which is UNACCEPTABLE, especially given that there are four pie fillings waiting in the freezer.  It may seem like winter is going to last forever but it isn’t.  Lastly, I have some fun pictures of the boys to share.  Tommie wore shorts and flip-flops on the day it reached well into the sixties, and Jacob is very proud of his new Minion hat (thanks Peg Dawson!).  

Life. Is. Full. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

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