Sunday, May 18, 2014

May showers bring rhubarb pie for Mother’s Day

The cool May weather has kept me inside most of the time.  Still, I’ve been having such a great time working on my ants.  I borrowed a giant book about ants from Mike Hogan (thanks Mike!) and I spent most of Mother’s Day sitting on the comfy sofa, examining the fine structural details of big-headed ants.  It is important to me to understand how an organism works to begin to understand which features are most relevant and must be included in the sculpture.  After my session with the book I started working on the major worker ant.  I began needle felting the body, adding lobes and structure, cutting away and molding surfaces that aren’t just right, and honing in on the body I want.  I’m working from 2D images to create a 3D structure, so sometimes it's a struggle to wrap my head around how to synthesize the 3D image from the flat picture.  The next phase is to attach the arms and antennae.  I made the anterior limbs, but the second and third pairs were just too big.  Instead of trying to fix those, I just started over on those features.  The good news is that the large legs I made will be “just right” for the larger supermajor caste that is next on my art agenda.  I still need to create the all the facial features too, but I feel really good about my progress.  If I have any concern, it’s that the number of images available for the supermajor and queen big-headed ant are limited.  I also borrowed the genus resource book from the IU library—I hope that’s enough.  E.O. Wilson, I need you!

I have two other big commissions in the background.  One is on hold as I wait for fabric swatches to arrive to personalize the piece.  But I’m enjoying the wait - I  like sitting next to the piece in the art studio and having it keep me company.  As I work, I get to glance up at the path trailing off into the distance.  Sometimes it’s really good to just let a piece sit and ferment for a while before launching into it again with renewed enthusiasm.   
My other project is a large format commission of fall aspen grove.  I spent much of this week in the studio wrapping aspen tree trunks appropriate for the foreground, background and middle distances.  There is a size and tint gradient for the trunks as they recede into the distance that I try to capture in my tree pieces - that takes special care.  As I got deeper into the canopy construction, I realized that I probably won’t have enough of my hand dyed mohair boucle.  That means the dye pots will come out in the next few weeks.   
On the bright side, I did find some perfect yarn at the event when the Monroe County Civic Theater cleared out two of their storage lockers to downsize their years of collected props and raw materials.  Thanks MCCT!  I had fun sifting through your treasures!!

On the family front, we’ve been having delightful family dinners on the newly cleaned-up veranda, even when it was raining.  I did get the traditional rhubarb pie for Mother’s day last Sunday.  
 This year it was mostly rhubarb with a few strawberries mixed in.  The crust (and pie) was unusually good this year!  Should I hope for another while rhubarb season is still here?  Hmmm. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

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