Sunday, June 22, 2014

Weaving Water and Reclaiming Re-Shirts

I’m working on an exhibition in October called ‘Looking at Water.  I have been distracted by family projects, such as our trip to North Carolina and a family gathering in Michigan, so the weaving sat unfinished for some time.  I was so excited to get back into my studio earlier this week and start work on it that I released the piece from the loom before I finished weaving the sky.  Argh!  I hate that sinking feeling in your stomach when you know you’ve done something silly that can’t easily be fixed.  When life gives you lemons you have to do something.  Jim has been bugging me to try a wall piece where the background is needle felted instead of woven, and this seems like the perfect compromise.  I’m actually getting excited about it!  The woven part has a lot of movement that really is consistent with water.  The sky will be felted, allowing it to be smooth and softer by contrast.  I’m hoping to add some felted and dimensional clouds to the piece.  I’m excited about trying to pull it all together. 

The new piece will feature a dock.  I’ve stretched the woven part into the frame and I’ve layered on to a mock-up of the wooden structure.  This helps me get the scale right and the paper pieces are a good template for cutting the boards.  
 I’m creating the wooden parts out of the last of Grandpa’s army blanket pieces.  To make them look like sun-bleached wood I’ve been needle felting grey-white wool onto the shaped blanket pieces.  I was pleasantly surprised during the process as the olive green blanket crept through to the surface to make kind of a greeny-brown color.  The color just clicks for me as a good dock material.

And so to back up a little and share some family stories - we spent a few wonderful days visiting with family in Michigan.  Scott and Cathy Drummond flew in from California, Tim and Bobi Drummond came in from New Mexico, and Haley and the new baby Arya from New Mexico were there when we arrived.  Arya is walking with confidence and quite an independent thinker.  Scott introduced the boys to a new game called Boxcars.  They’ve been enjoying that ever since.   
We enjoyed a nice walk through the Bay City craft fair with Aunt Lois, and the boys enjoyed archery and badminton.  They also drove around on Miss Daisy, Grandma’s golf cart, which Arya found very entertaining.  Meal times were big and busy, especially the night we had pizza on the patio with family friends the Gibsons (Ben and Kathey) from next door.  The weather was beautiful—cool with low humidity and very few bugs. 

The drive back from Michigan was a great time for me to felt some tomatoes.  I’m going to revisit a piece I made a few years back called ‘Homegrown Tomatoes’.  It featured sixty-seven individual tomatoes of all varieties, shapes and sizes.  I really liked that piece, and while sixty-seven sounds overwhelming, it isn’t so bad if they’re done a few at a time every few weeks.  I giggled as I placed some of my felted tomatoes on the garden tomato plants in the back yard.  I took a picture and posted it on Facebook.  It seems that I have both skeptical and gullible friends!

Yesterday I did Art Fair on the Square here in Bloomington, which is a delightful regional show.  I decided to do it with my Re-Shirts rather than my large-woven wall pieces.  My shirts were very well received, with lots of people excited about the style and the fact that they were made from reclaimed and recycled fabrics.  I’m pleased to report that many of them went off to new homes.  I also enjoyed watching people’s faces when they realized that I do the three dimensional wall pieces they’ve seen elsewhere.  “Oh, that’s you!” was a phrase I heard many times.  I also had to assure many people that I was not moving away from doing wall pieces, and that making my art clothing was my hobby.   
From a practical artist perspective, I was thrilled that we were packed up and driving home within a half an hour of the show ending.  That’s an absolute, all time record that will never happen with the wall pieces!  At home I was treated to a celebratory dinner of flatbread.  We had cheese treasures from Williams cheese factory in Pinconning Michigan, including beer cheddar spread, along with Bruschetta and aged Gouda from Trader Joe’s that we picked up on the drive home from Michigan.  A bottle of Red Silk shiraz from Australia topped it all off.  This morning I woke up to the smell of baking pie.  It made for a very decadent Sunday lunch with a second cup of coffee!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

From Topsail Island to the Sounds of South

The past two weeks have just been packed.  I spent a lot of time on volunteer work, making skirts for the Sounds of South musical theater group that represents Bloomington South High School.  Tommie is a new participant, and the first performance will be Phantom of the Opera this fall.  A large parent support group is needed to put on the productions.  I’m helping sew costumes.  What landed on my lap was twelve show choir dresses, and I was asked to create seventeen knee-length skirts based on the measurements provided.  I had to rip a lot of seams to get my starting material.  I supplemented what I had with white fabric from the recycle center, old tablecloths and the boy’s old Taekwondo outfits to fill out the blank underskirts.  And the best news is:  they’re all done!  All week long I did nothing but sew, sew, sew.  The weather cooperated, allowing us to have dinner on the veranda.  The dining room was converted to the sewing room and I left all the scraps and tools lying about for the week.  When I laid the seventeen skirts together they make a delightful Jellyfish!
Now they hang in the closet until I have to give them up. 

Also this week, Tommie went to Washington, DC with his eighth grade peers.  He had a great time while we followed the events on Facebook.  They visited all the monuments, museums and even hit a dinner cruise and Six Flags amusement park.   
Jacob did a sailing camp on Lake Monroe and had a great time on the water.  Jim’s long-time friend from Michigan, Roger, came to visit this week.  The visit culminated in a dinner out at the Owlery on Friday night.  Jacob took a great picture of us inside (you see his friend Niki and Roger (and their Fedoras) next to the window.  Everyone had a great time, including Jacob, who got to learn some programming from Roger during the week. 

We also fit in our annual family vacation to Topsail Island.  We rented a house right on the beach and indulged ourselves with fresh fish, nice wine and beach activities all week long.  This year we traveled east in our van.  That was nice, especially passing through the Blue Ridge Mountains on the way.  Jacob and I rented beach bikes with huge tires and rode the ten miles or so into Surf City on the sand.  Jim and Tommie went on a deep sea adventure and came back with some nice snapper.  
 They also did some surf fishing, catching bluefish, pinfish and sharks.  Jacob took up skim boarding, zipping along the beach or launching himself over the surf.  We all enjoyed boogie boarding or looking for fossilized shark’s teeth—I think that was Jim’s favorite beach activity this year.  
 Everyone enjoyed the grilled fish we found at Mitchell’s and Surf City Crab seafood markets.  We discovered the joys of match-light charcoal and learned how to get hot coals.  This year we enjoyed tuna, swordfish, grouper, and snapper.  And of course we had to have the dessert that says you’re having a good time, a fresh fruit pie!   
The berries weren’t ready for us because of the cool spring so we ended up having a peach pie.  I can’t wait for the tart cherries to appear at the Farmer’s Market!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin