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 

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