Sunday, November 29, 2015

Painting, pumpkin pie and Pippin

My carpe diem project for today is to paint a new set of frames before the harsh cold days of winter set in.  This past week saw me puttying and sanding frames that Thom Bertolacini made for me.  They’re locally sourced oak frames that he builds and I finish.  I need a stockpile for the new weavings I’ll create this winter, and today is predicted to be the last fifty-degree day for a while.  That’s the critical temperature for success with my frame paint, so I have my afternoon blocked off. 

I also began work on the subjects for my next weaving, which will be ‘Fall Stew’.  I told the family story of Fall Stew in the last blog if you’re interested, but basically it used to be a fall tradition to prepare a medley stew of fall roots and vegetables from the Farmer’s Market.   
I’ve pulling dyed fleece from my extensive collection this week and matched it up with the vegetables I’ve selected.  Now I’ll work on needle felting vegetables in my down time.  The boys have lots of activities that will be helpful, but I have my own ‘welcome to 50’ screening procedure that will give me lots of down time to fill with vegetable felting.  I imagine I’ll have my harvest of roots ready before the Christmas holiday. 

My latest Thanksgiving tradition, started last year, was to sketch costumes for next year’s musical production for Sounds of South.  Next year they’ll do Pippin, which will be set in a circus.  I’m imagining the chorus as an ensemble of vintage-costumed circus performers with a hint of steam punk and Alexander McQueen – a little funky and a little wacky!   
The color palette I’m presently envisioning is emerald, amethyst and sapphire, with silver and black as the neutral colors.  With the caveat that these are just my musings that haven’t been agreed upon with the key players, here’s a peek at a first draft of a small set of costumes as I imagined them on my trip.  If you’re interested in my costuming efforts, I'm sure you’ll see more on the blog and Facebook as the year unfolds. 

On the family front we drove to Michigan for the Thanksgiving holiday.   
We made ginger glazed salmon and a skillet dish that I have yet-to-name with sautéed butternut squash, potatoes, onions, garlic and thyme.  I topped it with some feta cheese and broiled it briefly before serving.  Along with broccoli and cheese sauce, the salad from Aunt Lois, Grandma made pumpkin pies topped with pecans swimming in a brown sugar and butter glaze.  Add family and whipping cream and it was a fine thanksgiving dinner!

Back at home, before I was even awake Sunday morning, scouring the kitchen for coffee, I noticed Tommie in the back yard raking the last of the fall leaves!  How terrific is that!  Could there be any sad news amidst all the sketching, art making and family time? 
If you need a hint, here’s what my pie pan currently looks like.  Something’s missing!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Monday, November 23, 2015

The last enchanted rose petal fell…

I am settling back into my writer’s chair, having just rediscovered my art studio and finding just enough time to write about my life again.  I delighted in an extraordinarily packed summer wherein I traveled to art fairs, fulfilled commissions, and created the costumes for Sounds of South’s Beauty and theBeast.  I had a wonderfully successful art fair season, including winning a ‘Best in Show’ award in Madison, Wisconsin’s Art Fair on the Square.  It’s a huge honor, and it includes an automatic invitation to participate in the 2016 event.  I’m already looking forward to traveling back to Madison!  The real elephant in the room, though, which kept me away from blogging, was my role in creating costumes for Beauty and the Beast.  The whole project came together wonderfully as the summer wound down.  The culmination of the process was opening night, October 17th, when I got to sit in the audience with my hubby and watch the spectacle unfold.  The extraordinarily talented kids, including my son Tommie, really brought the costumes to life and the performance was simply amazing.  I couldn’t help but cry as the story unfolded.  All through the show’s run and beyond the response of the audience has been beyond words.  The entire process, from conceptual design of the costumes to putting the costumes into storage has been incredibly gratifying and unforgettable. 

The end of the run of Beauty and the Beast coincided with the beginning of my fall holiday show season.  That meant that there was little time to regroup before showing my art at the Convention Center.  Now I’m done with shows for the season and I can focus my December on my family and new art creation.  I can re-enter my own little nest, surrounded by boxes and boxes of yarns and collected materials.  I see myself as ‘not too busy’, but my loving spouse might disagree.  I currently have two exhibits hanging and I’m delivering pieces for the third on Monday.  The Bloomington Bagel Company in the Shoppes has ‘Changing Seasons’ and the Convention Center has the group exhibit ‘A Celebration of the Arts’.  The new exhibit will be the Member’s Exhibit of the SDA, the Surface Design Association, at the Blue Line Gallery.  Finally, in mid-December I’ll be sharing my adventures into a different medium by hanging a series of my colored pencil sketches at the Bagel Company on Dunn Street.  The series is called ‘My Summer Vacation’ and features drawings from a trip to Topsail Island in North Carolina this past May.  There will be opening receptions on December 4th for two of the exhibits, so it’s party time!  I’ll give more information in the next blog if you’re interested in attending. 

My major project for November and December is to catch up on all of my business accounting and apply for the next round of summer art fairs.  It’s not very glamorous work, but it’s a necessary task if I want to travel next summer.  I’ll also keep busy doing art during my waiting times when the boys are doing Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu jitsu, Hip Hop and voice lessons.  I have to keep my hands occupied, so I’ve been needle felting small fruit slices for a new composition.  This past summer I created a piece, ‘Fruit Platter’, that I completed the day before we left for Madison Wisconsin.  We set up the booth and hung the piece, and the very first piece that sold was Fruit Platter.  I feel like I never got to enjoy it, and I never got a quality image of the piece.  I’ve been working on Fruit Platter II, which is now finished and I love this one too!  It is appearing in the Convention Center exhibit and in my application portfolio for summer art fairs. 

The arrival of cooler weather means its time to hunker down and cook chili, soup and lasagna for the freezer.  Everything I do, though, takes me back to art.  I began to recall years passed when we made ‘Fall Stew’ every year by collecting roots from the farmer’s market and cooking them into family dinners.  It sounds very romantic and fulfilling, and it was for a few years.  We made so much of it that it became a bit of a family joke that no one looked forward to.  I missed the nostalgia of it, so to celebrate the memory I’m creating a weaving called ‘Fall Stew’.  It will feature sliced tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, carrots, onions and other roots.  The vegetables will undoubtedly be my handwork project to pass the time during boy activities over the next month or so. 

For those of you who might be concerned that I didn’t get enough pies over the summer break in the blog, rest assured.  I paused during cherry pie season, about the time that Jim put a special pie filling in the freezer for our Mississippi relatives when they came for the Beauty and the Beast performance.  Since then we’ve had tart and sweet cherry, blueberry, peach, rhubarb, rhubarb blueberry, and persimmon pies.  The persimmon version was just a little too intense gastrically, so we won’t be making it again.  My last pie, sadly, was October 24th when we pulled the tart cherry pie filling from the freezer for our guests.  Martha had never had a real cherry pie—I’m sorry, the canned stuff just doesn’t count.  The pie was awesome, but now it’s time for more!  I’m just going to have to suffer through pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving until I can get back on track with the freezer full of fruit pie filling, just waiting to have their pie dreams fulfilled!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin