Sunday, December 20, 2015

Art and Merry Making Collide in the Holidays

I carved out some time this week to get some work done in my studio while the boys were still in school and the full pressure of the holiday crunch had yet to set in.  My focus was on a willow piece, and I made wonderful progress on needle felting tree trunks.  I wrapped wires to create the branches using a mottled fleece combination of slate brown and cream colors.  The background is now also complete, which features a water structure that I created by crocheting together about twenty different yarns.  I like to use some silvery-sparkly threads to get the glistening effect of the midday sun on the water.  I crocheted a green peninsula into the piece to serve as a base for my willow on its own little patch of land.  Sometimes I feel this way about my more outlandish ideas, like I’m out on my own little peninsula trying to make things work out!  I have attached the willow to the background, but I still have to attach the dangling branches that will flesh out the tree.  The last touch will be to add some weathered rocks that we collected last summer from Topsail Island in North Carolina. 
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Dawn Adams and I went to see the latest exhibits at the Indiana University art museum.  One exhibit (Grand Allusions) was by an emeritus faculty names Robert Barnes.  These were large-scale narrative pieces perhaps four feet square each and loaded with visual information.  I was simply enchanted by the works.  The one striking feature that connected many individual pieces was the use of a brilliant red color.  Earlier in the week Dawn had invited me to go to a noon talk at the art museum where the speaker discussed the idea of amulets created from natural materials, which inspired me to re-imagine my own earth pieces and design a new composition (Amulets for the Earth) for my ‘From the Earth’ exhibition for next year.  But as I sat and listened I kept looking at the artwork around me and was drawn back into the brilliant reds hanging around me.  The color had been haunting me to the point where it had to come out in some form.  I interrupted my willow piece to do something crafty, kind of like eating some salty potato chips when you know you should be eating salad—there was an immediate craving I had to satisfy.  Because I’m also focused on the Christmas season I made two wreaths.  The first included the ‘Barnes’ red, while the second one blazes with it.  Now that I’ve finished the second one I’ll get back to my willow. 

The big family project for the week is home decoration for Christmas.  The boys are hugely enthusiastic to tackle this, having already put a tree and lights around their room.  They put on jingly elf garb, played Christmas carols and started decorating.  The tree was the target for yesterday.  They put up all the ornaments collected over the years, so it’s fun for me to pull them out and remember the stories around them.  Next on the agenda is cookie baking for the boys and stollen for me (yes, spellchecker, I mean stollen—I’d wrest an umlaut from you too if I could, Microsoft!). 
 Grandma tells me every year that she doesn’t care if the house is clean or if anything else is on the menu, but we must have stollen (two kinds) for Christmas morning breakfast.  As I sat and enjoyed my Sunday morning espresso (thanks Jim!) and read the newspaper, I came across a big image of my work from the Convention Center exhibit (thanks Herald Times!).  The only thing that was missing was pie.  I hear raspberry goes well with the holidays!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin 

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