Saturday, February 18, 2017

Back to the studio…

I spent a feverishly productive month in January costuming for the fall production of Hello Dolly put on by Sounds of South.  I’ll share some images later, but I want to begin with my February efforts in the art studio.  The reality of all my commitments is settling in with a couple of deadlines looming.  One big project is to assemble pieces for an exhibit called “Feast your Eyes” at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I will be shipping several pieces, including a collection of six felted tiles featuring southern fruits.  I have some citrus pieces that I made before, but I challenged myself to create a peach.  The flesh and skin of the peach is much like that of an apple, but the colors are very different.  I blended deep yellows with almost maroon fleece to develop the mottled streaky texture of a peach skin.  The real challenge, though, was making the pit. 
The texture is so obviously distinctive and interesting.  I used fleece that I dyed intensely with onion skins where the color came out so dark that seemed perfect for a peach pit.  Different fleeces take up different amounts of the dye, and I find that the lighter materials are actually perfect for creating felted onion skins.  The pit features concavities in the surface, but I then forced the shadowing by using a natural very dark brown, almost black fleece.  I’m really pleased with how it all came out! 

After the peach construction, I still needed one final traditional fruit for South Carolina.  I chose figs because my cousin in Mississippi, Martha, always talked about making fig preserves.  Several years ago I finally had a chance to try some real southern preserves when she brought some to Michigan and they were amazing.  Of course we needed our own.  We were inspired to plant a Midwest-hardy fig tree and each year we get a few more figs but still not enough for a preserves.  Clearly figs are a more southern thing and are plentiful there, although evidently they are becoming harder to find, even in the south.  The commercial jams that we can buy here are OK, but they are nothing like the preserves that Martha brought.  Anyway, my experiences led me to felt some figs for the project.  I will also ship “My Roots” to fill out the exhibit, which opens June 10 and runs until September 17th. 

In other fun news, I received an unexpected call from the editor of Bloom Magazine.  It seems that the editor, Malcolm Abrams, found my exhibit (Nature to Nurture) at the Bloomington Bagel Company on the east side of town.  He offered to write a story about my art and the exhibit for the April/May issue of Bloom.  I stopped in to the Bloom offices for a photo shoot the next day and I anticipate that it will turn it into a nice story—I’ll let you know when it’s out!  

With the teasingly warm weather I’m of course starting to think of the glorious days of summer and hanging out by the water.  That inspired me to complete a couple of water pieces that I started late last year.  I’m channeling the inner birches of my childhood, and I have woven some grasses for the background and should be attaching birches later this week.  For now, I’ve hung the unfinished piece at a prominent spot in my studio so I can stare at the water and enjoy the calming waves as I collect my thoughts for future pieces. 

Just to tease you with an update and a few pictures from the Hello Dolly costuming, I have all of the current member girls Sunday best costumes designed.  Many moms have spent lots of time attaching all of the bits and pieces that I have pinned together on the mannequins to create each costume.  I usually have about five mannequins in progress and I just move from one to the next while my sewing and gluing faeries capably bring the costumes to life. 

In family news we are screaming up to the boy’s second degree black belt test.  It will take place on March 4 at 2:30 pm at Monroe County Martial Arts.  If you’re in the area, please stop by to cheer them on!  We’ll have a reception afterwards catered by the Owlery.  I’m expecting lots of whooping and hollering and hugs all around when the kicking stops and the sweat settles into the carpet.  Also looking forward, tonight Jacob and I have tickets to Georgia McBride, put on by the Cardinal stage company.  I’m told it’s the story of an Elvis impersonator that reinvents himself as a drag queen.  And I’m told that the costumes are amazing!  I can’t wait.  
 I think we’ll combine the show with a fancy schmancy dinner and call it a night on the town. 
On the pie front I am barely surviving.  I can’t even remember the last pie.  I’ll have to check my phone for the last pie pictures to see how long the drought has been!  Oh wait, I guess I did have a very nice tart cherry pie the last time I was in a pie drought.  Oh, and I guess there was a very nice peach pie a couple less than two weeks later.  It just feels like its been months!  That’s good enough for me—I need another pie!  We haven’t had blueberry or apple yet this year.  Just sayin’.    

Until next week

Martina Celerin

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