Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring green yarns and blue skies…

I’ve been on a blog hiatus, where it just seems I have too much going on to sit down for a quiet moment to share my projects and thoughts.  April has brought me back into the art studio, which is my favorite place to be in my personal weaving world.  I’ve been observing and admiring the world and the trees coming back to life in the splendid greens of spring.  My muse of spring leaves always sends me scrambling to pull out my dye pots to simmer verdant brews on the stovetop to mimic the soft first greens.  I wound big skeins of yarns in preparation, so when the sun was shining and the weather mild I processed plenty of material for my first weavings of the year.   

The process of dyeing of course drew me into thinking about creating trees under blue skies in my art studio.  The two of them are usually found with water, so the boxes of blues have come out of storage as well.  I just shipped a nice willow piece to its new happy home, and I was delighted to see a picture of it on the wall.  I already miss the piece a little, so I might need to weave another variation that features a willow.  I’ll just have to see what speaks to me over the next few weeks.

I’m also preparing for my workshop next month in Northern Ohio.  It’s a two-day affair and I’ll be doing a trunk show, so I’ll bring a range of goodies for show and tell.  I’ll bring most of my explorations, from Re-shirts to wreaths and everything in between - including a big collection of my weavings.  In my spare time I’ve been building looms for the participants, which means trips to the Re-Store to get lumber-with-a-history, brackets, and screws.  Kleindorfer’s Hardware fills in the materials I can’t find there.  The warm weather means I get to do a lot of the loom building on the veranda in the fresh air, which is a welcome venue for assembling things.  

I wanted to share an epiphany I had about creating textures on the surface of needle felted structures.  Most of the creatures in my weavings have been scaly or slimy, so I rarely have to create fuzzy creatures.  I’ve never really tried to solve the problem of creating furry surfaces that satisfied me.  I was at the Recycle Center and picked up a piece of handmade fake fur.  I poked around and pulled at it to see how it was made, and I immediately wanted to explore some variations and ideas to reproduce and expand the effect.  I just gave myself some fleece, commercial felt and twine and went to work.  It wasn’t intended to be an exploration of color, just technique.  It was like an old school sampler piece that explored the textures I could produce from the materials by combining techniques.  I’m really pleased with how it all turned out, even if I can’t see how it will lead to anything directly.  Sometimes you just have to give yourself the freedom to create without a goal in mind. 

As I have re-embraced weaving this month, the props and costumes for Hello Dolly are never too far in the background.  My compatriot sewing faeries have been busily completing outfits, for which I’m forever grateful.  When I was visiting with a volunteer at Opportunity House, she offered me some old trunks and vintage clothing that had been in her attic for many years.  After vacuuming, a little washing and a final oiling, all the trunks and luggage will look amazing on stage.  
The bonus was that the trunks were full of treasures as well, mostly vintage clothing from the turn of the century.  Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of mouse damage, but after freezing to kill unwanted insects and their friends, and two gentle wash cycles I still do have a lot of usable clothing and trim for costumes this year.  How awesome is it to have real period clothing for the performance!

Life at home continues apace, or even a little faster than that.  Tommie was inducted into the national honor society earlier this month and is looking now to learn to drive.  Jacob performed on stage with the Jaywalkerz in Hip Hop Connxion.  They had been training that performance for several months.  Both boys have a new exploit, having taken up ultimate Frisbee.  This fills two more evenings a week.  That’s on top of teaching Taekwondo four evenings a week.  They come home exhausted but happy.  Saturday morning excursions to the farmer’s market have begun again, which is very nice to have back in our routine.  The city is becoming colorful again with spring flowers, from daffodils to irises, with a few first poppies showing up.  It’s a beautiful time of year!  Oh, and if you’re keeping track, there have been three pies!  A delightful blueberry pie came first, then a tart cherry pie, and an even better blueberry pie came Sunday morning.  That will be breakfast, with coffee or espresso, for the next couple of days.  Life is good!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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