Sunday, November 4, 2018

Things are Humming Along!

Birds are flying in and out of my life right now.  I participated in the annual Spinners and Weavers Guild show at the Bloomington Convention Center over the weekend, and I displayed my new whimsical birds and bird-themed weavings created over the summer.  Two of the whimsical birds found their forever homes and I was commissioned to create two more.  They seemed to make a lot of fair-goers very happy, so I’m calling that project a success.  My latest bird piece is ongoing, however, and I devoted a substantial block of time this week to creating a hummingbird.  I’m imagining a full sized weaving featuring three clusters of flowers from a trumpet vine, where the compound leaves cascade forward from the woven background.  I was pretty excited when I created the trumpet flowers about a month ago, and they have patiently waited for a hummingbird to come along to pass some pollen from bloom to bloom.  
The change in weather (and the end of my role in costuming) allowed me the time to bring the hummingbird to life.  I’m pretty excited about the composition as a whole, and I can’t wait to assemble it. 

The end of one project brings another, and I need to set aside my birds for a few days to focus on my upcoming workshop this weekend here in Bloomington.  It has been a long time since I was able to hold a workshop where I can sleep in my own bed!  It will take place on Saturday from 9-4 at the St. Thomas Lutheran Church on Third Street.  If you are interested, there are still three slots open—let me know and I’ll connect you with the organizer.  The workshop focuses on needle felting techniques, and we will create – yup – birds!  
They can be any kind of bird your heart desires, from representational to whimsical, from drab to colorful, and from small to large.  I plan to have a great time, with lots of laughter, enthusiasm, and transfer of information and ideas. 

This week I continued on my quest to create a fun dye pot using natural materials.  Avocado shells and nuts were the featured material, which my son Jacob has been collecting for me.  He likes to make avocado toast for breakfast, and he slips the unwanted materials in a big ziplock bag in the freezer for me.  I scoured the web for tips on how to dye with avocados and I found two important details for creating a nice pinky-brown wool.  The first is to carefully wash the materials to remove any remaining avocado flesh, and the second is to raise the pH of the solution.  I added a half a cup of baking soda to my four gallons of dye and boiled my freshly washed wool for an hour.  
The pot steeped overnight and I pulled the fleece out the next day.  The rainy weather slowed the drying process, but now I have an almost dry wool.  I’ll add it to my stash of wools in the category of ‘this will be just perfect for something, I just don’t know what yet’ in my vast fiber storage area. 

The week ended with a delightful celebratory dinner after the show, where Jim made ginger glazed salmon with fresh ginger from the farmer’s market.  Steamed broccoli and jasmine rice completed the meal, and a beautiful and delicious raspberry pie followed for dessert.  Add a glass of celebratory wine and it’s clear that life is good.  Full, but very good.    

Until next week,

--> Martina Celerin

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