Saturday, November 17, 2018

Virtual Weaving

My first project of the week, before I launched into an intensive engagement with the computer, was to complete a free standing dove sculpture that I wrote about last week.  I’ve been making whimsical, colorful birds and one of my Facebook friends asked if I had ever made a dove.  Hmm... I could do that, I thought!  I pulled out my white fleeces and white yarns with the idea that I could layer white on white, making the slight color differences the focus of attention.  I love working with white on white, but when I came up with the idea for the design on the wings I knew I had my composition.  I think it’s vibrant without having any color. 

The project that took the most time this week was assembling an application for the call for a public art piece in the Zionsville Town Hall.  I would like to move in the direction of creating more large installation pieces.  For the application I first had to assemble a complete resume.  I don’t think I realized everything I have done over the years.  I had forgotten about many of the public art commissions, talks, and special projects in addition to all the art fairs, workshop and costuming on top of the hundreds of dimensional weavings I’ve created and sold.  It’s been quite a ride!  I even had a laugh out loud moment when I was searching my computer for images related to one of my recent pieces called “Pie Fruit.” 
The screen was filled with just a partial list of all the pie images that have appeared in my blog – and I still could scroll through another screen-full! And that doesn’t account for all the pies that have come my way.  It reminds me of what a sweet husband I have. 

My concept for the Zionsville proposal was to channel what I imagine their Farmers’ Market must be like and how that is like a Town Hall for meeting people and exchanging ideas.  I used our farmer’s market as a reference point, because my family and I go almost every Saturday that we’re home.  It’s a comforting ritual to engage the changing colors, smells and people we encounter each week as spring turns to summer then fall.  We usually come home with more produce than we expected, but we always run into friends that we haven’t seen in a while for a quick chat and connection.  I went through collections of images, some of which I had forgotten about, and it was nice to see strong pieces I had made years ago.  Because there is always a spark of an event or an experience that is the starting point for each of my weavings, I got to think about the family stories that went into piece.  As I make each piece there is a dialog that goes on between the piece and me.  The composition and process is interactive.  The stories have been in the back of my mind and it was nice to relive them as I produced descriptions for pieces I featured in the application. 

And - if you are interested in seeing a selection of my work in a group exhibit that focuses on food, I’m excited to announce that I will be participating in an exhibit at the Garfield Park Arts Center in December called“Palate: An Appetite for Art.”  The opening reception is on December 7th from 6-8 p.m. and the show will be up until Dec 29th. 

This week I played a little more with dyeing using a very unconventional approach.  A couple of weeks ago, after I did my first dye bath with black walnuts, I still had plenty of dye.  I decided to over-dye some intense red cotton yarn - of which I probably have far more than I’ll ever need.  As I was washing the yarn, which I always do before I plunk it in the dye bath, I noticed that it was bleeding a lot of dye.  I thought—hmmm—what could I do with that red?  I finished the overdyeing project and I did get a really pretty deeper muted red, but this week I decided to try and tap into the concept of transferring the dye color.  I wound a large skein of red and just put it into the dye pot and let it boil for an hour.  Lo and behold the dye pot was almost black because of all the dye that leached from the yarn.  I pulled the source yarn out and, because I didn’t have any alum, I threw in some aluminum foil and half a cup of vinegar with the thought that some might leach out and behave like a mordant.  
Of course the scientist in me wishes I had done a controlled experiment [similar pot, no aluminum foil and vinegar] but the fiber artist in my said:  “who cares, I just want the dyed wool!” I grabbed about a half a pound of fleece, washed it, and put it in the pot to boil and let it steep overnight.  The next day I pulled it out and wow, what an amazing red!  And yes, it is fixed to the fleece.  I’m very pleased with how the experiment turned out.

Last, after a long run of wonderful raspberry pies that culminated with a pumpkin spice apple pie when the berries ran out, there will be no fresh pie this weekend.  I sure do hope I can make it until the Thanksgiving pies kick in!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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