Sunday, December 16, 2018

Colorful Fish in a Drab Pond

I love it when a project comes together! I feel like I’m on the home stretch to completing my pond piece.  A couple of weeks (and blogs) ago I made a set of felted rocks of mottled greens and brown that would feel right at home on a river bottom.  I’m very pleased with how they turned out.  This was lily pad week, and the flat lily pad leaves will define the surface of the water, shading the spawning koi.  I dug into one of my bins of green fleece and pulled out several greens that I thought I could blend into a realistic lily pad color.  I got to cranking with my handy drum carder and produced a color I’m very happy with.  
The next step was to bend some used baling wire into lily pad shapes and connected stems for support.  The base of the lily pads lies behind the actual weaving and allow the lily pad to extend forward and above the fish.  That leaves the fish to complete.  Fortunately, Jacob needed a haircut on Friday, which gave me a chance to start needle felting them.  Of course I get strange looks at places like the barbershop, but that’s never stopped me.  The real challenge is to take a stationary, felted fish and present it as a living fish under the water.  
I want the art piece to capture a snapshot of the movement of the fish, so I’m building curves into the bodies that I’ll build on as the fish come together.  I anticipate using bright orange, black and white colors to make two fish that really stand out against he somewhat drab colors of the underwater scene. 

This week I launched into some of my Christmas shopping, and I found myself scouring Big Lots for some silly gifts.  I noticed they had a big bottle of turmeric for 99 cents!  Don’t they know how valuable that is for dyeing?  
Of course I bought a jar, but I didn’t anticipate using it this week.  I’m also working on a weaving that will feature Mexican sunflowers, and I calculated that I need around 100 petals for my composition.  That will be a tedious task, but it also means I need to create the green pedicels that display the leaves.  I pulled out my box of felted balls for the starting substrate, but I only had teal balls in hand.  Rather than creating a bunch more I tried overdyeing with turmeric.  A quick online search gave me the skeleton for a procedure.  
I created a paste with two tablespoons of turmeric, to which I added a half cup of vinegar and two quarts of water in a dye pot and set it to boil.  I popped in my wetted teal felt balls, and within five minutes they were a beautiful green!  It was so successful I went straight to my store of teal yarn skeins and used the yellow dye in the turmeric to convert them to a very attractive and useful green.  Let’s just say that in the end I used up the entire jar of turmeric and have five skeins of cotton and wool yarns. 

This time of year is also when I start to hear about the applications I made for art fairs.  My first show will be the Ridgeland Art Fair in Mississippi in early April.  I’m excited to trek down there and be able to stay with family.  
I have also finalized a trip to the Garage Sale Art Fair in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Saturday February 24th.  It will be a fun girls adventure because I’m going with Dawn Adams.  If you’re going to be near either of those places, mark your calendars—I’d love to see you!  I’ll update my blog and website as the rest of my art fair applications are juried. 

This week was a big milestone as my sweetie-pie turned sixty.  He didn’t want a big to-do, so we just had a crackers and cheese dinner in front of the fire with a nice bottle of wine (thanks Steve and Linda Scott!).  
Yes, there was pie—thank you Gwen Witten for her famous derby pie, which was just delightful.  It goes well with wine.  Who knew?  And thank you Cindy Creek, for asking Jim when there would be another fruit pie.  That’s exactly what I was wondering!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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