Sunday, January 20, 2019

I’m ready for spring flowers!

This week I spent a lot of time on my commissioned series of felted tiles.  I’m happy to report that while all six are in various stages of completion, I did finish one of them!  The zinnia piece came in first, perhaps because I love the bright red flowers and how the colors pop against the black wool background.  The composition is highly dimensional, extending three or four inches from the background.  
I’ve highlighted this aspect with pictures taken from above and below to give several perspectives on the flower design and presentation. 

I also advanced a new piece that represents a new direction for me.  The color story is consistent with the key-based piece I just completed—it’s a brassy gold and black.  This composition features vintage light bulbs, electrical gadgets, light switches and capacitors.  
The idea for the piece has an unusual origin, so you’ll have to indulge me as I go back to the airport to drop off Grandma and Aunt Lois after their Christmas visit.  I didn’t want to leave the area until I was sure they were airborne.  That meant I could skip over to the Goodwill Outlet that is about five miles from the airport.  Nancy Riggert and I have scrounged it for costumes, but I often find odd objects, yarns, and roving that I use in my own weavings.  
I poked around there for an hour or so while I waited, and my scrounging turned up a big pile of vintage capacitors!  I’ll admit that at first I had no idea what they were, but I knew they looked too cool to pass up.  A Google image search revealed what they were, and my mind immediately skipped to thinking about what I could create with them.  I have always been attracted to vintage lighting and old electrical stuff, which made me decide I was like a moth.  Perfect!  I knew I would make a piece featuring vintage wiring and lighting that included an elegant luna moth.  I remember years ago visiting Chris Gustinout in Brown County, where she lives in a beautiful ranch house at the top of a hill.  Right there on the building that houses her large weaving studio was a luna moth.  It was the first I had ever seen live, and it was breathtaking!  I knew I needed to felt one, and that it will fit perfectly into this piece. 

Like every composition I imagine, the materials come from diverse sources and trigger new stories and memories.  When I described the composition to the ever-practical Jim, he seemed concerned about transporting a piece featuring a bunch of vintage lightbulbs.  I suppose he might be right this time, so I came up with including vintage light sockets into the weaving!  I could then remove the light bulbs for safe travel.  I remembered that several years ago I was poking around Ben Gibson’s garage and I had found a few perfect examples (not knowing I would need them, of course).  I needed more, which brought on an epiphany.  I first tried the local independent electronics repair stores without success.  They explained I was twenty years too late—surprisingly, they don’t “keep that kind of stuff around anymore!”  Then I thought of the local salvage company!  They are a scrapyard I’ve visited before that has bins they let me poke through for treasure.  To say the place itself is a little stinky, messy and dusty is an understatement, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t full of treasure!  
I have to endure the ‘it’s a wacky artist’ glances, but I found what I wanted.  I even snagged a pewter mug for Beauty and the Beast!  I brought my treasures home and washed them thoroughly, which means three rounds with lots of hot, soap water. 

When I was working with the bulbs and sockets I thought that some of the bulbs were about the same size as the old fashioned Christmas bulbs—the actual coppery base should fit in well.  I knew that Nancy was cleaning out her attic and I suspected she might have some old ones, and she did!  She was concerned they might be too plain, but I assured her I had a plan.  I cut them apart and added some dimensional interest to the surface with hot glue before I painted the whole thing a matte black.  I added a thin gold patina to the surface, and I just love how they look.  I’ll launch on the luna moth when I have some downtime between other projects.

As to the weaving itself, I’ve done the layout and I wove the image in a landscape format.  I want all the cords to be running top to bottom in straight lines.  I really like how it looks, but I still need to release it from the loom and stitch it into an oak frame.    

On the home front, I was able to get to all of my exercise classes this week.  My new year’s resolution, which started in December, was to take exercise more seriously.  I already had my E2C group that I work out with regularly.  We do some weight work and calisthenics followed by a half hour of yoga, which is wonderful and the stretching is great.  It enhances my flexibility to bend and reach for things in the art studio.  Still, I knew I needed more cardio.  Last week I attended all three of my friend Darrelyn’s morning Zumba classes to get me moving.  I just love dancing with her - she is just an enthusiastic ball of energy who makes dancing fun—thank you Darrelyn!  I figure I’ll get into better shape AND be able to justify even more pie! 

Until next week,

--> Martina Celerin

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