Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Keys to My Success

I’m continuing on my new year’s plan to finish pieces.  This week I put the final touches on my piece called ‘The Key’.  I have been collecting brass keys for several years, not knowing what I wanted to do with them.  I’m fascinated by their shape and the powers they possess.  The vintage stylized keys that opened jail cells in old movies are a study in contrast, with the curving head or bow of the key and the stark angles of the shank and bit.  
The visual image of each key is so powerful it can evoke memories as easily as opening a door.  As I was cleaning and sorting keys I picked one up labeled ‘Datsun’, which immediately made me think of driving around with my friend Evelyn in her well well-traveled little car.  I don’t know how it held together, but her husband Karel kept it on the road.  Another key was exactly the same shape as the one that opened my father’s veterinary hospital.  Every third weekend I was responsible for feeding the animals at the clinic and cleaning their cages.  I know that each key in my collection has had a rich history on its journey through time to me, from function to collection.   

Keys are also powerful metaphors for opening new directions in our lives.  I remembered the time when I was at what proved to be a major decision point.  I was coloring with crayons on the kitchen floor with Tommie while I nursed Jacob, wondering if I could transition out of science and back into my roots as an artist.  I had invested years in earning my Ph.D. and I was developing a research project as a post-doc, but at that moment art seemed much more immediate and powerful to me.  While there wasn’t a physical key involved, the support I got from Jim was the emotional key I needed to begin a new direction.  In my piece ‘The Key’, the summer tanager is perched tentatively at the open door of the cage looking out.  I can almost sense that the bird is trying to decide which direction to travel and why.  It’s not aggressively flying away, it’s weighing its choices for the future.  I see the piece as a story of possibilities, the freedom to fly in any direction, rather than signaling escape.   

From a technical standpoint, the cage itself is constructed from reclaimed florist’s wire that I wrapped in black yarn.  I worked from a sketch I made to scale in two dimension where I could predict how much I needed of each component in three dimensions.  I wrapped each individual piece and glued them together to make the cage.   

I kept my other projects moving forward this week, completing the fern pinnae (the leaflets of the fern) I need for one of my felted tiles.  I assembled the fronds and attached them to the black background.  I really like my design that has the pinnae projecting forward to emphasize the dimensional nature of the structure rather than laying flat against the background.  I still need to make the wee frog that will cling to the main vein of one of the fronds, but for now I’m going to enjoy the completed sculpture.    

In Bloomington, the first real snow of the season arrived on Saturday.  I got to test out my new snow boots, and boy are they terrific!  Nancy Riggert and I, my partner in scrounging for costume parts, often score fabulous finds for ourselves.  She spied these barely used boots and knew I was looking for some—thanks Nancy!  The snow shovels came out Saturday morning, and Jacob was off to a shoveling gig, with Tommie as his right-hand shoveler.  
Jim stayed home and cleared the laneway and walk to the door.  I just enjoyed a quiet day in the house.  But the best news about waking up to snow was the smell of espresso and a freshly baked blueberry pie!  Thanks sweetie pie! 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

No comments:

Post a Comment