Sunday, February 10, 2019

Snow and rain and pearls, oh my!

The weather has been crazy in Bloomington and all across the Midwest.  Of course each event in my life seems to spark a new design for a weaving, and the snow and cold of two weeks ago did the trick.  On our trip to Chicago two weeks ago we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art.  On the third floor we entered an exhibit through a cascading curtain of pearls that was really quite striking.  It felt like walking through crystallized, pearlescent snow.  That sort of stayed in my head for a while.  While I was working on my migrating bird series I got to thinking about birds that don’t migrate and have to manage the polar vortexes, heavy rains and high winds of Indiana.  
I immediately thought of cardinals and I decided I needed to make another piece to capture cardinals in snow.  You have to stay with me here, but somehow I got to thinking about the pearls that have been part of my life for the past year and a half, creating costumes for the musical Guys and Dolls.  Because it is set in the early fifties, there’s a lot of pearls in the girl’s costumes for the Runyonland scene.  Later, pearls are featured prominently in the number ‘Take back your minks, take back your pearls’.  I still had a small treasure chest full after completing all the costumes, which consumed a lot of pearls—the actual show pieces will likely appear at the senior banquet, so they are off limits.  I decided I was going to create my own display of falling snow pearls and began weaving a piece horizontally so I could incorporate them.  Eventually I’ll rotate the piece to let the pearls cascade to the ground as snow. My plan is to have a cardinal sitting on a dark branch that is snow covered.   Now that I’m into creating the piece, I really like all the variety of pearls that glisten much like the ice and snow does. 

I have also been advancing my commissioned piece of six felted tiles.  This week I worked on the goldfinch in the apple tree.  Upon careful inspection of apple leaves, I was intrigued by the prominent main vein.  To emphasize that feature I needed to create a strong crease in the needle felting process.  I really like that they truly look like apple leaves to me.  The finch is sort of tucked in there, providing that wonderful pop of color, like a little burst of sunshine packaged in a song.  

I also invested some time on collecting adventures, stopping in at JB salvage.  Who knew they were an art supply store!  I found some great vintage electronic gadgets for another piece that is still in my head.  I think the pressure of driving to Denver to show my work at Cherry Creek Art Fair is putting some real pressure on my artistic output!  Or maybe it’s just the cold and rain of winter, keeping me focused in my art studio.  Anyway, I have a mental sketch featuring fireflies at a charging station.  I know that sounds a little odd, but I think it’s going to work.  I’m imagining a blue black gradient backdrop covered with vintage outlets with a Victorian/steampunk feel and the fireflies plugging themselves in for recharging.  I came across some glow-in-the-dark fleece last week on Etsy and I’m pretty excited to make their little bums glow!

At home we have fallen back into our family routine.  Tommie finished his winter term and is back in Oberlin.  Jacob has re-engaged his packed schedule of school, teaching taekwondo, working on kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and studying for his SAT.  On Friday night when peace settled over the house, it was nice to have a fire in the fireplace and have a ‘crackers and cheese’ dinner to slow down, unwind and begin the weekend process of restoration.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the five and a half inches of rain that doused Bloomington on Thursday.  I’ve never seen anything like it!  Having survived many unfortunate water incursion events into my art studio I was prepared for the absolute worst.  The backyard became a giant water-covered swamp and rivers with category 4 rapids forming on each side of the house.  If there was a real bright spot to the week, it was that the only water I took on was from the manageable, localized seepage I get when the ground is saturated.  My heart goes out to my local art friends who suffered damage, but this time Nature spared my work space.  
If that wasn’t a good enough omen for the future, the smells of a lemon pie wafted upstairs as I was waking up this morning!  I had been a whole week without a pie, and I was getting worried.  I bet it goes well with espresso!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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