Sunday, March 31, 2019

It’s up!

My newest exhibit (Migrations: Where have you been and what have you seen) is hanging at the Bloomington Playwright’s project until June 9th.  The doors are open from 9-5 and longer on performance evenings.  It’s wonderful to have only this new set of fifteen pieces featuring migrating creatures all together, which makes the exhibit feel very cohesive.  In my studio they have to share wall space with the rest of my art pieces.  Nancy Riggert helped me transport the Migration pieces and hang the show, and in the process I realized I never posted an image of the completed ‘Stitch in Time’ weaving, so I thought I would share that here.  It was great fun collecting all of the sewing notions for the piece.  
Some are old ones that I’ve had for years, while others were discovered on recent scrounging adventures.  The featured red headed weaver bird is making an elaborate woven nest out of found objects, and of course threads and yarns are the ideal weft, even for a bird.  All of the elements just live together happily in the space.

One of the hats that I sometimes have to wear besides artist is exhibit curator to develop stories within my pieces in an exhibit.  Normally I focus on objects within a piece, but curating a show makes me consider how completed pieces interact with each other.  The challenge is arranging art pieces, some with shared elements and others quite disparate, into a flow that develops as you gaze or walk along a series of pieces.  I want your eye and your brain to create a story from beginning to end.  
For my water exhibit there was a natural progression from single droplet that led to an ocean, but in this case I hadn’t yet physically isolated the migration series from the rest of my art.  Some of the progression elements might draw you through seasons, from bleak winter through full summer.  You will see color and style progressions, as well as some of the deeper cultural themes that underscored the genesis of this exhibit in these difficult times for human migrants.

Concluding and hanging this body of work was a cause for celebration, but it has to be a quick one because I’m off to a show in Mississippi (Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival) within the week.  Tommie was home for a few days of his spring break before skipping off to Auburn to spend a few days with his girlfriend.  We had conch fritters using frozen conch from our North Carolina vacation, which is a nice way to remember the trip throughout the year.  I then had to buckle down to complete a few more pieces for the show, because Jim has been whispering in my ear that he’d like me to revisit a few of my most successful pieces for the three new venues I’ll visit in the summer.  And so I did!  I find that I’ve matured as an artist, such that these new iterations are even richer and more dimensional than the originals.  I made the next iteration of my Garden Walk composition, which is one of his favorites, and it forced me to dig deep into my yarn bins.  If you’ve never seen my storage room, you wouldn’t know that all my yarns are sorted by specific color ranges.  I have carmines, earthy reds, dark yellows and sky blues all in separate bins, which were flying off the racks to accumulate all the flower colors for the path.  What’s also fun in assembling the piece is remembering this history of each element in the weaving.  I wove the background in Bloomington, stretched out the weaving in Michigan, needle felted the trunks on the drive home from Kawkawlin on spring break, and crocheted leaf clumps on the way home from Oberlin when I collected Tommie.  The piece is warm and happy because it reflects the life I’m living. 

And yes, Pie.  Jim kept it a secret as to what kind it was as I smelled it baking and waited to test it.  This season of the year is challenging for finding pie fruit as we look forward to the farmer’s market but don’t have any fresh fruits.  He did a sneaky thing, combining a mixed bag of frozen fruit with a box of fresh blackberries to pump it up.  My first bite was of a cherry, which was crazy, and then I hit the blackberries, which were flavorful.  The crust was baked to my definition of perfection, which is a deeply toasted wheat flour taste.  I hope I see more of those!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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