Sunday, March 3, 2019

Winter’s not over yet!

As the snow storm approaches I find myself working on another winter scene.  The story behind the piece is a little complicated, but I wanted to extend my series featuring migrating animals.  The champion travelers are arctic terns, which have the longest path known for any animal.  Each year they loop from Greenland in the North Atlantic to the shores of Antarctica, or about 43,000 miles!  I decided my composition would feature a lone arctic tern perched on a weathered wooden post surrounded by ice-covered snow on a beautiful cold day with a crystal blue sky. 

Before I launch on a piece I need a good idea about the color story and the materials I’ll use.  I started collecting ice and snow for this piece many years ago, even though I didn’t know it at the time.  The boys and I rented kayaks on Lake Monroe and paddled around to various landing sites to scavenge the beaches, play in the water and enjoy the sun.  On one of our stops we discovered giant piles of beach glass that we collected in a back-up t-shirt that doubled as a collecting bag.  I brought back the pieces and soaked them in peroxide and later detergents to get them as clean and clear as possible.  I’ve used those bottle fragments, collected around eight years ago, to create the sheet of ice layered over snow.

I still needed a color story, and a memory clicked into place as I considered this piece.  For years I have driven past a billboard on the way to the airport that always caught my eye.  The featured lawyer wasn’t memorable, but the color story featured shades of grey and orange that I’ve always wanted to interpret.  Although the warm color component in my piece is a deeper red to connect the tern to the background, the overall color story feels the same.  It’s weird how objects and ideas get linked together in my brain, which often happens based on colors and color stories.  So I have a beautiful arctic tern with beach glass ice from lake Monroe connected by the colors on a billboard on the road out of town!

This past weekend I did the Garage Sale Art Fair in Kalamazoo Michigan with my friend Dawn Adams.  We loaded up the van with both of our art displays and headed north.  We had a delightful stop in Angola Indiana for panini at the Caleo Café.  We then strolled through a couple of antique malls where I found some interesting vintage treasures.  The one that really sparked my interest was a pie crust crimper.  The shape was interesting, and I thought it would make a great present for Jim—and that sparked a great new idea for a weaving. The art piece will feature all things associated with making a pie—the tools and the ingredients.  
When I got home I dug through all of my vintage-ey cooking tools and started building a mental composition.  I’m seeing a slice of pie on a lifter, three forks with fruit, a pie crimper and a vintage dough slicer.  I’ll probably put blueberries, cherries and an apple slice on the forks.  I don’t have the full color story yet—I guess I have to keep an eye on the local billboards, but you never know where the spark for a color story might be hiding.

This week I also finished up the last of my felted tile pieces that will make up a six-panel commission.  I was down to the last details of the animals, and I had to create a baby painted turtle climbing up onto a lily pad.  
I also made a green frog crawling along a fern branch to see if it can get a better peek at a nearby bug.  The challenge for both animals was getting their mottled skin textures right.  As I was looking for just the right material to convey that texture, I opened one of my green bins to find some fleece I that I picked up years ago at the Fleece Fair, before it was called the Fiber event.  The dappled olive, forest and lime greens in the fleece was just perfect for my project—what luck!

My weekly report wouldn’t be complete without a pie update, and yesterday I hit the jackpot.  Jim made a tart cherry pie, my absolute favorite, with an amazing crust.  The cherries were from a June farmer’s market trip, and yes, he used the vintage crimper to get a nice look around the edges.  I guess I need to find another crimper to encourage more pies. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

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