Sunday, April 28, 2019

Full speed ahead on art ideas!

It’s been a wonderful week to be home working in my studio.  The weather cooperated by not being too nice, so I was ready to get busy and begin a bunch of new pieces.  I love carrying ideas for weaving compositions around in my head.  There I can modify my designs as I think through technical aspects about which materials might work best and how to achieve the end product.  At some point I’m ready and eager to launch on creating the weaving, and that was certainly true of my piece called Barbershop Quartet. I dug out my big container of barbershop related paraphernalia and began laying out the composition I imagined. When I was happy with the layer of tools and barber supplies I pulled out all of my barbicide blue yarns and started the background weaving.  
Completing the background brought me to a resting point where I now need to needle felt the four goldfinches.  I can do that task on the move, so I’ll probably save the felting aspect until we’re driving somewhere.  I was still in full design layout and background mode, so I plowed ahead on completing the backdrop for my piece called Charging Station.  Just like the missing goldfinches on my Barbershop Quartet, I’ll adorn the piece with three fireflies with glow-in-the-dark bottoms.  I can work on them as I travel too, but I’m finding much less time than I used to for felting projects now that Jacob can drive himself to his activities.  For the background on this piece I had a lot of fun creating and gussying up the electrical outlet covers.  I also incorporated all kinds of jewelry bits, drywall tape, beaded pull chains for lights and other odds and ends in the background.  I find it amazing what paint can do to transform an object from something you recognize instantly into a component that blends well into a textured surface. 

I still had another piece in my mind ready to launch, and that was a composition called Changing Gears.  It will have a steampunk feel to it with lots of metal gears and gear-like objects that I’ve been harvesting by tearing apart blenders and mixers and pulling brass gears from old clocks.  Thursday I spent a little quality time arranging the composition and I’m pretty excited about putting it all together.  I’m contrasting the hard metal gears with a helpful grackle in the foreground that will present an alan key in its beak.  The timing for this piece and the grackle was perfect because I went to the Fleece Fair last week on Friday and picked up some iridescent green-purple Angelina fibers.  I plan to blend them in to the black wool to create that sheen that grackles around their heads.  I know that most people are not grackle fans because they steal bird seed and grain in the fields, but I see them as resourceful individuals and kindred spirits in some ways.  I’ll certainly post pictures as I make progress on each of these pieces. 

Last Sunday Jim and I went to Lake Monroe to try our hand at crappie fishing.  We caught enough fish to enjoy the fruits of our labors as fish tacos on Tuesday.  It was a wonderful adventure, made challenging by the lake being so high that we needed to paddle the canoe out to a dock that we would normally walk out to.  We spent a few hours finding small flocks of fish and getting a mild sunburn in the middle of April.  I made charred corn salsa and chili lime aeoli, which combined with fresh fish and arugula on white corn torillas made for a delightful dinner.  Oooh, yum!  Speaking of food, it was a pie day, but it was a pizza pie on Friday.  Jim has perfected the thin crust, whole wheat pizza which he generously covered with vegetables and cheese mixtures.  It was really good, but I now have a hankering for something sweet and fruity.  Maybe a …   pie?  Hoo boy—I can’t leave the kitchen for a minute!  I went on an afternoon visit with Dawn and Cinny to Indianapolis and I came back to find a blueberry pie!  Perfect!

Until next week,

Martina Celerin

Monday, April 22, 2019

The best fork for pie!

We are finally deep into spring and looking towards summer.  The trees are leafing out into soft greens, the redbuds are on full display and the dogwoods are just about to burst.  The farmer’s market is underway, and I’m looking forward to one of my favorite things about summer:  the fresh fruits and vegetables!  I’m sure that people all over the world feel the same way after eating winter fruits that were picked early and lack the rich flavors of summer.  To celebrate that approaching yumminess just around the corner I just finished a weaving called "Twelve Forks of Summer."  
I had a lot of fun collecting the forks themselves.  Some are silver and others regular flatware that I painted and patinaed to enhance the unique features of each pattern.  I intentionally painted them all gold to elevate the perception of the object.  Traditionally, objects placed in and around gold are elevated in value.  A perfect piece of watermelon deserves to be on a regal gold fork. 

I also started work on a fun piece that came to me while I was in Michigan staying with Dawn’s friends Angela and Rick.  Angela shared with me her vintage salesman’s display box of shaving tools that she inherited from her mother, which is an image that stayed in my head.  That sparked a memory of a scrounging adventure with Nancy last summer at the Westbury Antique Market’s yard sale, where I found a fascinating old gold razor.  
That had me thinking about musicals like Music Man and costumes, and all together you might understand how I came up with one the next pieces I’ll make called "Barbershop Quartet."  It will feature vintage shaving devices embedded in a barbicide-blue background.  On the foreground will be attached four goldfinches singing in unison.  I warped the loom with silver because many of the barber tools will be silver.  I have already collected many of the things that will go into the weaving and I’ve started to work on the goldfinches with different vocal ranges.  I’m excited because it’s going to be a fun piece, but it also reminds me about all the places I’ve been and the friends I was with when I collected the objects.  Thanks Dawn, Nancy, Charlotte, Angela, Grandma, and Jacob—and Jim for your patience while I scrounge through the oddest places! 
I apologize for missing a couple of weeks of blogging, but I’ve been on the road.  In early April I participated at the Ridgeland Fine Art Festival in Mississippi.  It was a wonderful success—I’m tickled that three of my pieces found new homes.  The people responded warmly to my art and I’m excited to put it on my list of shows to apply for next year.  
We stayed with cousins Martha and Dave, and they took such good care of us.  We finally got to meet Amy and Harold, whom we’ve heard about for years.  Amy Head is a make-up icon in the south and has the eye of a visual artist.  We had wonderful conversations about the impacts of color and layering colors.  I wished we lived closer.  As we drove south we left the earliest beginnings of Spring in Indiana and gradually watched as we drove through the blossoming forsythia, redbuds, dogwoods and into the flowering wisteria in Mississippi, where everything was fully leafed out. 

My next weekend involved a drive north to Chicago with the Sounds of South, which was the reverse weather experience.  
We left the beginnings of spring to remember the cold and snow of winter.  The trip was warmed by the people and the performances we saw, including seeing Hamilton and A Chorus Line.  The Chicago performance of Hamilton was spectacular, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  The staging was crisp, unexpected and engaging.  Combined with outstanding performances the effect was spellbinding.  This was the first musical I emerged ready to take in again.  It was just an extravagant visual display.  Walking around Chicago and eating foods we don’t find in Bloomington was a fabulous experience in and of itself.  
The Sounds of South kids sang in a church, and the performance was a feast for the ears because the acoustics in the church was amazing.  The right setting always brings a new dimension to choral singing.  The faces on the kids truly were engaged in what they were doing, making the performance powerful and the memory one of those bubbles in your brain that you tap into when you need to conjure a feeling of joy. 

The best part of traveling is returning home. I was delighted to return from Chicago to discover a warm, blackberry pie.  Jim was experimenting and did something magical.  The fruits were intact and the flavors were bright, so it was unexpectedly delicious.  He’s a pie magician. 

Until next week,

Martina Celerin