Melt some butter and get out the garlic press—this week I have been making what I’m confident are the last two vegetables for my "Fall Stew" piece. Yes, it has been a long, drawn-out process, but the slow process of making all the vegetables means I get to savor each contribution. I got to thinking about Amy Hamilton from the Core Farms CSA. We used to travel to Musgrave Orchard each week to pick up our basket of summer vegetables before our schedule just became to erratic to be able to plan on receiving vegetables each week. Now we rely on the Bloomington Community Farmer’s Market. Anyway, I remember how much she enjoyed describing the different characteristics of each garlic variety they grew.
I learned that there were many varieties and that they were either soft or hard necked, which helped guide my design. I prefer the hard neck varieties over the grocery-story soft neck versions. The hard neck garlic heads don’t store as well, but they are more flavorful and complex, just like a nice red wine. They feature a single row of toes around a central core, as opposed to the jumbled toes of the soft neck variety. I made three heads by first making small felted balls. I stuffed small clumps of sheep’s wool that I got from Gale Hale (but I think she got it from Nancy Kreuger). Last summer I invested a huge amount of time washing and cleaning and now I’m able to use the beautiful white fleece. I stuff clumps into Grandma’s old nylons (the ones with holes) and tie knots off between the clumps. A trip through the washer and dryer and a snip next to each clump releases a soft felted ball about an inch in diameter. I needle felted the balls into toes and shaped them into the garlic head. I’m really pleased with how they turned out!
My final choice for vegetable to fill the last space on the piece was inspired by a birthday party I went to last week. My friend Cinny had her sixtieth birthday party at her home in Brown County, and Dawn Adams gave me a tour of the property. I was struck by the sea of purple turnip tops that act as a cover crop to retain soil and nutrients. The richly colored tops were shielded a tiny bit of green that survived the ravages of the cold snap we had in early January. I couldn’t see the white bottoms, but I knew they were there, drawing from the deep tap roots that stabilized the soil. I’m always up for a sign from the universe, so when I needed my own cover crop to fill in the last space in my weaving I knew it had to be turnips! I can’t tell you how happy I will be attach my bushel basket of vegetables to the weaving and call it done!
The other project that has been keeping me busy for most of the week was working on costumes for Sounds of South. This was my first full week of going into the costume studio every day. With the help of my sewing and glueing faeries, Nancy Riggert and Misti Hays, we have made great strides on the boy’s vintage circus costumes. As of Friday I have designed twenty of the twenty-five male costumes in the current SOS group. I fully understand that there will be a new crop of freshman joining in the spring, but for now I’m looking forward to celebrating the complete set of the male costumes by the end of the coming week. I should even have made a pretty good dent in the girl’s costumes too. I’ll post the images of some of my favorite costumes next time.
It has been a good week, but I ran out of pie around midweek and have gone three days now without pie. I think I need Werner Herzog to narrate a documentary on my pie struggles. On the bright side, we’re one trimester away from a summer vacation!
Until next week,