My spring has been packed with events and challenges. These have thrown off my usual blogging schedule. My weekends are now devoted to completing commissions. I finished my most recent project, which is now happily hanging in its new home. The commissioners came to my studio, but after reviewing what I had on the walls they decided they wanted a piece that better reflected their own life experiences. They were drawn to pieces with pathways, fences, flowers and trees. I created a sketch compatible with the warm honey oak tones they were seeking. The colors are a bit of a departure from my recent strong contrast pieces. I’ve been focusing on dark coffee tone tree trunks matched with crisp, bright green leaves. My goal has been to capture the feel of spring walks in the forest after a rain where the trunks are still damp and the greens present a striking contrast. This style was a new challenge for me. I do love the idea of paths that lead off to new places, and the new design featured a path leading through a flower plot along a fence.
It’s a secret garden because from the other side of the fence you can’t see the beauty within. The outsiders never have a clue what’s going on along the other side. Overall, I’m delighted with how it turned out and the new owners seem pleased. I’ll mark that project as a spring success.
My weekdays have been consumed with costume creation for Beauty and the Beast. Costuming is new, but in addition everything I attempt now is a big change of scale for me. My wall pieces are small and intimate, but the costumes are grandiose and cartoon-like with solid, in-your-face colors. I’m happy to report that I have several costumes completed, including the first of the ‘Beast’ outfits. That piece features a cloak with a removable capelet. It will be on the beast when he first enters the play. The intent is to make him look larger-than-life and very much the king of the castle. The capelet will then snap off and be replaced by a more demure hood for the scene where he frightens the wolves away from Belle in the woods.
To make the cloak, I rebuilt the base from a coat that was picked up by Melinda Seader last year on a trip out east. I’ve been making the character bigger than life using a lot of foam and wire to enhance the build of the actor. The foam fill for the capelet is taken from a yoga mat that I picked up from the Materials for the Arts program. I’ve also had a lot of fun (which means I’ve been intensely working on) Mrs. Potts. I needed to make this a relatively light costume. It’s basic size makes it inherently cumbersome and I didn’t want it to be exceedingly heavy. The skeleton of the teapot is built from hula-hoops and parts of an old water-cooling system from World Wide Auto.
I fleshed that out with synthetic fleece from a comforter donated to Sounds of South that the students took apart. I upholstered the surface with a sheet from a thrift shop, then I popped on some flowers that were cut out long ago by a parent of one of the students.
There have been so many helpful and capable people contributing to the project that it’s hard to remember everyone, but every little bit makes a big difference to feeling like the whole thing is coming together. Along the same lines, I’ve also been working on the Milkmaid, including creating her milk bucket props. The number of hands that this and every piece is amazing. The buckets were donated by Oliver Winery to the Recycle Center, collected and cut down to size. Some of the SOS members spray-painted them brown with paint donated by Bloomington Paint and Wallpaper. The slats on the outside were donated by multiple sources, including some from Sherwin Williams and some from Grandma’s collection, with the rest contributed by Bloomington Paint and Wallpaper via Nancy Riggert. Brian Lewis cut them all to size for us. Some SOS students glued them onto the painted pails and stained the surfaces. There are a few more steps ahead of us, but I’m hoping to have the final prop completed during the next craft night. I’m hoping to get bands in place around the slats and holes drilled into the wood to install handles.
There is much news on the family front. So much, in fact, that I’m having trouble remembering everything that happened in the past few weeks. The school year is drawing to a close. Jacob’s last hiphop class with Jay, who is graduating from IU and moving on to greener pastures, was Friday. Jay left his JayWalkerz group with a final dance number and a lot of fabulous memories. My family saw Into the Woods at IU and Pilobolus the week before, so we have had plenty of theatrical fine arts exposure.
Our summer routine means trips to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings.
There have only been slim pie-friendly offerings, mostly very thin stalks of rhubarb. Our freezer stores are almost gone, so Mother Nature better come through pretty soon! Last, as a marker of how long it has been since I wrote a blog post, I have gotten TWO pies! One was a fabulous apple-cranberry, and the other a very nice blueberry pie with the last of the summer berries.
I even found a delightful apricot-marzipan tart at the farmer’s market at the new pie vendor. You might think that would keep me from wondering when the next pie would appear. Hah! I know there are still apples in the freezer and Mother’s day means rhubarb pie. I expect to hear the whoosh of the gas lighting in the oven any time now...
Until next week,