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martina celerin

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Medium: Fiber

Booth #: LN44

I am a Bloomington, Indiana resident with a long and unusual path to my current art career. I was born in Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic, and I immigrated to Canada as a young girl.

After earning a doctoral degree in plant sciences from the University of Western Ontario, I accepted a postdoctoral position as a molecular geneticist in the Biology Department at Indiana University. During that time I met and married my husband, and together we have two delightful boys, Tommie and Jacob. In 2002 I decided to transition from science back to my roots as an artist.

In the past I focused on oil pastels and acrylic painting. Independently, experimentation with each of these has been useful for my current medium of choice, fiber. Work with oil pastels forced me to focus on visual mixing of color, and the powerful interplay of colors when they are applied proximally compared to when they are physically distant. Acrylic painting allowed for quick mixing of colors both before and after applying it to the canvas, but, as with oil pastels, I became dissatisfied with the flatness of the art. I began gluing found objects onto the canvas and then painting over them. This was better, but still not enough. Eventually I realized that I needed to create my canvas. Weaving allows me to incorporate objects, textures and shapes, as well as colors and coarsenesses into the canvas. By combining this with needle felting, I have been able to push the dimensional limits of wall art and to create weaving-felting fusions that are 3D tapestries.

The essence of art is a balance between contrast and harmony. I’m creating beauty, scenes of pristine places and idyllic impressions, using discarded and unwanted things. My art studio is filled with a plethora of odds and ends, new and old. I have yarns of all weights, colors and descriptions, much of it recovered as scrap from local weavers and knitters, jars of fossils, shells and weathered rocks. These sit beside dozens of containers of beads and discarded jewelry from all over the world, waiting for just the right piece. There are strips of leather, hemp baskets undone, wires disentangled, and pieces of lace — bits and pieces of everyday life, waiting to create a specific effect in a weaving.

My inspiration is drawn from both nature and my imagination; some pieces are scenes taken from memories of family walks or places I have visited. Others are much more abstract, capturing an idea, a personality or simply reflect the feelings evoked by an event or geographical area. All of the pieces, though, are true weavings, integrating the materials, landscapes or emotions I’ve drawn from my travels and experiences.

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