"The Potluck / World." Detail view and statement.

by Susan Shie Contact me

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Detail of The Potluck / World...©Susan Shie 2008.

"The Potluck / World: Card #21 in the Kitchen Tarot.” aka "Healing on Common Ground.”  2008   85"h x 76"w   #350 
Peace Cozy #21
Begun 1-10-08, fiinished 4-3-08. Full view.

Materials:    Whole cloth painting on white Kona cotton, fabric paint.  Cotton machine thread, Mountain Mist’s Eco-Craft corn batting.  Perle cotton embroidery thread. One flameworked pink girl Buddha bead and one green temple Buddha Boy bead.
Techniques:  Freehand drawing and painting made with airbrush and fabric paint.  Small journal writing made with airpen and fabric paint.  Machine quilting with Mettler cotton thread.  Hand stitching (just on the border) with DMC perle cotton.

Last of all the Major Arcana cards in the Tarot deck is the World card, #21.  (The first card is #0, the Fool, so the World is really the 22nd card.)  For my Kitchen Tarot deck, I’ve chosen to make a big Potluck to represent the World.  The attendees are all the nations of the world, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are bringing their potluck contributions of pies (my symbol for gifts or blessings.)  Obama holds Hope as a pie, and Clinton holds Faith.

 Between these two Democratic candidates, who are currently running neck and neck for the Democratic presidential nominee, is a window that holds a figure balancing on one foot, wearing a chef’s apron, and holding two wooden spoons of Peace.  She is drawn after the figure in the traditional World tarot card, and she is Eva, my granddaughter.  She is the Future of the World.  The shutters on the window are decorated with faces of people of all the colors of the rainbow, with blessings written on their foreheads. Everyone in the image has both a third and fourth eye, of intuition inside us and intuition coming out in our speech and interaction with others.  This fourth eye is my “Chin Eye,” which I made up a few years ago, basing it on the Throat Chakra’s communications characteristics.

St Quilta the Comforter sits Buddha girl style in front of the big potluck table, welcoming in the guests and holding a huge bowl of Peace Porridge.  Around her are the plates with the nations’ names, as well as some bowls of foods already brought in as gifts to be shared.  Two large yellow wolves stand on the table, guarding the gathering with their wisdom and strong sense of family, for these traits are so needed now, in a world that has gone way out of balance and needs to come back to health, by virtue of the countries all cooperating, pulling together.

I believe that Barack Obama is the one who can bring the World together, but in fairness to Hillary, I included her in my story.  Much of my writing in the piece is about the Primary Elections, which everyone thought would be over long ago, with a solid decision having been made for the Democratic candidate for President.  But as I write, Obama leads Clinton by a small margin, and he just won the Wyoming Caucuses last night.  She took Ohio, to Jimmy and my sadness.

There are six fortune cookies in this piece, and most of them tell the story of Caroline Kennedy’s op-ed letter to the New York Times, in which she endorsed Obama, writing that he’s the first person since her father, who inspires people with the belief that they can make a difference, that there’s a chance for real change and healing in our world, because of that person’s leadership.  I get goosebumps when I read that letter!  I love fortune cookies, because they seem magical, bringing special wisdoms just to the person who opens and reads their blessings.  They’ve been in my art since the late 70s, and they still fascinate me.  So six, the number of success, of them go to Obama!

There’s a kitchen sink in the middle of the painting, below Eva/the Future dancing in the window, and above the Potluck table.  To me a kitchen sink represents what it takes to get the job done.  You haul out all the tools, everything, including the kitchen sink, and you make things happen.  I feel that the whole world, all of us, need to do whatever it takes now, to stop the Earth from going more and more out of balance, to bring global warming to a stop, to bring the terribly extreme storms to an end, and to stop the wasting of natural resources.  The kitchen sink also reminds me of my mother, Marie Shie/St Quilta, who spent a lot of time at her sink, and who always seemed to cast healing energy wherever she put her focus.

The bottom edge of this piece is full of rippling water.  I think it stands for the sea of compassion that needs to envelop us all, everyone in the world.  Instead of being angry at Hillary now, for all her dirty tricks mud slinging she’s been doing to Obama, I now remember my basic attitude about strife.  You have to send love and kindness, tolerance and peace to people who upset you.  if they don’t have love to fill their hearts, how can they act in a loving way?  I have to keep remembering this idea, over and over, in my life.  Someday I’ll have it up front in my thinking all the time, but for now I still have to work at it and find it, usually after getting good and angry at someone.  I have to remember to send love to Bush & Co, too, as I forget all the time!  We are all neighbors, and we really DO need to love our neighbors as our selves.  We ARE all one.  Namasté!

Some of the events I chronicled in my diary on this piece are:  (1-20=) The Nevada Caucuses;  co-op meeting. (1-21=)  South Carolina debate at Myrtle Beach; a Junco died by flying into our patio glass; MLK Day and the Jena Six. (1-22=)  Mike and Frank’s birthday and their group’s CD coming out; actor Heath Ledger died; the new chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernacki, and the slumping US economy – the day the world stock markets crashed, turning out to be some trick by a French guy that fooled everyone; Gretchen was at the Getty for five days, over Mike’s birthday; we watched Harry and Tonto.  (1-22=)  Colbert’s story on the Charleston nurses’ strike, that his father and Andrew Young negotiated (in reference to the writers’ strike, still going on); Kenya’s election riots still going on; Ahmed Rashid’s Pakistan report on Fresh Air on NPR; baking beer can chicken here.  (1-24=)   my cousin Tamara’s World Monopoly game plan; Kofi Annan at Kenya to try to stop fighting there; Dennis Kucinich dropped out of the primary race; doing sales tax report; what’s in my Red Mill 10-grain bread mix. (1-25=)   80% of the voting machines failed in the Myrtle Beach Republican primary!; our friends Debra and Michael are off to Java again, to teach and help the people there; the story of Bob and Marti Kaufman. 

(1-26=)  Palestinians break through the Gaza wall to find supplies; Obama takes SC primary, big time; the story of Laura and Rudy, our timberframer friends; all the words to Joni Mitchell’s song California, about traveling; about my own tiny bit of world travels. (1-27=)  Caroline Kennedy’s op-ed letter; Floyd turns 55; singer John Stewart died at 82, two days ago; Denny Fairchild and I had one of our Kitchen Tarot book conference calls; the dispute of whether we need birth certificates to go to Canada.  We need them for astrology charts!  (1-28=)  Gayle came down to work with me on her book about my work; Bush gives his State of the Union address tonight.  (1-29=)  my niece Julie Shie turns 25 today and she’s for Obama, her first time to care about politics; 3 Kennedys and Toni Morrison endorse Obama; Denny’s computer crashed on the first night of the Mercury retrograde.  (1-30=)  Hillary won Florida, but the Dems aren’t counting the Fla or Mich votes, because they moved their primaries up, so nobody else ran; Margaret Truman died yesterday; Gayle found a poem by my mom in Mom’s 1935 yearbook.  (2-3=)  MoveOn endorses Obama on Jan 31, as 70% of its members voted to endorse him; I did another spot on Pokey TV and then babysat Dear Eva for the first time in a long time.  (2-4=)  Obama rally at UCLA with Oprah, Stevie Wonder, Maria Shriver, Caroline Kennedy, and Michelle Obama; watched Obama Girl and also Chris Pritchard’s Obama song; cleaned up my airbrush stuff from the Pokey TV spot.  (2-6=)  Yesterday was Mardi Gras and Super Tuesday, in which Obama won more states, but H took CA and NY;  today is the New Moon and Chinese New Year;  big tornado damage in the South last night; Year of the Rat info. 

(2-7=)  Romney drops out of GOP race; we watched The Notebook.  (2-9=)  Obama wins LA, NE, WA, Vir Islands;  Jimmy’s show opening at the Beck last night and going to GEM’s; Denny sent a huge first draft for KT book; a walk in my new sneakers; reading The Audacity of Hope a second time; bought a Bluetooth headset today.  (2-10=)  Denny’s friend set up a tiny web site for the Kitchen Tarot book!; tArts meeting at the Stocker Center, where our May-June group show will be;  doing a big computer backup and lusting for Leopard!  (2-11=)  bad sore throat, gargling salt water; Obama wins Maine Caucuses 59-40%; Obama won a Grammy last night for one of his books, that he read on tape; Super Delegates discussion.  (2-14=)  Obama won Crab Cakes primaries; we watched The Queen last night; the meaning of the World card is now written on the big St Q figure; visit from Sandy Tamny and Kevin.  (2-24=) What I did in NYC all last week; Obama’s behind 9 points in the Ohio polls, 9 days before our primary.

So that’s just a little record of some of the things I wrote about on this piece.  At the end, when I was filling in a few sort of empty spaces, I got the idea that we’re all Obama Girls, not just the hot little sexy girl who did the videos about him.  Obama Girls can be any age, from Eva at 3 to Olga at 100.  We all care about healing the world, and Obama knows we have to pull hard together to make it happen.  He has the right ideals in his heart, and he works very hard to help the common people.  He grew up as a common person, not of privilege, and his mother and grandparents made sure he took on very honest, altruistic ideals.  He is really a once-in-a-generation politician, but we can make more, with his example, too!  My mother would certainly be an Obama Girl, if she were still alive.  And when I got THAT thought, I realized:  St Quilta the Comforter is an Obama Girl.

The end, for now.  Still more primaries to go, still a lot, lot, lot of work to do to heal the world, once Obama becomes President.  Visualize it, see it as a reality, like in the Rima events worldwide, in which we picture Obama as President, all at once, synchronized to one exact time, 15 minutes at a specific time, so that the power of intention is magnified.  Power to the People!

-Susan in Wooster, after finishing the writing on the quilt, Feb, 08.

Turtle Moon Studios: Outsider Art Quilts and Paintings
Susan Shie and James Acord

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