"Magic Lama. " Full view and statement.

by Susan Shie Contact me

back to 2008 Gallery page ////// Detail view.

The Timer / Hanged One... ©Susan Shie 20008.

"Magic Lama .”  2008   86"h x 80"w     #351 
Peace Cozy #22
Begun 4-14-08, fiinished 5-2-08. Detail view.

Materials:    Whole cloth painting on white Kona cotton, fabric paint.  Cotton machine thread, Nature-fil Bamboo batting by Fairfield.  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.

Note: I've changed the name of this piece. It was called "The Timer / Hanged One: Card #12 in the Kitchen Tarot." But if you don't know that the Tarot deck has a Hanged One card in it, and that the card stands for gracious waiting and introspection, during a time you can't rush through, you could get a creepy feeling about this reference in the same pieece as Obama. It's just easier to change the title, than to try to turn people around, if they get the wrong idea.

I had to go back and remake one of the 22 card quilts for my Kitchen Tarot, because I’d gotten stuck on the little piece I’d started for the Hanged One traditional card in 2002, when I made it as the Dish Towel. Because dish towels hang in the kitchen!  Somehow I’d moved on and left that piece stuck in limbo, very much a Hanged One situation.  The traditional card signifies a time when something has to wait for resolution, and you can’t push it.  As I was finishing my last Major Arcana card in the Kitchen Tarot, the Potluck / World, I was so surprised that the Democratic primary wasn’t resolved yet.  I thought how this would be a perfect time to redo my stuck Hanged One piece and continue to chronicle the primary’s events.  Only I soon realized that the Dish Towel wasn’t a good enough object in the kitchen to represent this waiting time.  I re-chose.  I decided to make my Hanged One be the Timer, signifying waiting for something to get done.

IN this case, what isn’t getting finished, but we all think SHOULD, is the Democratic Primary of 2008.  Obama is in the lead, but Clinton won’t give up, because she’s not losing by a landslide.  She keeps trying to come up with something against Obama that will make him fall from his top spot.  I drew the Statue of Liberty as his mother, embracing him and the party.   Obama hugs the donkey of the Democratic Party, and a sweet mystery face is on or in the donkey, too.  Maybe it’s the Spirit of the Times?  A big green Buddha head is in the belly of the Statue of Liberty, giving us grace and peace at a time when we really, really need it.

The “Magic Lama” here is the Dalai Lama, who is going through some very hard times, as is Obama.  Both are under attack from their political enemies, and both espouse the basic religious idea “I am my brother’s keeper.”  Both are gentle and wanting to bring conflicting people together.  I’ve made other artworks with them involved, as my attitude is that both of these leaders are living the holy life as much as they can.  On my little Dalai Lama, at the center top of this piece, I wrote “Lamas for Obama.”  That would be another good title for the piece.

A refrigerator on the left has that phrase, “I am my brother’s keeper” on it, and a stove on the right says, “I am my sister’s keeper.”  Like the large appliances in a kitchen, these are big, big issues in our lives.  And we need to remember them, as we go through each day.  When awaiting an outcome of such importance as this primary election, it’s easy to get angry at the other side and send hate.  But those people are our brothers and sisters, too.  Obama has done an excellent job of staying loving and kind, of focusing on the issues, rather than attacking Clinton.  His campaign of unity and caring is what his presidency will be like.

The big wind-up kitchen timer, the subject of this piece, sits down in the bottom lefthand corner of the painting, and you can see my wishful thinking of it being about time for it to go off – for the primary race to end.  I managed to write the delegate scores from all the primaries so far around the edges of that timer’s front!  I started what I called an “oral history” of the primary events, writing on the blue donkey, but soon realized I wasn’t able to retain enough statistics in the right order, etc. So I went to Wikipedia and took notes for about two hours, studying what has only been four months, but seems like years!  I then went back to the quilt and wrote from my notes, giving a more accurate rundown of such a complicated waiting period.

There are pies on this piece, as is usual of my work.  Pies are my symbols for gifts and blessings, and there’s a Yes We Can Pie, to verify that Obama will not only win the nomination, but also the Presidency this November – and really be inaugurated, unlike Al Gore, who also won.

Peace Symbols and peace roses are painted here, to remind us all the time that the biggest waiting period we’re going through now is waiting for the end of two big wars our country continues to cause in the world.  Pray for peace now, for an end to both wars!  Yes, we can do that, too.

The eyes:  again, as always, I give everyone two extra eyes, for better understanding, better connection to their own intuition and to the rest of us.  Send Bush and all leaders love and kindness, so that they can absorb these blessings and become peace and love advocates.

The tiny diary writing in this piece is mostly about the primary election race events, though of course, some of the stories are from my personal life.  About teaching at Arrowmont this April, while Jimmy and his friends went fishing all week in the Smoky Mountains nearby.  About Eva turning three and a half on Earth Day, which was also the Pennsylvania primary day.

As I end the writing of this chapter of the primary race, the story isn’t over yet.  Amazing! Still waiting!  Obama only needs 288 more delegates to take the nomination at 2,024 delegates.  (This includes both primary delegates and superdelegates.)  Clinton is about 150 delegates behind him.  We have Guam, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota to go, ending on June 3, over a month from today!

Give peace a chance every day, especially today, as always.

Susan, May 1, 08, in Wooster.

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

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