"Obama R.E.I." full view

by Susan Shie Contact me

back to 2009 Gallery page ////// Detail view

Obama REI full view. ©Susan Shie 2009.

"Obama R.E.I.”  2009   60"h x 61"w     #366   Peace Cozy #26
Begun 10-10-08, fiinished 1-9-09. Detail view

Materials:    Whole cloth painting on white Kona cotton, fabric paint.  Cotton machine thread,  Nature-fil bamboo and organic cotton batting.  Perle cotton embroidery thread. One flameworked pink Buddha Girl 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 Fall, I wanted to make a piece for my local Obama headquarters here in Wooster. When Alain Hunkins came here to volunteer for 6 weeks from MA, I knew I needed to do something, too.  He asked me to make art that included the words Respect, Empower, Include – the three keywords Obama gave his staff and volunteers as ethics guidelines.  Alain wanted something really beautiful, to make everyone feel good, while working in the office.I came home and made this piece as a painting.  I wrote a tiny bit on it, but mainly I took it in right away, and didn’t get it home til after the election. 

In December I was able to do my tiny airpen writing on it, as it was the piece “up to bat” in my studio.  After the writing was completely all over it, I sandwiched it with bamboo batting and did my crazy grid wavy machine quilting on it.Besides Obama,  I put a Statue of Liberty on this piece, with her torch in her left hand, as she’s a liberal from way back!  She’s holding her torch over Obama, giving him her freedom blessing!  She’s waited a long time for this one!Here are some of the diary topics I wrote about in Obama REI:

I talked a little bit about how the McCain campaign went low, accusing Obama of lots of untrue things, in order to break his amazing poll scores.  Palin and Joe the Plumber did a lot of the dirty work, and they got racial hating going in rallies, in subtle, but effective ways. It was getting pretty nasty.  But Obama stayed dignified during the whole thing, and as soon as the election was finished, that same night, McCain returned to his old self, the fair and kind man we’d all known before this crazy election season. 

The very night of the election, McCain told his supporters to respect Obama as the president, and to work with him to get us through our country’s crises.  That was a magical thing that brought tears to my eyes. Later that night, a huge crowd grew in Grant Park in Chicago, and everyone cried as Obama made his acceptance speech. They showed Oprah, Jessie Jackson, and tons of everyday people, just crying and crying.  It was glorious.  The stunning turnouts all over the country for early voting, and the incredible Obama volunteer efforts and grassroots donations were historic, and we all breathed a sigh of relief and amazement, that this time, the Democrat won, without a doubt, and that the election wasn’t stolen again.

Dec 16: I went howling with my sister Debi, and Jimmy and I put up our Christmas tree.  My brother Jimmy had turned 63 the day before. Dec 17: my 10 quilts were delivered in Tokyo, for a big quilt show Bob Shaw curated. I was so relieved!  Gov Rob  Blagojevich in Illinois was accused of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat today; the shoe thrower hit Bush with both of his shoes in Baghdad!; Bernie Madeoff’s PONZ scheme of ripping clients off for billions of dollars came out today.  This was a very BIG day!  

Caroline Kennedy’s interested in Hillary’s NY Senate seat, and some donor is giving gold coins worth a LOT to the Salvation Army, in those pots outside of stores.  In Cleveland, there was a successful whole face transplant.  Obama, who was officially elected President on 12-15, by the Electoral College, started nominating his cabinet: Salazar for Sec of Interior and Vilsack for Sec of Agriculture.  I then kept track of all the appointment nominees I could find out about, and it ended up being a gob of people, all different ages, races, walks of life, and political parties. Such diversity!  Obama was working really hard on this, well before his Jan 20 inauguration, so that they could “hit the ground running.

Dec 19 we went up to GEM’s to babysit Eva, so G and M could go out for Gretchen’s birthday, and then they had a tiny party yet that night at their house.  Nice to see Kristi and Frank and Daisy.  On the 20th, we had part one of the Acord Christmas, since Karen and her kids will be in Chicago over Christmas, with Darrell, who’s having cancer therapy there. I heard a song that went “Darling, darling. Christmas is coming, falling like forgiveness from the Sun.”  I think maybe it was Feist.  ??  Dec 21: Co-op meeting, watching “Kite Runner” on Netflix. 

The Obamas Christmassed in Hawaii, and we all watched their every move.  His grandmother had died there the day before the election, and during this vacation, they scattered her ashes.  So sad that she missed his election, as she had worked so hard to raise him, but I believe she was watching the whole time!  The 26th was my Snyder family get-together and GEM stayed overnight.  My cousin Tony is moving toward Obama!!!!  Yea!  Eva and I made Jimmy a sign for his new studio, and we all posed in front of ourselves on the Obama garage door mural I painted in Sept-Oct.  I did a timeline of the Israeli-Hamas fighting in Gaza.  12-30: Blagojevich appoints Burris to Obama’s senate seat, even tho Illinois is ready to impeach Blago!  12-31:  The Hawaiian shaka sign and Obama and the fist bumps… ; Daniel Schorr’s commentary on NPR, about the horrible state of the economy, going down fast; my New Year’s Resolutions; We watched the ball drop in Times Square, with the Clintons and Dick Clark, who’s still struggling just to talk, after that stroke about six years ago.  Eva wished us Happy New Year on the phone, after midnight!  Yea! 

Jan 3: My parents’ would-be 64th anniversary;  Rita’s mom, June DiOrio died today; the Obama girls start school in DC today; Obama works with Congress to make plans for a big financial rescue for the country. Jan 7:  Obama and Bush have lunch; Carolyn Robinson comes over and shows me the High Line park in NY on the internet.  Very cool park being made from an old elevated train bed – I love that! Charlene Gross is trying to get tickets to the Inauguration, and Michele Hardman already has hers, as she’s going to be volunteering again. If anyone deserves to go, it’s her, as she’s donated her time and money to the cause since before the Iowa Caucuses!

That’s just part of the stories, and of course they were much longer, detailed  versions on the piece. I ended this piece 11 days before the Inauguration, and believe me, we were all counting down the days!!!!  He couldn’t become President fast enough, we thought!  It was such a long, painful wait, as we watched the country sliding farther and farther into a huge recession.  sigh.   I put my light yellow Peace Cozy on one of the O’s in Ohio, in the Obama Hope sign on the right side of the piece, and drew my little Peace Roses in any empty spaces I could find, along with more peace symbols.  Ya gotta give peace a chance, every day!  EnjoySusan in Wooster, 2-1-09

Turtle Moon Studios: Outsider Art Quilts and Paintings
Susan Shie
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