"Rille: Queen of Wooden Spoons in the Kitchen Tarot."
by Susan Shie Contact me
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"Rille: Queen of Wooden Spoons in the Kitchen Tarot."
©Susan Shie 2013. 59"h x 24"w. inventory #441. Peace Cozy #52.
Began 11-25-12. Finished 1-8-13.
Materials: White kona cotton, airbrush paint, fabric paint. Aurifil cotton machine thread, Artfabrik perle cotton embroidery thread, one Green Temple Buddha Boy bead. Nature-fil bamboo and organic cotton batting. Backing fabrics include Lunn Fabrics batiks.
Techniques: Whole cloth painting. Freehand black line drawing and color areas painting made with Aztek double action airbrush and Createx airbrush paint. Small, black writing made with Silkpaint.com’s basic Airpen and Jacquard Textile Colors black fabric paint. Crazy grid machine quilting and one row of hand stitching with perle cotton thread (just on the border edge.)
Statement: This is a piece about my friend Rille Bending Reeds, who died last October 11th, unexpectedly, from an infection, and the storm Hurricane Sandy, which formed 11 days after Rille died. Rille's birth name was Sandy.
I wanted to make a piece for my Kitchen Tarot deck, using a card from the Wands suit - Wooden Spoons suit in my deck. And at random on Nov 25th, I drew the Queen of Wands from my Sakki-Sakki deck. I got to thinking about Rille's death, and how this Queen was a good one to show Rille, because Wands are all about creative spirit, and Wooden Spoons are all about cooking and stirring it up, which Rille was good at.
I was also wanting to make a piece to enter into a show called Text Messages, which had a maximum size limit of 60"h x 24"w. So that's the size of this piece, only it shrunk an inch in length. It's very hard for me to hit a size plan exactly, since I border the sandwiched painting and then quilt it, and God only knows exactly how much it will shrink! I figured any piece I make should qualify for "Text Messages," so the subject was totally open, and here are Rille and Sandy.
Rille belonged to our local artists' group WAGE, Wayne Artists Group Effort, and also to the Watercolor Guild here. I saw her at least once a month over the last few years, and always got a bang out of her feisty, unique way of being. She was a real iconoclast, right up my alley. Her work was like her self, free and different, totally Rille.
Her birth name was Sandy Lindeman, but at some point before I met her, she created the full name Rille Bending Reeds and made it her legal name. I've made art names, but never thought to change my real name to Simone du Vin Rouge (from my College of Wooster days) or Lucky Magnolia (more recent usage.)Rille was THAT free.
She also made wild dishes for our WAGE meeting potlucks, often matching her own tasty and different concoctions with a specail plate or bowl she'd made herself, too. I would swoon over her cooking and was especially to get to see her kitchen, when she hosted a WAGE meeting in her home in November, 2011. She also hosted the first WAGE Summer Picnic Meeting, on the lawn of the Arts Center last July 13, the day I staggered home from the long travel to get back from Spain. I'm so glad I made my tired self go to that picnic, as it was the last time I saw Rille.
She hired me to make her a painting last year, and it ended up being a really nice way to get to know Rille better. She decided to have it be a piece about goats, because she loves goats, and then, when she told me she'd taken care of goats when she was a pre-teen and had a pet goat named Cindy, I got her to write about that time in her life. (I put that whole script on the painting "Cindy, Sandy, Rille" and also on this piece, mostly on Rille's dress here.
She didn't have any photos of herself as a girl, but I'd show her my sketches, and she'd tell me how to make it look more like her and her goats and her farm. So in our times together making that painting, I found out lots of things you don't learn about a friend just getting together for art. The basic story for that painting, which Rille named "Cindy, Sandy, Rille" is that Rille's folks moved her from a nice house in Waukegan, IL, to an old farm in western PA, with no running water at first, with no friends to play with, when she was almost 10, in December, 1953.
They soon got farm animals, and it becamse Rille's job in the summer, to watch the playful but troublesome goats, who could sneak out of a fence, if you weren't paying attention. She read a lot of books, made a lot of art, and came to love Cindy. Rille lent me a book Roger got her for Christmas - everything possible to learn about goats, so I could get into the goat swing for making her piece.
It was a wonderful commission to do! And in making that piece, I felt so much closer to Rille! She told me later that the process of working on that piece made her learn to love her childhood a lot more than she ever had, in looking back at it. She had previously forgotten the tender parts of childhood that she wrote about for me, and that I illustrated for her.
It was Rille's partner Roger who called to tell me that Rille had died unexpectedly, while in a rehab center, trying to get rid of an infection that wouldn't go away. It was then my job to tell the rest of the people in WAGE about Rille's passing. Now we're ready to hang our yearly show, this time called "Storytellers," and we'll have a special section of watercolor paintings by Rille. We're dedicating the exhibition at Wayne Center for the Arts to her, the first full time member of WAGE to die. How we miss Rille.
Back to the other Sandy: The hurricane. Sandy was a huge storm, because she was really a Superstorm made of 3 different storms, not just the hurricane. And the storms got stuck over Northeast Ohio and stayed here from October 23 through the 29th. We didn't have the extreme flooding from a storm surge that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had. We had winds and rains and cold for six days, well before it hit those coastal states. Cleveland got it really bad, on the same day it hit the east coast, but Wooster, where I live, was just depresssingly wet and windy and waterlogged.
As I was finishing up this art quilt of the two Sandys, I wrote about how our Congress stiffed the mid Atlantic states, when they finally "saved us from the fiscal cliff" on New Year's Day. The House didn't pass the part the Senate had put in, for massive disaster relief for Sandy's damage. When the next Congress was sworn in a day or so later, they voted in about 1/8th of the relief money, but meanwhile, many thousands of people are without heat and light and water still, over 2 months after Sandy struck the coast. It's a real shame.
I didn't do much diary writing on this piece, because it was too small to be able to write much on. I miss the bigger format pieces! Last year I was making "Sweet Jane" at this time, and it seemed only middle sized to me then. Now it seems huge, and my next piece will hopefully be big again, so I can spread out!
We thought it was wild that they named that hurricane after Rille (Sandy) and the storm came so soon after Rille's death. And THEN a GOAT came to live at my friend Rene's house, wanting to be fed, but refusing to be caught and taken away. A goat! And it's still there now! :) I told Rene she could name her goat Rille, but she says she won't name it, so it will go away and not eat her flowers next Spring. I bet it stays, and I bet she names it Rille or Sandy. Or even Cindy would be good, too.
You can see an album of photos of me making this piece on my Facebook page, even if you're not on Facebook. You can see a few pictures of the commission I made for Rille in 2012, "Cindy, Sandy, Rille!" on my Facebook page, too.
I hope you like my tributes to Rille Bending Reeds.
Peace, love, and goats,
Susan, Wooster, Ohio 1-9-13
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