"Spot the Station: 6 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."

by Susan Shie Contact me

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Spot the Station. ©Susan Shie 2013.

"Spot the Station: 6 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."

©Susan Shie 2013. 80"h x 60"w. inventory #452. Peace Cozy #55.

Began 5-15-13. Finished 7-6-13. Lots of detail shots of this piece are below the long statement.

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: The Earth and Sky are featured in this piece, as it's about us planting this year's Rainbow Garden at our home, and also about Astronaut Karen Nyberg being up in the sky in the ISS - International Space Station - in Expedition 36 and 37, for a six-month period, and about us spotting the station. It's also my 47th of 78 Kitchen Tarot card quilts in the "deck" I began in 1998 and hope to finish by 2022. So here's the scoop: The name "Spot the Station" is the name of a little NASA website, where you can enter your email address and city, and they'll send you notices every time the Space Station is going to be visible in your sky. They tell you the day, time it goes above the horizon and when it goes below again, and which part of the sky for each. Often it's just for a minute or two. But it's so neat! And we did go out and Jimmy got to see it, even though I couldn't, because the sky wasn't dark enough. Anyhow, that's the title, besides the Kitchen Tarot deck card's name of 6 of Pyrex Cups.

When I was wondering what my next piece would be about, somebody sent me a story about how this woman astronaut is going to sew in space, as she grew up sewing, drawing, painting, etc (just like me!) and hopes to have enough free time in a six-month mission in space, to try to make a little quilt up there. That really got my attention, even though I'm trying to de-emphasize the quilting aspect of my own work and work mostly on the painting, drawing, and writing processes I do. I read about Karen Nyberg, who turns out to be a Libra, like me, too, and I decided she would be my next story in a Kitchen Tarot piece.

But it was time to plant our gardens, and I got to thinking about showing Karen in the ISS in the sky and us planting the Rainbow Garden down here on Earth. I know when you see satellite views of our house, this garden looks like half of a crop circle, so she would be intrigued, if Karen could see it from her orbit.

On May 15 I randomly selected the tarot card: 6 of Cups for this piece. Monicka Sakki says that it's about childhood memories, inspiration, and family love. Our gardening brings us together, and Karen is busy up there in space, thinking about her husband and little son. So 6 of Cups it is! On June 2 I started making sketches for this piece, and on June 5 I cut out the big white cloth for the big painting, which I made with my airbrush on June 7, starting to write on it with my airpen on June 8, just one day over a month ago!

For the composition, I freehand drew with the airbrush and black paint, the Space Station as a big circle with Karen inside of it, and 8 big frumpy solar displays sticking out of the station. I gave it antennae and landing gear, just to make it look more interesting. You have no idea how hard it would be to draw the ISS right, and besides, it's not very pretty. All tinker-toy looking! Later, I wrote lots of interesting things about the ISS, especially on its left-side solar arrays. It's the biggest international collaboration in modern times, of five huge space agencies: US, Russia, EU, Japan, and Canada. And it's the most expensive object ever made. I got super hooked on it last year, when I saw a video of a woman astronaut giving a tour of the whole place in lots of detail! I was so amazed!

Back to the drawing stage, I made a big green Moon Goddess watching over the whole scene, from the top right corner, and put six green Pyrex Cups in the sky, along with some stars. I was going to add Sputnik, the first satellite that went into orbit in 1957, when I was an impressionable 7 years old, in second grade, but I forgot to draw it in. I later wrote about it, though.

I put in a horizon, with us and the garden down on the ground. I'm standing with binoculars, waving up at Karen in the Space Station, (and she's waving down to me, too!), and Libby, my dog, is also watching the ISS zoom by. Jimmy is tilling our rainbow shaped garden with our little Mantis tiller, and my dear friend Robin Schwalb is sitting on a garden kneeler, pulling out Canada Thistles. Behind her is a stack of bales of straw that we use for the walking rows between planting rows, and across from that is a pile of newspapers, that go under the straw, to keep weeds under control.

Jimmy's set up a tomato cage, but it kinda looks like a tornado! And above that is a the wheelbarrow, with little starts of plants I'm going to plant, that I grew from seeds I'd saved or bought. Our granddaughter Eva and her cousin Olivia are off to the left of the garden in long pink dresses, and they're planting a peat pot greenhouse of 72 pots, with my seeds.

Above Eva and Olivia is Yuki the Yaris, the little Toyota car that Robin rented, for her and me to go down to Athens, Ohio, over Memorial Day weekend, for the opening of Quilt National '13 at The Dairy Barn Arts Center, as we both had our works accepted into the show. Robin was here for over a week, and during that time, besides working in our gardens and taking off 3 days for our trip to Athens, she and I worked very hard and prepared our archives of the 1998-2004 GREEN QUILTS international healing project for the Earth, to send all of our records to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, NE.

That was such an exciting thing to do, and sending it off on June 1, all 127 pounds of paperwork, I felt a real nostalgia and sadness, but also profound sense of history. We did that project with many artists around the world, and it went on for 15 years! You can read all about it yet, since the newsletters from 1997-2004 are still on my site, in the GREEN QUILTS link. I think I'll leave it up a long, long time, probably for ever! So here are some of the things I wrote about on this piece, using my airpen and black fabric paint: On June 8, I started with a summary of the topics I'd illustrated in the painting, and with some definition of the 6 of Cups card, which of course, is Pyrex Cups in my Kitchen Tarot. Sixes are success, and cups are emotions, so my basic definition is that it's a card of emotional happiness, which we all can use, for sure!

Also on June 8, Jimmy, Libby, and I went outside on a walk with binoculars and the Night Sky app opened on my phone. I'd signed up with NASA's Spot the Station website, to get notifications about when we could see the Space Station, and that night sounded really good: 7 minutes of it being above the horizon! That's a long time, but it was only 9:30, and still not dark, and that's what made it hard to see. I found on my phone, where the ISS should be, and we walked to where we could see the horizon. It took Jimmy a while to find it, but there it was, going up fast, from the WSW to N, to NE, where it would dive below the horizon again so quickly! I didn't see it, and Jimmy only saw it, because he had the binoculars and me pointing to where the Night Sky app said it was! Very exciting! Had it been after dark, I think we both would have seen it, as it's the 3rd brightest object in the night sky. The Space Station goes nearly 18,000 mph! It orbits the Earth over 15 times a day, so you can imagine how fast it scoots along, when you're trying to see it!

I wrote about how we started the big rainbow shaped garden in 1992, the year after we bought this house. We also put a crescent Moon Garden in our front yard and put a cement turtle into it, since we named ourselves Turtle Moon Studios in 1992. Before that, Jimmy had Barnfire Leather, and I'd had Barnfire Pottery years and years ago, back when we lived in our little commune, The Needle's Eye, here in Wooster.

On the big green Moon Face, in the top right corner of the piece, I wrote about my student and friend, Pattie Sly, who died on June 10, at age 54, from cancer. I'd gotten to know her more and more, and even met her son Jack and her mother Rosie last year. Pattie was such a kind, giving person, artistic and full of life. Her death made me cry, and I barely knew her. So I dedicated this piece to her loving memory. She left behind a beautiful family of wonderful folks.

Spot the Station fave detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.

Above photo: This is my favorite detail shot of this piece, in which you see Karen Nyberg and me waving at each other; her in the Space Station and me in the Rainbow Garden. Yes, it's VERY conceptual! :) After the rest of my long statement about the piece here, there are lots more detail images at the end.

On June 11 I wrote the full lyrics to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" (which I'd only known part of) on the rim of the Space Station, because Karen Nyberg had put Jewel's version of the song up, for her little 3 year old son to hear, to help him think of her during her absence, so he could be calmed, thinking of his mommy as a star in the sky. (When Karen posted that song, before her launch, that's when I made up my mind that I was going to make a piece about her. I was so impressed that she was willing to show that soft, motherly side of herself, mixed in with all her scientific, career self stuff. She is cool!)

Also that day, I wrote about Nelson Mandela being hospitalized for a severe lung infection that wouldn't heal. Since then, the Nobel Laureate, who brought South Africa out of Apartheid and becamse the first Black President of his country, has lingered on, on the verge of death, while his country holds vigil for him. The many years he had to work in a rock quarry, while imprisoned on Robben Island gave him TB and very weakened lungs, from the rock dust. Mandela is 94 years old, and will turn 95 on July 18!

On June 12 I wrote about how I tried to talk Jimmy into ending our Rainbow Garden this year, just mowing it over and making a fenced-in area for Libby and her friends to play there. I'm so glad he wouldn't do it. The garden is lovely this year, with the mild temperatures and gentle rains we've had! It's our 21st Rainbow Garden this year!

I wrote about us finishing the movie "Last of the Mohicans" the night before, and how we really enjoy spreading movies out over 2 or 3 nights. We watch a lot of flicks now, and we don't even turn on the TV til late night. An hour of a movie, and then a little Daily Show and Colbert, or Letterman, etc. It's our quiet time together, after working all day in our studios. I also wrote about Skylab, the first US space station of 1973-79, which fell out of orbit, because the shuttle program was delayed, and they couldn't get up there to upgrade it, so it slowed down too much and crashed, spreading debris over Australia.

On June 13 I wrote that last night we had such bad storms, my friend Carolyn called to say she'd call and wake us up, if her cousin David called to let her know that his weather radio said a tornado was coming. That's how bad it was! We got lucky: not terrible tornadoes here, though this year, Oklahoma especially has had super killer tornadoes. More about Climate Change.

On June 14, I wrote that yesterday we went to see my friend Barb, whom I'd given my little kiln Esperanza to. She had later sent me money for it, since it works fine, and now I was seeing her basement pottery and how her husband had scraped and painted the almost 60 year old kiln! She gave ne sone Snowdrops bulbs, too, and I planted them in the stone planter by the door.

The mass murder at Sandy Hook, CT, was exactly 6 months ago. No new gun laws yet. Too much money behind keeping them easy to buy and own. sigh.

I took this piece in progess to show at our monthly WAGE meeting (Wayne Artists Group Effort), at Veronica's house. It's really easy to carry, when it's just a big painting on cloth!)

On June 15, Jimmy left for his 11 day trip to Grayling, MI, his annual camping and fly fishing working vacation, that he looks forward to all year. He and his friend Doug float on the rivers up there around Grayling, in Doug's drift boat, that he drives up from Atlanta every year. They have a big gathering of bamboo fly rod makers, and they catch the Hex Hatch of mayflies, and they love every minute of it. Libby and I walked tonght with Bobbie and her dog Bella, Libby's best friend.

June 16: The Black Forest Fire, at Colorado Springs, is the worst in Colorado history. Climate change is causing such extremes now!

I started watching "To Rome with Love" by Woody Allen last night. When Jimmy's gone, I see movies I think he won't like, and I knew he didn't like "Midnight in Paris," which I'd loved!

I'm reading two digital books: Eleanor Roosevelt's "My Day," excerpts from her syndicated column from 1936-45, and Barbara Kingsolver's new book "Flight Behavior." Both are really good! I found tons of baby Four O'Clock seedlings coming up from my last year's seeds today, and started transplanting them. It would start to rain, so I'd go in while it watered my plantings, and when it would stop, I'd go plant a few more. That happened all day!

Today I saw that you can get a bumper sticker that says "Obamacare: Signed, Sealed, Delivered," which I would get, if I had a car! Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, and the Republicans have tried to revolk it something like 37 times in Congress! I'm so glad we have the start of government health care! Thank you, dear President Obama!

June 17: Hasan Rowhani won the Presidential Election in Iran on June 15. He's the most moderate of all the candidates, and won by a LOT, and everyone's surprised. The conservatives didn't cheat him out of it, and the West and the Iranian Green Movement hope to work much better with him than with Ahmadinejad, who's been Iran's President for the last 8 years.

My cousin Margo and I went to Hollo's Paper Store above Medina today, and we got caught in a crazy hurricane wind and super electrical storm and monsoon rain in Medina, where the power went out, while we were at lunch at Dan's Dogs. We got our food though, and we lived to tell about it. Also got our paper and envelopes, etc, at Hollo's. I love that place! June 18: I put a series of 6 little "Hoochie Mamas" paintings on my Etsy shop today, and one sold right away! I like that! My Etsy Store, SusanShieArt has a wide price range of my works up now!

Yesterday the Supreme Court threw out Arizona's Voter Registration law that makes people prove their citizenship, 7-2. I am so glad!

At the G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland, Obama announced today that Al Quaeda may talk peace re Afghanistan. The Edward Snowden NSA leaks story hit the world news in early June, and now it's an ongoing major story. I don't know what to think so far.

I got 2 robocalls today, asking me to call Ohio Senator Portman, to ask him to vote in favor of the big federal immigration reform law. I did that.

June 19: My daughter Gretchen's half birthday is today, and my friend Skaidrite's birthday, as well.

In Turkey there's a protest movement growing against the government's growing crackdown on citixens' freedoms and secularism. Standing Man is now a protest in which the people just stand and stare, and the government is arresting them anyhow. It stared with protests about dozing a park in Istanbul in May. It's kind of like Occupy Wall Street, and kind of like the Arab Spring. Turkey has been peaceful for decades, so this is big. I hope they can work it out.

This is when I quit writing til after quilting this painting, so I heat set the paints with my iron, and started working on the batting and then the backing pieced panels.

June 20 to 22: Sewed backing fabrics together, but stopped short of finishing making them into one piece, as I wanted to have Eva see how I put my art quilts together, and she's coming with Gretchen and Mike on June 22 and she's staying a week with us.

June 22: Eva's here, and we're drawing and she's sort of watching me sew the last big backing seams. I got her to help me unroll the front, painted panel, together with its batting, out over the backing panel. Then I started pinning it together and telling her why I was doing each step in my process.

June 23: Finished putting in hundreds of pins, sewed the border, and started sewing the quilting, while Eva and I talk and listen to books. I want to only do a little each day, because I need to spend lots of good time with Eva, drawing, painting, walking with Libby, cooking, and watching movies.

June 24: Jimmy came home from Grayling! Yea! Eva gave me her first haircut ever: the Ponytail Haircut, which I wrote about here on Karen Nyberg's ponytail that floats around in the Space Station! We also had Eva's cousin Olivia here for parts of 2 days and one night, but she missed the historic start of the sewing lessons! Eva and I began making bed sashes for the twin beds, sadly after Olivia went home. But they'll both be here again this month and August, we hope, and we can keep working together, all three of us.

June 27: The little Hello Kitty Janome machine I bought for Eva four years ago is finally getting used. Eva is working hard on the piecing of beautiful batiks we choose together, and my heart is so happy to see her liking sewing, after all. She told me the reason she didn't want to do it before is that she's tired of Hello Kitty, and that's who's on the little aqua sewing machine! And now her legs are long enough, she can reach the sewing machine pedal without a book under it! :)

June 28: We took Eva home in the evening, after sewing together all day, and I got back to work on Spot the Station!

July 1: I've done the quilting on Spot, and am airpen writing again. Last week, there were some big political news stories: The Supreme Court struck down DOMA and California's Prop 8, making it legal to for same sex marriages in any state where it's legal, now including California. But the high court also struck down the 1965 Voter Rights Act, which protected minority voters from being excluded.

In Texas, State Senator Wendy Davis held an 11 hour filibuster to block a very anti-abortion law from being enacted there. She couldn't lean on anything, sit down, or take a bathroom break the whole time. Her heroic action temporarily stopped the new anti-abortion legislation, but it's going to happen soon. She's a brave woman!

President Obama made a strong speech last week on June 25,about things he will do now to start fighting Climate Change, with our without the Congress' help. In the speech, he referred to the first photo of the earth rising over the Moon, taken on Christmas Eve, 1968, by the Apollo 8 astronauts. Lovel, Borman, and Anders were the first humans to orbit the Moon. Obama gave the quote of Lovel saying how precious the Earth is, to put Climate Change into prespective now, in his own speech.

I wrote about the terrible flooding in southern Alberts, Canada, that really ruined parts of the lovely little town of Canmore on June 20, when the intense Rocky Mountain rains caused flash flooding there, and those raging rivers roared east to flood downtown Calgary, too. In 2009 I stayed in Canmore to teach a class, and walked along the lovely rivers. Such a sweet little town, nestled in the mountains that make our US Rockies look small! I hope they get the place back to normal soon! On July 1, the Egyptian military told President Morsi to meet the demands of the huge protests there, or they would find a solution for him. They gave him 48 hours and he did nothing. (Now there's a military rule, and the country is in chaos!) July 2: big heat setting, making casing.

July 3: I found the perfect place to sew on Peace Cozy #55: Right behind Robin and me, in Yuki the Yaris. It represents the GREEN QUILTS archives that Robin and I prepared to send to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum! Every time I make a new big piece, I don't allow myself to think about where that piece's Peace Cozy will go, until it's all done. Then I have to find a place where it will fit, not cover up writing, and will make sense being there.

I wrote the name of one of each of the 6 astronauts in the circles around the 6 Pyrex Cups in the sky. These are the people on Expedition 36. Expedition 37 will include Karen and the other two who went up on May 28, and three new astronauts. They keep overlapping teams, so there's always someone there to mentor in the new crew members.

On June 29, 19 Hot Shot firefighers died fighting the Yarnell Fire near Prescott, AZ. It's the most deaths of firefighters in many years. The fire was still not contained at all, when I wrote about it on July 3.

July 6: I drew on the lime green batik fabric on the back of the piece - a line drawing of Karen Nyberg, me as a little girl loving Sputnik, and Jimmy and our garden. That fabric was just too bright and plain, so I had to draw on it. I really liked doing that!

That day Karen Nyberg posted a little "like" under the link I had put on her FB page, so she could see my Spot the Station piece in progress, in its album on my own FB page. I had posted there days earlier, and was kinda sad that she hadn't acknowledged it, so was really happy when she hit that "like" button. I really want her to like this piece, which has so much about her in it!

You can view a big album of me painting this piece, even if you're not on Facebook, and I have a small album there of this piece finished.

If you are interested in studying with me, please check out my Turtle Art Camps at my home studio, and the classes that I'm teaching "out" at other places listed on the main page of this site.

Read all about my Turtle Art Camp - how it works for your weeklong artmaking experience here, and see the changes I've made to the plan. I have all new and large photos on that page this year, so you can really see what's going on. I think you'll especially want to come when you find out you can draw and paint all week on paper or canvas, instead of drawing and painting on cloth, if you like, and you don't even have to try my airpen and airbrush, or my sewing techniques, if you don't want to. I'll be working on cloth, as will most students, I think, and I'll demo how I quilt my paintings, and you can quilt one of yours, too, if you like. We'll all be doing a lot of drawing and/or writing in our sketchbooks each day. We're doing this art camp thing together to get you more opened up to letting your art flow out, in whatever medium you want it to be in. Just come!

Many thanks, Susan, aka Lucky

Susan Shie, Wooster, Ohio, July 9, 2013


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - detail. ©Susan Shie 2013.


Spot the Station - label on back. ©Susan Shie 2013.






Turtle Moon Studios: Outsider Art Quilts and Paintings
Susan Shie

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