"Shaken and Stirred: 10 of Wooden Spoons (wands) in the Kitchen Tarot."
by Susan Shie Contact me
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"Shaken and Stirred: 10 of Wooden Spoons (wands) in the Kitchen Tarot."
©Susan Shie 2018. 60"h x 93"w. inventory #505. Peace Cozy #74.
Began 11-27-17. Finished 1-7-18. Many large detail images follow this artist's statement.
Materials: White kona-like cotton from Test Fabrics, airbrush paint, fabric paint, Aurifil cotton machine thread, Artfabrik variegated hand dyed perle cotton embroidery thread, one Green Temple Buddha Boy bead. Nature-fil bamboo and organic cotton batting. Mostly Lunn Fabrics batiks in backing and border.
Techniques: Whole cloth painting. Black line freehand drawing and color areas painted with Aztek double action airbrush and airbrush paint. Small, black writing and drawing lines made with Silkpaint.com’s Airpen, using black fabric paint. Mostly machine sewn, with one row of hand stitching of perle cotton thread (on the border's outside edge.)
Statement: After Hurricane Irma, a Cat 5 storm, partially destroyed Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in early Sept, 2017, Hurricane Maria came through 2 weeks later and pretty well flattened the islands. All the electricity was out, so was clean water. Roads were ripped up. Food was destroyed. Even the airports were ruined. We all thought FEMA would go in and get things fixed up right away, as these islands are US protectorates. But that is not at all what happened. Even now, in January, 2018, large parts of the islands are still desperate for the emergency we thought US citizens all got, after natural disasters. I made this art quilt, because of President Trump's lack of caring for our citizens in PR and the US VI. He didn't see any profit to be made from helping the people there, so most of the work done to restore the islands has been done by NGOs and volunteers.
I selected the Tarot card, the 10 of Wands for this piece, and in my Kitchen Tarot deck, Wands are Wooden Spoons. I've been working on this deck since 1998, and hope to finish all 78 art quilts in this body of work by 2024. That gives me 6 years to make about 15 more pieces. And even though my work output has slowed way down by teaching full time, I think I can still make 3 big art quilts a year. (I'm allowing some slack time, for when life gets in the way! You never know!)
So back to this piece: The 10 of Wands is a big crescendo of vital life energy efforts! It's the climactic result of a lot of work. May all the people of Puerto Rico and the VI have their lives put back into order soon, in spite of the government's lack of helping them.
On 11-27-17, I selected that card and then started making sketches for this big piece. The main image I thought of right away was a long boat, made entirely of solar panels, and in each sketch, that image persisted. My solar panels look a lot like a patchwork quilt, which pleases me. I put a few of my Buddha Girls into the boat, and the boat is held up by people I think have a significant role in my story of this tragedy for the islands. In the first sketch, I put the 10 wooden spoons in front of the 10 people holding up the boat. Later, I moved the spoons out to the edges of the painting, so there'd be more room to write on the people. And when I drew the image large on the big 60 x 90" cloth, I added more and more and more Buddha Girls, wherever I could fit them. In all, I ended up with over 33 of them!
I put the Trump Tower into the sketches, and it ended up with paper towel rolls coming oout of its top. In the big painting, they look to some like canons, gigantic guns on top of the Trump Tower. And I decided that's how Trump seems to feel about the world: He'll just force his desires on all of us, and we can just get out of his way, or else! I also added Juli Briskman, the woman who saluted Trump with her finger on October 28, 2017, when his motorcade passed her on her bike, in her neighborhood, as they came out of his golf course. She is such a good symbol of our Resistance, that she is in several of my finished drawings now, and is here, and I'm sure will show up again in my work.
I put Special Counsel Robert Mueller into my work, as a very large, realistic portrait, on the left side of the piece. He's running the investigation into Trump's campaign's interactions with Russia in 2016, altering our presidential election. As I write this, I worry about the investigation being terminated by Trump's and Congress's current underining of the FBI, claiming that it has a bias against the president. We just have to hope that Justice will win out on this.
The title for this piece, "Shaken and Stirred" has to do with how incredibly rattled all Democrats feel now, with Trump throwing out one presidential order after another, and with the Republican congress going along with whatever he does, regardless of its legality or detriment to our country. We are shaken and stirred up, every single day. Trump is wiping out as much of Obama's benefits to the country and the world, as he can get away with. This art piece was finished before the Jan 20th Women's March: Power to the Polls, but I can tell you here, that we marched in as much resolve and passion as we did last January, if not more. It's been the worst year we can remember, and we fear constantly for our nation and the world, and for the Earth itself!
Here's the cast of characters in this "Shaken and Stirred" piece: Robert Mueller, as a portrait head; Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz of San Juan, PR; Lin-Manuel Miranda, the entertainer who's been leading the struggle to get Congress to put more money and people into the rescue of his family's land, Puerto Rico; the Statue of Liberty, who is now seeing a LOT of Puerto Ricans migrate to the mainland, due to their destroyed homeland; Los Trés Kaufman: Marta, Savana, and Bob Kaufman, my dear friends, who lived in Culebra, PR for 20 years as volunteer workers in their community there; my St Theresa of the Little Flowers, beside Robert Mueller. (She is my studio muse); and a cast of over 33 Buddha Girls, who stand for the Resistance. (All of them are in pussy hats, and I am one of them, in between the Kaufmans.)
The detail images below this statement are where you can read what I wrote on this art quilt. All of the small writing and printing is done with my airpen, with fabric paint put through a surgical needle. Writing the stories here, which are always my first and only drafts, takes a lot of time, probably longer than it takes me to quilt the painting! I love to do the research and write about current events, histories, and my own diary entries (without copying them from another diary. THIS is the diary.)
I dated all the stories I was writing, with a few being my personal diary entries and most others being current events and social commentary stories. I feel that all the events that happened during the time of the making of this piece fit together and make sense as what was happening in the world then, affecting our lives in larger or smaller ways.
My favorite story here was the full email from Barack Obama, that he sent out to suporters of his and Michelle’s Obama Center, on 12-29-17, as his uplifting New Year’s message. I was so excited by his optimistic ideas, that I started writing that email on the Solar Panels Boat (that the main people in the middle of the painting are holding up), and continued it on the borders of the piece.
But that story may be a tie with the personal stories I got my Kaufman friends to write for me, about their lives in Puerto Rico. It was really special, how they took the time to write such thoughtful memories for my piece. Those are written on and around Marta, Savana, and Bob Kaufman, who are holding up the right side of the Solar Panels Boat.
I finished this piece by the skin of my teeth, in time for it to go into an exhibition in my town, at the local art center, Wayne Center for the Arts. It's in "Reflection," the 2018 annual show of our local artists' group WAGE (Wayne Artists Group Effort) as its maiden showing, Jan 12 to Feb 17, 2018. Then it goes to "From Woman XI" at Lakeland College in Kirtland, OH. After that, we'll see where "Shaken and Stirred" shows up. I want it to keep being seen, to help the problems that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands face stay in people's minds. There are so many things to fight for right now, these problems are getting lost in the heap of Trump-caused nightmares.
Besides the many large images here below this statement, I also have many images of this piece in progress and finished, in albums on my Susan Shie Turtle Moon Studios FB page. You might want to go look through those albums, which are open to the public.
If you want to take a Lucky Drawing online class with me, you can find the information on my website or my Susan Shie Turtle Moon Studios Facebook page. I teach 4-week sessions with 2 week breaks in between them. Most of my students consider my class to be like taking a yoga class: You just keep going with the group. You can find info about my online freehand drawing classes on my Turtle Moon Studios front page.
If you are interested in studying with me in person, please consider my Turtle Art Camps, which I teach here at my home and studios, as well as my online drawing classes, and the classes that I teach around the US and sometimes in other countries, as all are listed on the main page of my website, Turtle Moon Studios. If you want to have me come teach at your place, phone or text me at 330-317-2167. I love to travel to teach and visit other places!
In all the classes I teach, I am only teaching drawing and painting on paper now, using a format very much like my online Lucky Drawing classes. I continue to make my art quilts, but no longer teach those processes. You can learn quilting from others. I teach how to open up and express yourself as an adult who draws. I work to convince you that there are no art rules, no right and wrong. When you knew that instinctively as a small child, you happily drew and painted wonderful things on paper. That innocence is healing, is un-stressing, and is about impossible to find in our adult world. We can get it back, while we draw together, with curiosity, eagerness, and joy.
Drawing is one of our natural skills, and we each deserve to reclaim it. Like singing and dancing, like making up poetry without rules or jazz that just improvises, freehand drawing is easy, and it feels good. So, that's what I teach now. And I will convince you to let go of your adult-self's ideas of right and wrong. There's no place for that stuff in real creativity.
Read all about my Turtle Art Camp - how it works for your weeklong artmaking experience here in Wooster, Ohio, and see the changes I've made to the camp agenda. I have many large photos on the Turtle Art Camp page, to show what goes on at this biosphere-like art experience. The emphasis in this adult students' art camp is on drawing and painting in large, hardbound sketchbooks now, because I’ve figured out that with these processes, everyone can relax and focus on expressing herself. I want my art camp to help you become more open to letting your art flow out later, in whatever medium you want it to be in.
I started my Turtle Art Camps in 1994 and they're going strong. See my 2017 TAC schedule on the main page ot Turtle Moon Studios, along with a link to my current online Lucky Drawing class description and enrollment info.
Many thanks, Lucky / Susan Shie, in Wooster, Ohio. 2-1-18.
Turtle Moon Studios: Outsider Art Quilts and Paintings
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