Turtle Trax Diary for September 19, 2000. Page # 28
A Very Cool and Colorful Summer!
by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)
Page Two of this month's diary.
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We scored with another wonderful group of four students in August, 2000, for Turtle Art Camp. Here are Kate Mellina of Asbury Park, NJ; Ricki Moffat of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Irene Friedman of Oxford, OH; Teddi Henderson of Mt. Clemens, MI; and us. Everyone but Jimmy once again, has the wondrous camp tee shirt we worked so hard to make together, as we do all our camp and class shirts. Everyone has to do the same mark on their own shirt and then on everyone else's shirt, until we've got them really caked up, front and back. Wait'll you see the backs! But meanwhile, the quilt on the wall behind us is "For the Birds," a piece Jimmy and I made in 1989 and have updated very little. We were sending it to Atlanta, for the exhibition that's up now: "Remnants; Threads of Memory," which is showing alongside the AQN suitcase show "Signatures in Fabric III."
We'll be teaching at Spruill Center for the Arts, where these shows are now and will still be up, doing a "Mixed Media OutsiderArt Quilts" class Oct 23 - 27. To sign up, call Spruill Center at 770-394-3447. Do it fast, as they're under-enrolled and threatening to cancel the class!!! It's the same wild class we taught at Q/SDS this June, including airbrush! And we'll make the tee shirts!!!!
OK, this is the back of one of the shirts from August Turtle Art Camp, and all the shirts are pretty much the same. Remember: most students have never airbrushed before. This is a perfect way to get some relaxed practice, just drawing or coloring in on a bunch of playful shirts! When we're done, everyone feels a lot more at ease with airbrush! We don't trace, but make the same images on all the shirts in this particular "edition," and since there were only five shirts this time, I kinda went crazy, putting this Cleopatra on them all. Got the idea from the name of the gallery owned by student Kate Mellina. Her place is called "Cleopatra Steps Out." Isn't that cool? So I got her permission to put Cleo sewing on the shirts. Oh, but don't get her confused with MISS Cleo, the big Tarot reader psychic we love to try to sound like, on TV!!!! Wrong outfit! Actually, now that I think of it, the FRONTS of those shirts look like Miss Cleo, but it was meant to be St. Quilta the Comforter. But since I decided, paragraphs ago, that St. Q might sound like Miss Cleo, we now see that this rant is going full circle. But no, it's not nearly time to quit! If you've had enough, just come back and finish it all later! It'll be here!
During this Camp, we had a little birhtday party for our student Ricki and our niece Aimee, who both had August birthdays. Anything for a party at Turtle Art Camp! Aimee brought Omari's little blue airplane thing, that you hang from a doorjamb and he's suspended there, on a bungy cord. Jimmy has decided that Omari is very brilliant, way more intelligent than most children his age. He sites Omari's special way of hopping like a cute little Frog Boy, happily jumping up and down in this airplane. Jimmy gives him about a year, before he's old enough to start learning to fly fish. As of this writing, Omari is six months old. He's a nephew of Jacob, aka Blue Boy, in the cow concert above. Blue seems to run in the family.
One of the nicest projects we did this time was to have all the students put all the work we all had done all week up on the main workwall, on our last day. They had to arrange the pieces, as if they were going to really be a quilt that we'd sew together . They had to think about not only composition, color, value, subject, etc, but also about how to fit the panels together. I showed them how we sew the pieces to each other, and each student had to do some stitches on the seams, before we ripped them out. This also taught them a little about where shims will be needed, and how the panels spread apart as you sew. We always sew our multiple-panel quilts together on the workwall, and this project helped the students understand our process better. It's a project we intend to keep doing with all long classes from now on.
I know it looks like the campers are having a poker game right there in the studio, but it's really Ricki, Irene, and Teddi practicing the origami folds Jimmy taught them for making a cowboy boot out of a dollar. We had cleaned up the worktables the last night of camp, and the open expanse would have lended itself well to a good card game! (It's also perfect for unpacking quilts that come back from shows. I try to keep the table at least close to being cleaned off, most of the time, when I don't have students, and I find this practice leads to a lot more spontaneous art making. It also makes me enjoy my studio a lot more, if I can keep it uncluttered! But for camp, forget it! We make constant clutter and chaos!)
All set to blast off to travel home, Ricki in her Canadian Travel Hat, Irene, and Kate pose with me and Doris out in the garden. Teddi had already zoomed off to Michigan in her Mazda Miada, wanting to get a head start on school prep, as her art teaching duties were happening the next day! Irene was facing the same thing with her art students in Oxford. So, goodbye to Paradise for these guys for now!
When camp was over, we had to go wild on our entry for Quilt National's 20001 competition. After all, QN is THE show to be in!!!!!!!! Always has been. We've been lucky enough to be in six of them and won the Best of Show long ago, so we always try our best for this baby! Well, everyone does! It's only natural!
We had begun this quilt, the next piece in The Kitchen Tarot back in Sept, 99, as a demo in Turtle Art Camp. We'd made a painting on a long, card proportioned rectangle of fabric, padded and begun to quilt it, and then it got stuck, unworked on, while we had other commitments. We took it along to St. Louis, to the Island Press workshop we did at Washington University at the end of October, 99, and used it as the model for the center of the quilt we designed for them to make prints of. Well, they haven't gotten to the real project of making 16 printed, quilted, stitched, and beaded quilts, based on this yet. But they will.
But meantime, we took our original central panel, put it on the wall with a 5'h x 6'w canvas behind it, and airbrushed the big blank canvas, to integrate it with the already painted panel from last year. In the photo above, just the first part of the painting of the canvas was done. It was very light, and you can easily see the central panel, which on the now-finished quilt is liftable, to reveal another painting behind it, on the canvas. Hee hee. More sneakiness!
So here is the final quilt. 61"h x 71"w, with the big canvas also quilted with a batting and lots of hand sewing and some beading. It's called "The Cookbook / Hierophant: Card #5 in The Kitchen Tarot." (This is really #6, since there is a #0 card in Tarot.)
Here are twin St. Quiltas, or maybe one is Miss Cleo, OK? They're holding open the cookbook of the Turtle Moon Studios Test Kitchen. They're armed with their ever lovin' Pyrex cups and evidence-shredding graters. And Marigold, St. Q's favorite cat, is floating along the top, between their tomato pincushions. All the writing is done with the airbrush, spontaneously, not copied from an earlier diary entry. (I never do that. Boring!)
We also entered "The Fridge / Emporer," but think this one is a lot more "readable" in a photo. Anyhow, we like "The Cookbook" better!
This is the upper right corner detail of "The Cookbook." You can see St. Q has her Moon nearby, giving her intuitive prowess, as usual. She wears a very diary stained muu-muu, and on her chest is her ever-present frumpy cross doily. Balancing her Fiesta Ware teacup on her scarf covered bad hairdo, as always, she raises her tomato pincushion in a toast... to having lots of cookbooks and never reading them! "Look at the pretty pictures and then COOK!" That's what she says, in her best Jamaican accent!
This is the actual card we'll soon have to sell, in our hand-made laminated Kitchen Tarot card set, which will put us pitifully up to only six cards!!!! It's the center of the larger "Cookbook / Hierophant" quilt, cropped merrily in PhotoShop. But it's also mostly the central panel of the larger quilt, the part you could lift, if you were here with us, and could peek under, to see St. Q's big smiling face! If you look closely here, you can see the overcast stitched edges of where the middle panel stops and the painting behind it starts. You can't really see them, but there are antique rhinestones on the hands holding the book open. That was my favorite embellishment, and also the little square ceramic blocks, above the cat heads, that spell out "Turtle Moon Studios." Oh well, you can't really see that either!
Since we had such a cool summer here, the tomatoes and peppers didn't amount to much, as I said, but the flowers did overtime! This pic of the Rainbow Garden is at the start of September, and believe me, there are a lot more big bushy splashes of flowers now, just a couple of weeks later. I guess it's because we had some warmer days finally and some good rain. (We really had rain off and on all summer though, and shouldn't complain about that! There's always something really acceptable to complain about instead! Like GASOLINE prices this summer! Yeah!)
Floyd's friend Emerson got us some wooden benches they were throwing away where he works. Jimmy and Floyd fixed them up and restained them. We gave one to Mama Wanda, my mother-in-law, and still have four of them spread around our yard. When the city road crew was taking breaks, as they resurfaced our street this year, they lounged on this bench by the garden a lot. I know it had to be refreshing to sit in the shade and stare at flowers, after running that road equipment! I like to sit out there and just soak up all that life and color sometimes! But now it's back to work on the garden! It's Seed Collecting Time!!!!! At the rate we're going, we could easily have a frost before the wedding, an evil early frost that wipes out not only the flowers, but the precious seeds for next year! So I am taking a break from writing this diary, before my eyes fall out of my head, and heading outside pretty soon! Twilight is the perfect time to work in the garden!
Mike and Gretchen posed in front of Jimmy's massive sunflower bed, when they were home in early September, to pow wow with their preacher, pianist, florist, and photographer for their wedding. They even got in a little R and R, wandering around our town's WoosterFest, and attending Jacob's band's gig at the talent show on the square. Then Mike's mom had a shower for Gretchen, and then we went to Chicago and they went home, and it was Labor Day!
Northbrook was the suburb where we taught in Chicago, to members of the North Suburban Needle Arts Guild. Bobbye Weis-Gerber, left end of middle row, was the program chair who worked with us to arrange our visit and to take care of us in Chicago. We were her first teachers to bring in during her year as chair, and she did a wonderful job! Many thanks to Bobbye and the rest of this lively group! We gave a lecture and then did a two day workshop, with no painting, since there just isn't enough time to try everything in two days! But these women worked very hard, doing a lot of sewing in the evening, too, and came out with some great little sample pieces! They are well versed in the Lucky School of Quilting now!
Here some of the students are arranging their finished or almost finished pieces on a table. As we did in the August Turtle Art Camp, we discussed placement of small pieces, in order to create a larger quilt from them. Then we went around the circle of around 20 students, and each person talked about her work. It was nice to have a sense of closure and getting to know each other, which is also how we began the class, with group introductions. We try to get our students to always interact, and this pack of Chicagoans meshed very well in only two days!!! We especially thank all of them, for their kindness, when we found out about Mom's illness (read below) We finished our class, surrounded by their love and nurturing that last day. Many sincere thanks for the group prayer and continued prayers, too.
While we were up in Chicago, Mom aspirated her meds at the nursing home, and went into severe pneumonia. She was rushed to the hospital and struggled her way back to safety with the doctor and nurses' care, and with my brother Jim and sister Debi watching over her. All weekend, we all watched her getting better. It was amazing really, how lucid she became, for HER anyway, while recovering. We think maybe it was the oxygen they had her on. She almost said a word now and then, and her eyes really followed people more than usual. She seemed to be responding a little better to our conversations, too. Now she's back at the Home, being watched for swallowing problems better. We chose to not put her on a feeding tube, which we felt would really diminish her quality of life, and the staff has thickened her already-thickened liquids to the point where they are served with a spoon, rather than with a cup. Mom is 83 and apparently very, very strong, to have recovered so much, from almost dying on Sept 6! She's up in her wheelchair again and not on oxygen!
We all want to thank everyone who prayed for Mom's recovery. Now we ask for continued prayers for her to have comfort and a good life. Her name is Marie Shie. Thanks!!!!!!!
Studio Art Quilt Associates is having a national conference in Santa Fe at the start of November, and there's a big auction to raise money for the group. This piece, "Turtlemoon Gothic" is one of 12 little pieces going into a specially made box that'll hold all of them on shelves. They're all 12" x 12" and this "Gallery in a Box" is one of the auction items. Some of the other artists in this box project are Jane Burch Cochran, Debra Lunn and Michael Mrowka, Wendy Huhn, and Michael James. We enjoyed making this little quiltlet, airbrushed and hand stitched, and hope it helps raise some good money for the cause! You can read details about the conference, auction, etc, at the SAQA website.
Oh oh, what's going on here now???? This is the Great Meeting of the Cake Toppers! In front are Gretchen and Mike's beautiful little bride and groom statues, with him sweeping her up in his arms to cross the threshold. Rooting them on are OUR cake toppers, our sweet little Godzilla Girl and Boy, from our own wedding cake years ago! The costumes we made them are a bit dingy, but these two partying fools just don't care! Their Joie de Vivre is just outta this world! They greet the coming wedding with gusto, and to Gretchen's great fear, they wanna come to the partéeeeeee!
The story of Gretchen's wedding shoes: Once upon a time, my daughter bought the loveliest white satin shoes, for her wedding, at a shoe warehouse in Cincinnati. But alas, the bridal shops wouldn't dye them ivory to match her dress, since she hadn't bought the shoes at their evil stores. So she brought them to us, thinking we are good at colors! We were sore afraid though, since the white satin of the shoes had a bluish caste (much like Jacob's hair) and we thought ivory dye might turn the shoes green.
So the local shoe repairman said he could dye them, as he does prom shoes all the time! But egad, they turned SHELL PINK on him!!!!!! (And was he ever freaked out!) Now what to do??? After a few hours of flapping in circles, I got one of my brainstorms, but would Gretchen buy it? I told her I could paint roses in ivory fabric paint on the shell pink satin background, and it would make the shoes look like brocade. Since her bouquet will have pink roses in it, and since the gown has flowery appliques in ivory near the bottom, it seemed like it should work. To my shock, she said I could try. Especially since the caveat I threw in for her was that she could buy any shoes she wanted to, if I failed to please her.
Now these shoes have a platform on them, and $120 had been spent to alter the hem of the gown to fit Gretchen in THESE PARTICULAR shoes, so it wasn't just new shoes we were talking here, but maybe even more alterations. And yes, I was too chicken, way, way too chicken to either make that dress or alter it!!!!! But she had asked me to do both, and I was happy just leaving it at that, basking in the idea that she had even ASKED, and begged her to buy a dress and have it hemmed!
Now back to the pink shoes. After CraftSummer was over, I finally decided it was time: do or die! I slowly painted one flower on one shoe. I didn't want to put shading on them or outlines; just ivory petals. Hey, lookie! It looks OK! I showed them to Jimmy and he seemed amazed! When they were done, I donned my respirator and heatset them with a hair dryer, and took them to the Princess of Cincinnati, to see if they were adequate. Happily, she likes them, realizes they are very unique yet pretty, and will wear them to her Ball!!!! Hurray! And we all lived happily ever after. The end!
We're on the home stretch now, for the wedding October 7. I don't have any pix yet of the shower we had here Saturday, but will maybe stick one or two in next time. You can bet there'll be wedding pictures, too! I hope to have the next diary up by November 30, and it will cover Gretchen and Mike's wedding, art camps here in Sept and Nov, classes in Cleveland and Atlanta, and some art, as usual!!!!!!!
This is a drawing I made of the Tomato Demon, the little 3-D doll I sewed in Tarot Art Camp in July, to pursuade the tomatoes to grow better! The real doll hangs from the neck of our scarecrow Doris.
What the real Tomato Demon says on her heart is "Hey, you bad tomatoes you, you better get busy and grow, or ELSE!"
I'm leaving the little doll out in the garden until the first frost. She's fading and I like that. I hope to make a new Garden Spirit each year! Now I just hope I really pull it off, as my big ideas often get way ahead of me! Happy Fall, y'all! Celebrate that Equinox on Sept. 23, first day of Libra!
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Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord
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