Class Descriptions

Susan Shie


Contact me

Lecturing about my new piece Rain Garden. ©Susan Shie 2012

Above: I gave a talk about my new piece "Rain Garden: Ace of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot," at Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster, Ohio.

Teacher of the Year 2008 - Professional Quilter Magazine

I received the Teacher of the Year 2008 award from Professional Quilter Magazine. You can buy a copy of the Spring, 2008 issue # 103 of Professional Quilter, which contains a cover story about my teaching philosophy from the magazine's website.

Note to quilt guilds: I really enjoy teaching around the country for guilds, and can easily make any of my classes into 1 to 2 day classes for your group.

Studio Blessings OM 1. ©Susan Shie 2012.

Above: "Studio Blessings OM #1." ©Susan Shie 2012. 12" x 12." This is my donation for the SAQA online auction 2012, and it's an example of my style and the methods I teach. This piece will be auctioned starting on Sept 24, 2012, at 2 PM. Read how the auction works here.

The emphasis in all of my classes is no non-judgmental and very intuitive art making, on finding ones innocent artist voice, which has been ignored for so long. I nudge students into more intuitive, expressive ways of drawing, painting, sewing, and writing, although writing is only an option, and no one has to write on their work.

In 2017 I am switching my in-person teaching emphasis to teaching drawing, as aserious, end-in-itself art form. I feel that this process allows for the least use of time in teaching how to use materials, and so, it allows me to really focus on teaching students to open up, stop judging their art abilities, and learn to dump the art rules and just purely create. I am really not interested in teaching other processes now, but if you insist, I can still teach fabric painting on cloth with brush and markers (and airpen optionally.) I just want to cut to the chase and get artists to understand their inate ability to DRAW! I see so much digital transfer to cloth, of photos, which tells me that the artists don't think their drawing skills are good enough for the images in their art. That's too bad, and I am on a crusade to bring out the drawing skills in all of us who could be drawing!

In most of the classes I've been offering, we work daily in sketchbooks and then move to making narrative paintings on cloth with marker, airpen (optional), and fabric paint on whole cloth. I may be the only airpen teacher in the art quilt movement. I also teach airbrush (a very different tool from airpen), but only teach it at Turtle Art Camps in my home studio in Wooster, Ohio, because it's too much equipment to take out.

But remember: the thing I'm the best at is getting people to find out that they can draw really well, and to respect their own personal style, which is waiting inside of them, where they left it, when they stopped drawing, as a child.

Please contact me for scheduling, etc. NOTE: My format works fine for classes that are longer or shorter than five days, but five days is an ideal length. Naturally, I prefer longer classes! But I can teach as short as one day classes and as long as four week ones. I will make you a syllabus and supply list for any length of class you'd like to talk about.

My fees and expenses:

My fees are $700 per day for my class teaching stipend, $500 per lecture, as well as all expenses, door to door. These expenses include travel, such as mileage for airport trips, airline tickets, baggage fees, shipping any supplies back and forth, taxis if needed, as well as all room and board expenses for the trip. I need to arrive at least one day before teaching starts, and leave no sooner than the day after teaching ends.

I now offer a lot of different classes, besides my Turtle Art Camps here at my Wooster, Ohio Turtle Moon Studios. Here are the classes I offer for teaching at YOUR place:

Maiwa class group 9-2011. ©Susan Shie 2011.

Above: My Maiwa Workshops class group in Vancouver, BC, Sept, 2011, with part of the table full of the paintings and quilts they've made in their five day class. Behind us is my large art quilt "Ardis and Betty: Making Salsa: 2 of Wooden Spoons in the Kitchen Tarot," which I had just finished at home, before coming to teach in Canada.

Class #1: Diary Paintings for Art Quilts:

This was my most popular class offering, for many years (but I prefer teaching students to draw now, way more than teaching this one!)

This is described as a five day experience, but can be modified to any number of days. Its end goal is being able to spontaneously draw, paint, and write on whole cloth paintings that become freely machine sewn quilts. The processes we focus on depend on the number of days of the class.

The workshop includes use of markers and airpen for drawing and writing, and brush-on fabric paint for coloring the paintings. The group creates a long list of topics to select one from, via majority vote, for each day of class, so the students all respond to the same idea, but from their own personal viewpoint. Rebels are free to work on a different theme from the group theme each day. The class is very free and open, with much sharing between students, me doing a lot of one-on-one teaching, and us discussing our work each day in show-and-tell format.

Ideally each student will make one fat quarter sized painting on fabric for each day of the class, and select one to machine "crazy grid" quilt, using this simple process to turn their painting into an art quilt. For classes of shorter duration, figure one painting per day. For classes longer than five days, the paintings may be larger, more resolved, and we can get more sewing done.

Emphasis in this class is on letting your intuitive creative energy flow out fresh, right onto the fabric, without judging it as right or wrong. We'll use sketchbooks to develop ideas, but not erasers or tracing paper. Sketches will be set aside, when it's time to draw on the work, so that fresh images are made.

I teach airpen use in classees of three days or more. No one has to use the airpen, if they don't want to! But it's fun and easy, and it makes an incredibly beautiful and rich line for drawing and writing, unmatched by any markers made. Airpen use will be determined by how many students are in the class, and everyone will work some with markers, when not using the airpen. I'll have two airpens there to use. In short classes, such as a one or two day, the only airpen activity will be me giving a demo at the end of the class. Longer classes are needed for airpen to be taught. But short classes are still good for learning to draw right on the blank fabric, painting freely, etc.

Libby on the Ocean in progress. ©Susan Shie 2011.

Above: "Libby on the Ocean" in progress, as I had just finished demonstrating how I do my "crazy grid" quilting for a class. You can see I still have some room to write on the water, but had run out of class time to do it in, so had jumped ahead to the quilting.

I teach by demonstration, so that I evolve a piece as the class progresses. But I am a very hands on teacher with my students, so that I'm often up and moving around the room, working with each student as much as possible. I ask my students to come find me whenever they need help, to make sure they aren't stuck! I want all my students to learn as much from me as they can and to end the class very happy that they studied with me. I especially want to free up their creativity.

North Coast Needlers class 10-11. ©Susan Shie 2011.

Above: My Diary Paintings for Art Quilts class for the North Coast Needler's Guild in Cleveland, October, 2011.


Class #2: Narrative Quilt Independent Study.

This is described as a five day experience, but can be modified to any number of days.

This workshop explores ways of making pictorial, narrative art quilts, with each student beginning the class working in her current personal imagery style, using the materials she’s been using in her body of work, back in her own home studio. With everyone working on a new group-invented theme each day, what connects us all in our work will be the theme.  My “library time” exercise, a brief quiet sketchbook drawing and writing period that begins each day, will help you find your direction and approach to the themes.  Lively and frequent group show and tells will lead to us possibly using each other’s supplies and processes, stretching our own methods and styles, maybe even collaborating.

I’ll present some of my own techniques, such as fabric painting, airpen writing, and crazy grid quilting, which you are welcomed to try and merge into what you’re already doing.  But the class emphasis will be on how we communicate ideas through personal narrative. During the last day, we’ll each work on sewing one of our narrative tops into a quilt, in our own ways or ways we see happening in the class, or in new ways we think up while being in this creative mix.

Because different techniques take different amounts of time to produce a piece, slower-method artists will work on less of the daily themes, and faster-method artists will work on more. There will be no problem with needing to complete anything, so even if you only work on one piece, it’ll be fine.

Take this class to push and stretch your personal narrative style and to broaden your thinking by seeing how other artists approach the same pictorial theme concept in their own ways.  You may take home new processes to weave into your working style.

Note: You may or may not include writing in your narrative art style, or you may use any balance of imagery and writing. It’s all up to your and your own choices.

Supply list:  Bring all the supplies you work with in making your own narrative quilts at home.  Bring enough of everything to make 1 -4 roughly fat-quarter size (18” x 22”–ish) quilt tops in your current style and to quilt or start to quilt one of them, by the end of the class.  (You’ll work on less than 3 tops, if you know you work more slowly, so bring supplies accordingly.) Bring your sewing machine and its threads and tools.

Each piece will have a theme you are unaware of now, but if you are set on pursuing a specific theme you have in mind now, you can bend the group themes to your needs. There will be no rules for sticking with the class-chosen themes.  Just intense focus and a lot of fun while working hard.

The Riverwalk - San Antonio. ©Susan Shie 2016.

"Riverwalk in San Antonio with Susie Monday, May 11, 2016" is a drawing I started on the airplane, coming home from teaching in San Antonio in May. Yes, I juggled my big hardbound sketchbook in my little airplane seat, not letting it disturb my seatmates! If you want to draw bad enough, you find a way! I drew this with my Rubadub black line marker, freehand, from memories of the magical experience of discovering the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio, the night before. I started to color it in the airport, waiting for my connecting plane back to Cleveland, and I finished coloring it, even adding more stuff to it, later. It's 14" x 22", ink, colored pencil, gel pen, and a fortune selected at random, that says, "You have an unusual equipment for success. Be sure to use it properly." I always select the fortune at random, when the drawing is done, while I try to focus on the drawing, as I reach for the fortune in my bag of them.

My Sassy Artist Class series:

Three classes focused on drawing and painting on paper, so you can find out that you really, really can draw quite well!!!

Here are three new one day classes I've designed to help students learn to enjoy making narrative art, mostly working on paper, so the emphasis is really on the imagery. If you can't come draw with me at a Turtle Art Camp in my home in Wooster, Ohio, and you can't take another live class with me somewhere, you can also study drawing with me online. See my Lucky Drawing Class Information.. What I really want to do NOW (in 2017) is teach the way I do online, also in the classes you hire me to teach at your place. I'm convinced I can get the same really good results out of in-person class students, that I've been getting with my online students for over two years now!

Below here are the 3 one-day classes I started offering for in-person classes, and I hope you will choose to have me teach up to a five day class with large, hardbound sketchbook work of developed drawings soon!


Sketchbook drawing for Sweet Jane. ©Susan Shie 2012

Above: This is a sketch I made for my "Sweet Jane: 9 of Potholders (Coins) in the Kitchen Tarot" piece, in January, 2012. It's done with Rub-a-Dub laundry marker and blue Bic pen.

Sassy Artist Class #1: Drawing on Paper

Learn to love to draw - celebrate your own style and attitude! Instead of trying to learn to draw realistically right now, you will learn to really embrace the drawing style you already have, which is probably not quite as “good” as how you drew as a child, if you had stopped drawing. Your current style is really probably much like the look of drawings by children or outsider artists, and I’d like for you to open up and allow that style to now shine, instead of you being ashamed of it. AND, the more you draw, the more you will improve your drawing, if you think it needs to improve!

We’ll use markers, ballpoint pens, colored pencils, and crayons on paper and pounce on our drawings the way a child does, with gusto and brilliance, with the real joy of creating! You are such a genius! Making art can be a very satisfying, even healing process, if you are happy when you’re doing it. You cannot be happy when you’re busy judging your work. You must embrace it and learn to wallow in the joy of creating, in whatever style you are naturally working now. We should dance and wiggle around, while we make art, to keep our energy flowing sweetly!

If you like, you can study later, to become a more realistic drawing artist. But for now, you will gain happiness and feel more alive by drawing naturally and being proud of what you make. I will teach you how great of an artist you are right now! And I will teach you this in all of the classes I am offering here.


Eva as a Mermaid. ©Susan Shie 2012

Above: "Eva as a Mermaid" is a drawing and painting I made in my sketchbook, while Eva was here for a week, and we were experiementing with different brands of cheap watercolors, so I'd know what to have my adult students bring. This piece has Rub-a-Dub laundry marker, Prang and other watercolors, crayons, and yellow overliner marker, and I did it in my 8.5 x 11" hardbound sketchbook, so the piece is 11"h x 17"w. I promised to get Eva a fancy sketchbook like this for her eighth birthday, but we just gave her two other sketchbooks, so she can fill them while she waits a few months! :)

Sassy Artist Class #2: Drawing and Paining on Paper

In a one day class, work with markers and watercolors on paper, the way children do. Wake up to how joyful painting is when you thrill to what’s coming out of you, instead of thinking it has to be perfect. Let your brush saturate the work with the flowing energy of vivid and magnificent colors!

Children and outsider artists are proud of their artmaking. They know it’s perfect as it is. I will help you relax and bring out your joyful creative voice. You will laugh and also work hard, but not feel it as hard at all, because you are growing like a plant that’s finally being watered and fed good stuff!

We will choose themes together, but you can use the themes or other ideas you have! We'll make many paintings on paper in one day. Then you can later use them to inspire your quilt making.


Painting on cloth for an art quilt. ©Susan Shie 2012.

Above: Here's a detail of a painting I was making on fabric with markers and fabric paints, which would soon become a small art quilt.

Sassy Artist Class #3: Drawing and Painting on Paper and Cloth

In this 1 day class you’ll do some drawing, then make one painting on cloth for a future quilt, and learn how to work more spontaneously, while really enjoying it, like how kids enjoy making art. We’ll use markers, fabric paints, and bristle brushes to create one painting each, starting with a fat quarter of white cotton cloth.

Beginning the day with sketchbook work will help you find a diary story you can use as the theme of your class painting. It may be about your adventures today, this week, or something else that’s on your mind. Writing on your painting is an option. Some people want to write on their work, some do not.

Painting becomes art quilt. ©Susan Shie 2012

Above: "Summer and Winter Goddesses." ©Susan Shie 2012. 11.75"h x 26"w. This is the art quilt I made, using the painting shown above.


Susan Shie bio:

Shie portrait sewing with Libby. ©Susan Shie 2012

Above: Hand stitching the border edge of my "David Wax Museum: 3 of Potholders (Coins) in the Kitchen Tarot" piece in June, 2012, with Libby supervising.

Susan Shie (pronounced "shy") lives in Wooster, Ohio with her husband Jimmy Acord. Both have studios in their home and are fulltime artists. Shie, born in 1950, holds a MFA - Master of Fine Arts degree from Kent State University School of Art [1986] and a BA from The College of Wooster (1981, Phi Beta Kappa.) Both degrees are in Painting. Her medium is quilted narrative paintings, a form of art quilts, which are time capsules of current events and her own diary musings, often created within the context of her epic Kitchen Tarot project (1998 to 2024.)

Shie has received two NEA Grants (1990-1 and 1994-5), four Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grants (most recent in 1998) and Artist in Residences in New York City, China, Ireland, and Alfred University in Alfred, NY. Shie received a $50,000. Major Artist Fellowship from The Ohio Arts Council and NEA in 1990-91. She won the "Best of Show" award in 1987, at the first of her 13 Quilt National exhibitions. She was given the Teacher of the Year 2008 award by Professional Quilter Magazine. Look for her Episode #1013 on The Quilt Show online, if you're a subscriber to that marvelous program!

In her narrative art of diary, current events, and historical commentary and in her teaching, Shie strives to have a positive, uplifting effect on those who see her art around the world. Her work has been in many national and international art exhibitions since 1980, as well as in many articles and books. Along with founding and maintaining the GREEN QUILTS world project (which officially ended in 2004, after 15 years), Shie helps organize and develop local art events and projects. She sees the making of art as an integral and important aspect of healing: balancing, cleansing, and unstressing. "When people learn to really bring their artmaking process from their intuition, unjudged by the rules they've learned, they make their most exciting work. This genuine creativity is very centering and healing." This is the emphasis in her class teaching: showing students the way back to creating from their hearts and souls.

airpen lesson 2012. ©Susan Shie 2012

Above: In my longer classes, I give one-on-one lessons to my students in how to use an airpen to draw and write with fabric paint. Some love it, some would rather use markers, but the best way to find out is to try! After that one-on-one lesson, those who don't like airpen can go back to their markers! I figured out how to use an airpen to put crispy, rich fabric paint lines on cloth in 2003, and have been getting better at it all along since then. I keep finding improvements in the methods I'd invented.

Turtle Moon Studios

Susan Shie

Contact me

| Home | | Classes | | Gallery | | Green Quilts | |Links |
| Resume | | Stuff to Buy | |Turtle Trax Diary |
| Visit Jimmy's Leather Studio |

Copyright 1997 Susan Shie and Jan Cabral

Web site design © Susan Shie and Jan Cabral 1997. All subsequent web site work, ©Susan Shie 1997-2017.

This page created by Susan Shie, February 4, 2017.

Web site hosting by Key to the Web, Ltd. ©2017.