"Daily News: Queen of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."
by Susan Shie Contact me
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"Daily News: Queen of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."
©Susan Shie 2018. 58"h x 93"w. inventory #507. Peace Cozy #75.
Began 7-4-18. Finished 9-5-18. Many large detail images follow the artist's statement below.
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 commercial batiks on 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) and some fancier ladder stitching around the top and top-sides of the border.
Statement: On the morning of the Fourth of July this year, I was feeling pretty glum and troubled about the state of our country. Then I saw on the internet, the cover of the New York Daily News tabloid, which really fired me up. You can see it on the far right side of this piece, as my own freehand drawing of that cover image, complete with its headline. So I was feeling better. But I wasn't feeling good enough about the Fourth of July to assign that holiday to my online Lucky Drawing class, as its new Special Event drawing.
But then I saw on the internet again, a group called Rise and Resist, standing along a wall at the Statue of Liberty's pedestal, holding a huge banner out over a railing, and it said in massive letters: "ABOLISH ICE." Well, on top of the Daily News cover, now I was starting to get really excited about how people were fighting back, against the crazy way our president is changing our country beyond recognition, as the land that we love and honor. I knew those resisters were going to get arrested for draping that "Abolish ICE" banner there for all to see, at Liberty Island. Wow! They are so brave, I thought to myself.
And THEN, my husband Jimmy called me to come see what he'd found on Google News: a live video from a helicpoter in the NY harbor, with a reporter trying to figure out what was going on, again on Liberty Island. This time, a shaky live camera feed was trying to focus on a small spot, a tiny human shape moving around on the Statue of Liberty, at the hem of her robe! They finally figured out that it was a woman in casual tee shirt and athletic pants, walking back and forth, sitting down, looking at her phone, getting up and moving around to sit somewhere in another fold of that massive copper skirt on Lady Liberty herself!
By now I was beside myself, and I gave my students the assignment of the Fourth of July, in my private Facebook group freehand drawing class. More and more of us saw the news about the mysterious woman on the Statue of Liberty - how did she get up there, and why was she there? My students and I were posting stories about this wonderful resister. Gradually drawings started to be drawn, and the story of Therese Patricia Okoumou and her connections to Rise and Resist came out, as the US Park Service Police finally got ladders up to Okoumou and after her being up there for 3 hours, they talked her down.
She had climbed the very tall Pedestal barehanded, with NO climbing gear, and she intended to stay on the Statue of Liberty as long as it would take, to get the president, his administration, and ICE to bring back together all the almost 3,000 children who had been separated from their parents, when crossing the US-Mexico border as asylum seekers, since Trump started that Zero Tolerance policy in April, 2018. A federal judge forced them to stop separating favmilies on June 20, 2018.
You will read in this art quilt/painting's writing, the whole timeline, up to this late Summer, of the whole history of Trump's decision to take children from their families when they crossed the border, and separate them, imprisoning parents in one place and children in another, often in very different parts of the US, with almost no documentation being made, of who went where. You can read on my piece, about how it has taken the ACLU and many other NGOs, to fight for the families, to finance their repreentation and their bills to the government, to get their children back, and all the chaos that happened and is still happening, in the attempts to find and reunite these political exiles, who were treated like criminals by our current leaders. Never mind about the Statue of Liberty representing our country's wonderful history of taking in asylum seekers and giving them a new chance in life, in a new world. Now instead, the US became as bad or worse of a threat than what the families had been forced to flee in their Central American homes, coming here with nothing, and receiving nothing but being treated like hardened criminals.
So that's the main story here. It turned out that Okoumou had been helping to hold up the "Abolish ICE" banner, just before she left the group and climbed up to the Statue. She was arrested and given 3 federal misdemeanors, and had to appear in court the next day and again in early August. Her big hearing is scheduled for this Fall. And meanwhile, she has been speaking out quite vocally, against the ontinued slow and sloppy attempts the government has made, to reunite the families it had ripped apart so ruthlessly. Even that wouldn't be happening, but a judge ruled that their policy of "Zero tolerance" for immigrant families was unconstitutional.
And meanwhile, on August 26, Okoumou spoke at a public demonstration against Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, at a rally in NYC. She wore a green dress, with written on it "I really care. Why won't U?" (a clear parody of the green jacket Melania Trump wore, when she went to visit children held in detention (prison) in Texas. On the back of her jacked, big white letters spelled out "I really don't care. Do U?" So the dress Okoumou wore to the rally was a rebuke of that strange jacket Melania wore earlier. (Okoumou also had on the seat of her dress "Be Best," which is the theme title of Melania's anti-bullying project.
After I painted my big white piece of cloth that would become this art quilt, other events kept coming up, that I had to write about on the piece, once I switched from painting and coloring in the imagry with my airbrush, to doing the tiny diary writing with my airpen, with paint, not ink, being what I wrote with, as usual. I told the stories of the events on the Fourth of July, and added any new events that were happening. I had painted my girlfriends in our group Oasis, holding up the "Abolish ICE" banner, not the Rise and Resist people from NYC. When I was using my airbrush and painting, I texted those friends and asked them to each take a selfie of what they'd look like, if they had held up that banner the day before. (I was painting on July 5.) So we are all there, like we wish we had been, tho we totally admire all of the members of Rise and Resist, who REALLY DID THAT PROTEST!
Other events that I wrote about included Rep. Maxine Waters' efforts to get citizens to shame Trump's cabinet members, when they saw them in public, and heckle them for participating in T's destruction of the United States. Actually, I had made a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty, beside the tabloid cover, and that is Maxine Waters. So you can read her story there. You can find lots of stories about the Fourth of July protests on the large face in the middle of the painting, which is my version of Okoumou as the Statue of Liberty. But there are two other Patricia Okoumous in my piece: One on the left side, large and holding up a sign, and another above the torch on the right side top, above the Police perimeter caution tape that says "Happy Birthday America" on it that Okoumou is pretty tiny, but it's her, just sitting in the folds of Liberty's garment.
I was chasing a deadline to enter this piece into the Quilt National '19 entry, before its Sept 5 deadline at midnight, central time, and because of various events that came up at the last minute, (in the last week or so), I only got my entry in by the skin of my teeth, with 16 minutes to go! Those events included: My big Janome 6600 breaking down, just as I sat down to quilt this piece!!!! (I had already planned to sew night and day, until it was done, at breakneck speed!) Luckily I have another machine, so I sewed the whole thing with my much smaller Pfaff 1473, that has a 7" throat, compared to the 9" throat on my Janome. Both have walking foots, but the Janome just started sewing and would change into a stampede of super-fast sewing that was uncontrolable, whether I used the foot pedal or the button on the machine to sew with. So she sits in my studio, waiting to get repaired, I hope. Meanwhile, my Pfaff is the shero of the time, because I was able to roll up that big quilt and get it through that tiny throat of the machine, and get all the quilting done just fine! (I had really thought it would e much harder, and I had never tried to sew a quilt this big (58 x 93") with that little Pfaff. And it's a 1990 sewing machine, to boot!
After I got the sewing done, and got all the hand stitching done, where the border meets the painting, I still had room to write on the quilt, especially on the border. About that time, the anonymous op-ed to the New York Times came out, about how some of Trump's highest ranking staffers are trying to keep him from doing the most damaging things he wants to do, and how they're just trying to hang on, until he is removed from office. So I wrote part of that op-ed letter in the margins, though it wouldn't all fit. You can google it. It's from Sept 4, 2018, I think. Or maybe it was even that last day I was working on this piece: Sept 5!
I also wrote about the Nike and Colin Kaepernick deal, in which they use his face, with the saying: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything." I wrote that on the big Statue of Liberty's lips, along with Nike's saying "Just do it!" Kaepernick is famous for starting the kneeling, taking a knee, to the flag, during the Star Spangled Banner being sung and played, at the start of ball games. The reason they do it is to show respect for their fallen brothers, in this case, the people of color who've been killed by police violence, an epidemic in our country. Trump has fanned the flames against this movement, calling them traitors who disrespect the flag. But it is what the military have done for a long time, in honor of their fallen compatriots in war. So Nike emerged in support of Black Lives Matter and Kaepernick, and the country gasped at their willingness to risk losing the business of a large segment of white, Trump-supporting sports fans. I am so proud of Nike and Kaepernick, and all of the athletes who take that knee.
I'm listening to a story on NPR right now, with a guy from the USACA, who said that about 400 children are still not reunited with their families. They're hoping that the remaing separated families will have a chance to start over, in applying for asylum here, and have their children returned to them. It's still a huge mess, and now there's Trump's new policy of denying green cards to immigrants who need any kind of government assistance. It sounds like immigrants living her now, having green cards and assistance, will lose them. Why does he have such a vengence on immigrants, who are such a strong part of our economy? We have always prided ourselves in our compassion in the world, but now, apperently because there's not enough profit in that, it's out. How I miss our compassionate country!!!.
I selected the Tarot card, the Queen of Cups, which are Pyrex Cups in my Kithen Tarot deck, for this piece, back in April, but at that time, I started another quilt with it. But because I was unable to talk with the subject of that topic, I wasn't getting anywhere with it. So when I decided on the Fourth of July, to get back to the barely started quilt finally, I soon realized that I honestly needed to just start the big piece of white fabric over, with an entirely new composition about the Fourth of July. So the first start of this piece is quietly folded up, awaiting another chance to do the research and get it off the ground. And it will have another tarot card as its connection to the Kitchen Tarot.
The Queen of Cups is all about compassion and love. The Statue of Liberty and the Emma Lazarus sonnet that's associated with her fit this tarot persona just fine, as does Patricia Okoumou, with her protests to reunte the asylum-seeking families and her strong hunger to protest Trump separating them. She climbed that Pedestal with her bare hands! What a determined woman! Okoumou is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but has been a US citizen for many years now. I made her the main subject of my story here, as the Queen of Pyrex Cups, of love, caring, and compassion.
News goes on. I have to get this story up on my website now, so I can start my next big art quilt, about the suffragette Charlotte Woodward Pierce, the youngest woman to attend the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, and the only one of them still alive, when women got the right to vote in 1920. Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. The 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote. So I've got to get busy on that one, for a traveling show about the Suffragettes, that I'm proud to have been invited to be part of.
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 black fabric paint put through a surgical needle. Writing the stories here, which are always my first and only drafts, takes a lot of time, certainly 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 all of our lives in larger or smaller ways.
I want my art quilts and my drawings to keep being seen. There are so many things to fight for right now, and all of 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, so you don't have to have a Facebook account, to see my albums there.
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 12 day 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 next 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. I've found that 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 2018 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. September 24, 2018. Please keep scrolling down this page now, to see and be able to read my stories in the many detail images I've posted here, of my piece "Daily News: Queen of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot." Thanks!
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