"JoeMala: 8 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."

by Susan Shie Contact me

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"JoeMala." art quilt ©Susan Shie 2021  full view


"JoeMala: 8 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."

copyright Susan Shie 2021. 59"h x 61"w. inventory #520.  Peace Cozy #84.

Began 12-10-20. Finished 2-13-21.

Many large detail images follow the artist's statement below.

I am a social activist painter and fiber artist. I airbrush whole cloth works which I then sew. My artwork and writing are all spontaneous first drafts on the cloth.

This piece is about our new President Biden and Vice President Harris, the 2020 Election, the attempted coup, the Inauguration, and a bit of the Impeachment #2, and the Coronavirus Pandemic.  


Materials: white kona-like cotton from Test Fabrics, airbrush paint, fabric paint,  Posca paint markers, 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. Lunn Fabrics handmade 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. Smaller writing done with Posca paint markers, because my arms were both broken over time, and I no longer have the strength to use my airpen. Mostly machine sewn, with one row of hand stitching of perle cotton thread (on the border's outside edge.)

My statement about this art quilt:

12-9-20:  I pulled the Tarot card, the 8 of Cups for this quilt's making.  In my Kitchen Tarot deck, that suit is Pyrex Cups, because I love my antique green glass Pyrex measuring cups, both of which I bought at my friend Early's store, Uptown Downtown, here in Wooster.  These cups remind me of growing up, working in the kitchen with my mother, who was the best cook in the world!  This card is about letting go of something that just kept not working out, no matter how hard we tried, and moving on, to something much better for us, in a completely new direction.  I chose the card, mostly because I'm nearing the end of this 1998-to-now Kitchen Tarot project of 78 "card quilts," and I had only 3 cards left in the suit of Cups, to choose from.  (I only have about 9 more card quilts to make!!)  I was really shocked, when I set out to write about this tarot card on the painting, because it spoke completely to me, about the change from the last administration, which for me was four years of negativity, selfishness, lies, cruelty, and abuse – to the amazing election victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.  I had NOT known the meaning of this card, when I picked it, but I feel it's the perfect energy to express that we're turning the country and maybe the whole world around now, with a chance to reverse all that negativity, and save the world yet from its path to eco-ruin, among many other forms of ruin we were headed for!


12-10-20:  I made a lot of sketches, starting with one of Kamala Harris as the SOL in an evening gown, Rachel Maddow flying over us, me and the Queen of Spoons as mermaids, and just a head of Biden, in a tall hat.  The sketches soon included women from liberal politics and 3 young women in my life: my granddaughter, niece, and sine friends' granddaughter.  In the end, I pretty much used the second sketch's format, that includes a big path from the bottom left, up to the top.  HRC was in the sketch, but turned into Deb Haaland, Biden's new Secretary of the Interior.  I had a house or church on Harris' skirt in the sketch, but that morphed into the Capitol, way before it got attacked almost a month later.  I chose to put the three young girls in my life, as reps of the next generation to maybe go into politics.  And I chose Eleanor Roosevelt, Shirley Chisholm, and Hillary Clinton to represent the older women in politics.  Bella Abzug was a mermaid in one of the sketches. But in the end, I put the Statue of Liberty in, as a mermaid, and she does kinda look like Bella!  I have to say that, after I made a lot of drawings and went back to study sketch #2 for the actual painting, it was odd to not be working from the very last sketch.  But that's how it was!


Next I cut the fabric for the painting, and instead of drawing the picture like I'd done for years, using my airbrush and black paint to draw, this time I made the composition with my Panda Markers (Crayola Super Tips, children's water-based markers.)  This gave me time to think harder about what would go where, and to change things a little, if I chose to.  I decided to add some of the Biden Cabinet women: Deb Haaland, Interior; Janet Yellen, Treasury; Susan Rice, Domestic Policy. Above everyone, I put a woman flying over, with little wings, and her hands reaching down to both Harris and Biden (who kept his tall hat, that I soon realized was Abe Lincoln's stovepioe hat!)  The flying-over woman became Ida B. Wells, an early fighter for women and blacks' rights, a lecturer, writer, and newspaper owner, and one of the founders of the NAACP.  I wanted to show Wells giving her blessing to this new administration, so different from the last one!

For other objects in the piece, I added the White House, right under Biden and his big hat; the Capitol in Harris's long skirt; the beautiful, pretty hippie-looking Statue of Freedom, on top of the Capitol Dome), and that long path up to Ida B. Wells flying over.  Under the White House I added Sandra Lindsay, a nurse in Queens, one of the very first people in the US getting her Coronavirus shot, in New York on Dec 14, 2020.  The first vaccines went to frontline workers, and then people in nursing homes, then teachers, and then the elderly.  We, who are 65 and older, are still waiting, here in Ohio, to get our shots, tho some have gotten theirs.  There's a terrible shortage of vaccines available.

When all the sketching in was in place, I used black paint in my airbrush to go over the lines I liked and added others, where I wanted changes.  I've never done it this way before, except in my piece about Fearless Girl, 4 years earlier!  Next I heatset the black line paint drawing on the cloth and used the airbrush again, to color the piece.  Any large writing on here is airbrush work, too.  All the smaller writing, which I really started much later, due to a really huge online class I was teaching, that small writing is done with Posca opaque acrylic paint markers.  For many, many years until now, I used my airpen with black fabric paint, to make very small writing on my quilts' paintings.  Later I was trying to do all the big and small writing with my airbrush, but that is really hard to do small and can be fuzzy at times.  The Posca Markers are wonderful for writing on cloth, and even though you still have to seriously heat set their lines, it's worth it. Having both wrists be weakened by broken arm accidents in the past 5 years, I am done with working with my airpen, which is very hard on your wrists, during the frequent, required cleanings.

The Posca paint markers help me make more clear lettering than I can get with my airbrush, at smaller sizes of writing.


After the wonderful, gigantic online drawing class was over on Feb 1, I seriously got into the writing on this piece.  The other reason it took me so long to get started writing on it, was that I was agonizing over how or whether to write about the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol Building in DC!  It was an attempted coup, instigated by our last president, who never once admitted that he'd lost the Nov 3 election, but instead, perpetually claimed that he'd won by a landslide.  Then he invited people from all over the US, in violent militia and conspiracy-theory groups to come to DC on Jan 6, when the Senate would be certifying the Electoral Votes, to make Biden's win of the election finalized. 


He led a very incendiary rally on the Ellipse of the National Mall that morning, telling thousands of angry supporters to march to the Capitol and fight to save his rightfully won re-election.  They went, chanting "Stop the Steal" and “
"Hang Mike Pence," (the VP was in charge of the Electoral Votes certification.)  They broke into the Capitol, beating many police, killing one that day, with a second dying the next day, from his injuries.  The mob tried to find Congress, who had gone into secret hiding.  When Pence finally was able to call for the National Guard and other police, the riot got under control, but most Congresspeople thought they were going to die that day.  Nothing this violent has ever happened at the Capitol before, and within days, the House of Representatives initiated the first Second Impeachment trial of any sitting president. In days, they impeached T for a second time, but McConnell, leader of the Senate until Biden took office, decided to hold off the Senate's trial for conviction, until 2 weeks into Biden's new term.


In the Impeachment #2 Senate hearing that just ended yesterday, on Feb 13, 2021, they referred to the former president's constant insistence that he had won the election, as the Big Lie. All those who attacked the Capitol really believe that this man won by a landslide, though he lost by over 7 million popular votes and the same exact Electoral College score that he himself had over Hillary Clinton in 2016 (306 to 232.) Anyhow, I did finally start writing about it, and about other things, too, like the Covid-19 Pandemic, also made worse by that former president's insistence that it was just a hoax, and that we shouldn't wear masks, etc.  I wrote about other current events, and about Ida B Wells' inspiring life.  If Wells was living now, SHE would have been busy writing and lecturing and publishing about this last few months in our country.

In the end, we had a beautiful Inauguration on Jan 20, even though the hate groups wanted to come back to the Capitol and slaughter the new administration. Now there were 25,000 National Guardsmen keeping the peace, after the Jan 6 situation, in which a lot of work had been done to keep the Guard and other reinforcements from coming to fight the mob at the Capitol. I can't remember if I ever got around to writing about Amanda Gorman, the 22-year old poet laureat, who wrote and recited the most glorious piece for the Inauguration!  If I'd had any room left on this piece, I would have added her to it!  She looked like Tinkerbell, in her bright yellow suit, standing at the podium, reciting "The Hill We Climb," and waving her hands in the air, clearly casting a spell over us all!  She referenced the coup of Jan 6 more than once, and clearly left us with the hope that good will prevail in our country!  But that we must stay diligent and truthful, and protect our nation!  I've done a drawing partly about her, and yet, I think she needs to show up in a quilt yet!  Too bad I didn't think to add her to the back of this piece.  Maybe later I can revise it!

I may have written a bit about the historic Impeachment #r2 for the last president, over his responsibility for the coup. He was acquitted by the Senate, with 6 of his party voting with the 50 Democrats, to convict him, but they needed a lot more Reps, to convict.  That decision was just yesterday, Feb 13, 2021, and I don't think I mentioned more in the writing, than that the Senate trial was going on. I was finished with this piece, when the decision came out.


I included some song lyrics in this piece.  On Kamala Harris's hair and face, I wrote the first verse of the song "Get Together," by Chet Powers in 1966.  Also, on 7 of the 8 Pyrex Cups, I wrote the first verse of "Tea for the Tillerman," that Cat Stevens/Jusuf Islam wrote and made famous.  That song just came into my head, when I was wondering what to write on the cups.  "That happy day," referred to, at the end of the first verse, to me is Biden's Inauguration!  I still consider it to be a huge miracle that he won, fair and square, and all of his opponent's zealous efforts to force changes to keep himself in power, were all thwarted.  May our beloved United States all come together now, to make life better and better for everyone on this Earth and for the Earth herself!


I've been putting a haiku into each of my drawings and art quilts, and in this case, it's in the hair of the three young girls: Eva, Savana, and Karlie.  It says:

"Be the world's keeper.  (on Eva's hair)

Don't let greed take us over.  (on Savana's hair)

We the People CARE."  (on Karlie's hair.)


2-14-21: I flew like the wind to turn this painting into a quilt and get it to Lakeland Community College in time for the "From Woman XIV" exhibition, curated and orchestrated in every way by Mary Urbas, the long-time gallery director and curator there.  I had many works in her very first From Woman show and have shown annually since then at this exhibition.

Written on 2-14-21.  Happy Valentine's Day!  May all of our hearts be full of love and hope for the healing of the people from Covid-19, and for the healing of our planet.  May we all learn to trust each other and to always vote in leaders who will work hard to protect all the People of the whole world.  May we all trust honest news services and not believe manipulated, propaganda news sources, which is something that's become a huge problem in our land and the world.


-- Susan Shie, Wooster, Ohio written on 2-14-21.  Finally posted here to my website on 12-9-21.

You can see an album of photos of me making this art quilt, "JoeMala," that even includes the casual, freehand sketches I made for it, before working on the large white cloth that became the painting, then the quilt.  It has a LOT of in-progress pix in it, including lots of airbrush work I was doing.

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.

In all the classes I teach in person, I am only teaching freehand, intuitive 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 freehand, intuitive 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 continue, but have not taken place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Look for my 2022 TAC schedule on the main page at Turtle Moon Studios, to see when I'm able to start the camps up again, along with a link to my current online Lucky Drawing class description and enrollment info.  I've been able to keep teaching online all through the pandemic, but I also miss my in-person classes, in my home and studio here in Wooster, Ohio, and teaching at other locations.

Here are a lot of detail images of this art quilt, "JoeMala":

"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 1



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 2



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 3



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 4



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 5



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 6



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 7



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 8



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 9



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 10



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 11



"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 12

 This is the label on the back of this piece, "JoeMala: 8 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."


"JoeMala." ©Susan Shie 2021.  detail 13

 This is me, standing in front of this just-finished piece, "JoeMala: 8 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."

Turtle Moon Studios: Outsider Art Quilts and Paintings
Susan Shie

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