"Sisters," aka "The True Story of Sisters on Diets." Detail view and statement.

by Susan Shie Contact me

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Sisters - detail view. ęSusan  Shie 2006.

"Sisters,” aka “The True Story of Sisters on Diets.”  2006. 63"h x 55"w. 

Begun November 20, 2006.  Finished December 18, 2006.  #332. Full view.
#12 in the Peace Cozy series.

Whole cloth painting on white cotton fabric.  Beginning drawing made with airbrush and later enhanced with paint markers; colors painted with airbrush; then small, diary writing made with airpen and fabric paint. More painting (my Peace Roses) added by hand with regular paintbrush, over writing.   Machine crazy grid quilted.  One row of hand sewing inside edge of border. One Green Temple Buddha Boy bead. One Peace Cozy appliqué.  The diary writing was done between Nov 28 and Dec 16, 2006.

I’ve been wanting to make a painting about my sister Debi and me for a long time, and when we found out that we were both on diets that started about the same time, it seemed to signal the time to make this piece.

I drew us with our arms around each other, and I wrote Patty on Debi’s head, and Cathy on mine.  We use those names in our emails – like Patty Duke and her cousin Cathy.  They were identical cousins, and we are not at all identical sisters, so we think this is very funny.  The real Patty Duke turned 60 on December 14, so I wished my sis happy birthday, too, since she's Patty.

Debi is eight and a half years younger than me, and it’s really been since our dad died that we’ve been doing more and more stuff together.  We’re as close now as we’ve ever been, I think.  We each have one child and now one granddaughter.  Her Matthew has Olivia, and my Gretchen has Eva.  Our two brothers have all kinds of grandkids, but we each have one little girl!

I drew us holding a big pie between us, as pies are what I use sometimes to show gifts, surprises, and special things – like a pie in the sky!  A dream come true kind of thing.  I put a little hand turkey on this pie, since I was drawing it right before Thanksgiving, and I figured our little grandgirls would like it.  When I told Debi about it the next day, she said it was really weird, because that morning, on a whim she’d put a hand turkey drawing on a get-well card’s envelope, just before sending it, and that she hadn’t drawn one since she was little.  That made us both feel good: our psychic turkey pie!

I told stories on this piece about things from our childhood – about Dad and Droopy Drawers, the rubber cocker spaniel toy he’d make “look at” us, if we wouldn’t stop crying!  And the story of that last squirrel Daddy shot when we were little, that Debi cried so much over, she got him to finally stop hunting!

I put our husbands on the piece, and our mom and dad and brothers, and then, on our aprons, I drew our kids and their spouses and their little girls.  I put a tall house on each side of us – one for our crazy Shie family side and one for our straight Snyder family side.  I told a few little stories about these two family heritages which are so different from each other.

I didn’t get in much diary writing about politics this time, though I suppose I coulda.  Debi and I and all our immediate family members  are Democrats, except for one person, who’s still a Republican. But he voted Dem this time!  And he didn’t vote for Bush the last time, so he might as well be a Dem now!  During the making of this piece, the Baker Commission on Iraq came out with its report, that we need to get out of there and to get back to diplomacy with our foes.  Bush is busy ignoring it.  Also, Senator Tim Johnson, of South Dakota, had brain surgery, and if he’d die, the Senate will be tied 50-50. If he doesn’t fully recover, he can still maintain his seat, as a Republican from his state did in the early 70s.  But if Johnson dies or retires, the Republican governor of his state can appoint anyone he wants, to take Johnson’s place.  Man!  Cheney will break the Senate's tied votes, if it goes to 50-50.   Blah. And we worked so hard to get that control of both houses of Congress in November!

But I didn’t write much about politics, because this is about Debi and me.  We spent a lot of time together before Christmas, going shopping together without our usual Christmas howling buddies, our cousins from California. They didn't make it this year, though Linda was here for Aunt Nellie's funeral after Thanksgiving. Debi and I ran all over creation and had a big time, and I got to show her this Sisters piece about us, right after it was finished.

I put the Peace Cozy on her husband John’s shirt, where there was the “0” in “JOHN.”  I know he was a little unhappy that I didn’t do a very hot job of drawing him, so this is my peace offering.

Jimmy and I got our new cell phones in mid December, and now I think I'm pretty used to mine. I always drown in reading the manuals for stuff like cell phones, til I get them figured out.  Mine’s pink and is named Rose or Rosita.

One of the backing pieces I used for this quilt, a very bold blue, purple, and white pattern of sort of Japanese lantern shapes, is a piece of fabric my new friend Carlene Keller gave me, because I gave her a Mac lesson on iSally, at Art Quilt Tahoe.  She and her friend Judy Bianchi make hand dyed fabrics, and they had a booth there.  She has a new iBook (Mac laptop), so I was showing her all kinds of cool Apple stuff, since it’s her first Mac computer.

I don’t usually use fabrics that it’s hard to see the writing on, but this one is very special to me.  So some of the writing on the border is hard to read.  Sorry. I’ll go back to easy to read fabrics now, but I had to use this very amazing piece.  I had to piece the whole backing a lot, because all the pieces were fairly small.

My next piece will be the Moon card in the Kitchen Tarot, but I don’t think I’ll get it even started in time for my solo show at Wayne Center for the Arts here in Wooster, that opens Jan 12.  Sisters will be my newest art quilt in the show, and I hope to exhibit at least one of my new paintings in my Women’s Story Portraits project.  The first one will be my Aunt Nellie Snyder, who died the day I started Sisters.

Aunt Nellie was really cool, and Debi and I were together with Donna and Nancy and Nancy’s boys, the last time we saw her.  She was 90, almost 91, and very sick for over a year.  It was her time to go, but it’s so sad for Uncle Lester, who’s very lonely now. Actually it's a big loss for the whole community, since Nellie was a real mover and shaker in Orrville, Ohio.

That’s it.  Bye, Susan, er, Cathy. Written 12-28-06. I guess this is the last quilt I'll be putting into the 2006 Gallery. Happy New Year!


Turtle Moon Studios: Outsider Art Quilts and Paintings
Susan Shie and James Acord

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