Turtle Trax Diary December 17, 1997. Page #5

by Lucky Shie

Almost Christmas! Yikes!!

Jimmy, Mama Wanda, and Hattie

Jimmy's mom, Mama Wanda, gave him a Hattie Clementine Spooler dog flag for his 44th birthday, Nov. 26.

Zoweeeee! I'm sorry to take so long to write again. I have a bunch of excuses tho, like my computer-induced carpel tunnel thing that keeps showing up in different places, partly aggravated by writing volumes on the Hospice quilt (still in progress...) And let's not forget that we were away teaching at Alfred University in the Southern Tier of New York State for the last six weeks, so how could I work on the diary from there? Actually, I put tons of diary from there into my emails to friends, and wasn't smart enough to find a way to get it here. And now it's old news! But I'll reconstruct some of it from memory for you now. I've decided to work more on this diary from now on, and just tell email penpals, "Hey, go see my diary on the web site, if you wanna know what we've been up to!" Think it'll work?

the biggest reason I haven't written is that I don't have any new diary-related stuff to sell. Not since the "St. Quilta the Comforter Blesses the Fish Widows" paintings of Oct. 30, three of which are still for sale. I have now sold all four of the original St. Q. paintings! The last one was pinned onto my quilt for the chef/quilt project, but it sold, so I have to hussle to put something else in its place on the quilt. I guess I won't be waiting to make new art-to-sell before I do these entries, but I will make new sale stuff when I can. There are three major quilts in progress, a solo show to prepare for in LaCrosse, WI, and this whole holiday thing! Are my excuses good enough?

One of the two chairs we made at Alfred

This is one of the two diary chairs Jimmy and I made at Alfred. It shows Tulipetra the kitten and her tulips, the great clam chowder at the Manhattan West, and the big snowflood.

Alfred was a wonderful experience, in which we worked with the freshmen and sophomore students in the liberal arts fine arts foundation program taught by quilt artist Petra Soesemann and an art philosopher named Beth Ann Dobie. They co-teach the program and bring in artists in residence.

Our main project, with 21 sophs, was an art diary project, in which each person worked on two old pieces of furniture, one of which had to be a chair. While getting to know each other and hearing what the plans for each chair, etc, were, we taught the kids to make their furniture strong again, prepare its surface for priming, and paint it white, in the first week. We were getting acquainted with Alfred and our big basement apartment I came to call the Love Shack/Bomb Shelter. We also unexpectedly acquired a new kitten we named Tulipetra (Tulip.) And we were working on our own art in our free time.

We drove home twice during the residency, to give our housemate Floyd some relief from cat and dog herding, and to catch up on the mounds of mail. Alfred is six hours from Wooster, but we managed, bringing Tulip back and forth in the Trooper. We were home for Thanksgiving and all the familly stuff, then went back for the last two weeks of our projects.

working on a painting with the airbrush

I demonstrated airbrush daredevil work to the students, by painting on the in-progress quilt "St. Quilta Kisses the Sore Hands of the Quilters Who Are Suddenly and Miraculously Healed." This is a piece for Rachel Roggel's "The Kiss" touring show for next year.




All the students had to at least try the airbrush, and Jimmy built a complete airbrush system with a manifold for five guns, for the department. The furniture came together really well, and we truly enjoyed the Friday discussions of art philosophy, based on readings Beth Ann assigned each week. This program is very radical and refreshing, having two profs and visiting artists all working with the students at once, and making the kids write papers and discuss the ideas behind making art.

And while all this was going on, we were eating a lot at the apartment, in our roomy kitchen Petra had supplied with all the things you need to hang out nicely. Since we took a little TV with us, we watched a lot more of it than we do at home, where the TV isn't in the studios. In Alfred, we both worked near the tube, so we are much better educated now. Especially about the weather, history, and animal behavior.

After the freshmen did their airbrush collage project and the furniture crits were done, we had our big student exhibition. Petra got invitation postcards from Modern Postcard!!! Everyone worked hard to transform the big work studios into a beautiful gallery, and we had a combo reception and goodbye party, as we were leaving the next day. It's amazing how attached we got to "our" students! I love teaching at colleges, and we will do a residency at Alfred, or any other university or school, any time!

We had two huge snowstorms at Alfred, and it was amazing to me that we managed to not get caught in bad weather on our six rides through the Lake Erie snow belt! However, on the last trip home, Jimmy got nabbed in a speed trap near Lake Chautauqua. We're waiting for the good traffic court of Sherman, NY to send us the cost of doing 72 in a 55 zone. Wanna venture a guess? Correct guesser gets to pay the fine!

Now it's mad panic rush time for the holiday stuff. Jimmy has a leather handbag order to do yet, and I have a last minute order for an embroidered and quilted very small piece. I really had planned to have some paintings to sell here of St. Q. giving blessings to your studio for 1998. Maybe I'll still get them done, but probably not before New Year's. Tut tut! It'll all work out! Ciao cheri, bye bye! -- Lucky (Susan)

working on Chicken Soup

This is me and Monique Theoret, my chef for the Women of Taste quilt project, working on my piece "Chicken Soup," which is about our cooking and friendship. Her daughter Megan stands behind us, holding Tulip. We were home from Alfred on Thanksgiving break.



Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord

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