Turtle Trax Diary for December 4, 1998. Page #16
by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)
At right above, Duane Hart, Hattie, and Jimmy enjoy the autumn splendor, just outside our garden shed, which doubles as what I call the He-Man Woman Haters' Club. (from an episode of Our Gang.) The boys have electric and heat out there, along with lawn chairs. All they lack are water and a phone! Note they also have a picnic table now. No beds yet, as far as I know. This palatial hideaway is just down the hill from Jimmy's studio, and next to my very fem Medicine Wheel.
If you have your handy We'Moon book / calendar around, you know that yesterday we had a big fat Gemini Full Moon, and that today Moon crabwalks into Home Lovin' Cancer, where we all get extremely grumpy yet maternal! Well, We'Moon won't put it that way, but Wicked Ole' Lucky will! That reminds me, I'm supposed to be making up my Lucky Stars book, my little astrology primer, in time for Leslie Gelber's Beyond the Surface Retreat and Classes in Sacramento in late January! We're teaching Stitching Your Stars and also Soul Boxes, and some really neat people will be teaching and taking classes there! I'm going to be doing simple astrology charts for our Stars students, and they'll be making up their charts in quilt form. In Soul Boxes, the students will make a funky quilted box, to hold whatever they need to stick in there!
At left is a newly quilted St Quilta painting, which I finished and sent last month, to its new owner, Deanna Davis in Piedmont, CA. I guess it's pretty hard to see the stitching and beadwork, but trust me, there's a plenty of glitz on it now. Any of the St Q paintings that are in the Stuff to Buy page can be quilted, by me or by you! There are lots of paintings available for presents for your loved ones...or for you!
As I look out at the garden, where Ruth the trusty and ever earthier scarecrow still keeps guard, all is dead and withering, except for that amazing green borage, still flowering. If it were a normal fall, I expect it would be fried by now. But since we continue to have tropical weather, the borage persists! We had a mosquito in our bedroom the other night!!!! And I am thinking of polar melts, and hon, it ain't pretty, the price we may pay for this Springlike November and start of December! As for me, I enjoy cold weather, fires in the fireplace, tons of covers at night, and yes, snow! I wither under the summer sun, and my only gripe about winter is when it gets icy. Walking Hattie, who has all-paw drive, is like mushing, as she drags me along at her normal speed, while the not fleet footed me tends to slow down on ice....a lot!
At left is a shot of my studio table, while I was painting the "St Quilta Blesses 1999" paintings (which are also available as saintcards.) I lay them all out in a row, and draw each one separately. Then I start painting each color onto all the paintings, like all the muu-muus at once. After the regular fabric painting is done, I add any glitter paint, and then the paint markers. I have to heatset them all, before doing any squirt bottle painting, as the iron would smoosh the paint lines flat. Right now I am out of glow-in-the-dark paint, but I really love to use that....That's why I'm out!
I love working in a set this way! I stand up to do painting, listen to books on tape, and move around, back and forth a lot! It happens over several days, since I let the colors dry out before adding anything that would be next to wet paint. I end up taking them into my dad's old room, my original studio here, to apply the squirt bottle paint. You just don't want cats to walk on wet paint and mess up your art, and their health!
At right: Bob and Marti Kaufman and Sapphire, wearing her sapphire blue ribbon bow hair, like she always does.
When I got the computer I use now, Waltzing Matilda, who is a Power Mac 7300/180, I set aside my beloved Sapphire, a Macintosh LC II. I had always felt bad, that faithful old Sapphire sat alone in Dad's old room, covered with a lovely old tablecloth, but unused. I kicked around how I might find her a good and welcomed home, like in a third world country, but nothing happened. Then one day, my pals Marti and Bob Kaufman, in Culebra, an island of Puerto Rico, told me that they had received two old PC computers and were looking for a printer, for the community center Marti runs. I told them I had not only a good printer, a B&W StyleWriter II, but also Sapphire and all her trappings. They were thrilled, as they are also Mac people.
The way we finally got all the equipment to Culebra had a sad reason. Bob's father, Paul, died unexpectedly, and Bob and Marti came home. It was after Hurricane Gorges had ravaged their island, the third hurricane in as many years or so, and getting home was a trauma, but here they were. We packed lots of goodies around all the components, modem, manuals, cartridges, etc, and Sapphire rode in cargo on the plane home.
Now she lives in a wonderful and grateful home, where underprivileged children enjoy playing games and writing on her. Sapphire is satisfied! I hope you will be able to find good places to take your equipment, if you upgrade, too. Sure is better than having it collect dust in the house! PS. Sapphire also still wears her sapphire blue ribbon bow hair, since I told them she will function better if called by name and allowed to keep her own hairdo.
This is a quilt we finished in the Spring, and put a detail of, on the diary, but I had forgotten to take overall photos of it! It's the "Hospice Quilt," made for Hospice of Wayne County, which is close enough to walk to from our house. So we finally went and got the pix this last month! (See. I do, too, procrastinate!) It has the whole history of this Hospice written on it, and the names of all the donors to the new building are embroidered down the sides.
It's dedicated to our friend Luanne Moffett, who died of cancer, with Hospice's care, in 1991. She, like we, loved turtles, so there's a huge turtle as the main image here. I painted that turtle in the woods, on the ground, at a women's campfire for the Summer Solstice in '97. It was hard to see in the firelight, so I just trusted Luanne to kinda guide my paint color choices!
Anyhow, this quilt now hangs in the lobby of the wonderful new Hospice building. It's 79"h x 58"w. Go and see it!
One morning last month, the newspaper announced that one of our oldest stores in town was closing that very day, and having its final sale. We are not much for shopping crowds, but we both grew up on the Gold Star Store, where you buy feeds and seed and anything you need for gardening or pets. It is also the place I used to take Gretchen every year, just before Easter, to see the baby bunnies and baby chickies in the front window, under big warming lamps, awaiting new homes as Easter presents. We'd stand outside and admire them from the front, then walk inside and admire them from the back, with no glass between us, so we could hear the peeping! I took my nieces and nephews, after Gretchen was too big for it. And mostly I took ME!
So there were Jimmy and me, two weeks ago, and about a hundred other teary eyed Woosterians, packed into the store we'd always counted on. It smells like fertilizer. It has old wooden floors and no frills. Straw hats, bandanas, bird feeders, fly swatters, the very best local mix of bird seed, flower bulbs and pots, seeds to weigh out by the pound or ounce, gloves, towels (they got weighed, too), and cat wormer......What a joint! Oh, the mixed nuts for my first wedding came from there. Everybody got them there, yummy and cheap!
First we were leaving, because we didn't want to stand in line to buy anything, and there musta been fifty people in line. But then, at the door, I saw some cool garden clogs and tried them on. They were duck-foot shaped, just like my feet. I ended up buying two pairs of Goudas, bright red ones and very bright yellow ones! They are my Gold Star shoes! So then, standing in line, we both found more things we "needed," like genuine Gold Star feedsacks and a pair of gloves for Jimmy, and some funnels, and a gardening calendar. They were out of Gold Star yardsticks. So we wanted one even more. But no.
When I was growing up, the thing that woke me up every school morning, was the radio in the kitchen, below my room. At 6:00 am, Mom turned on The Gold Star Farm Report, which began with a John Phillips Sousa march. Boy, did that alarm clock swing! Then we heard all the stats on farm produce prices....eggs were down, pork bellies were up....soybeans, which way were they? Uncle Harold raised 'em, but I sure didn't know what anyone would do with them. Back then, they only got fed to farm animals. Jimmy thinks that's what they should still be limited to!
Anyhow, farewell, Gold Star! You will live on in our memories, feedsacks, and yellow garden clogs.
I made this painting, as a commission for our friend Frank Bishop, to give to his wife Cheryl for her birhtday. It was a lot of fun, keeping the secret and sneaking out to their beautiful log cabin, to get visuals for the painting. It's about 20"h x 30"w. Frank is the guy on the right, about whom I lied and wrote on the painting that he was so excited that he learned the Macarena for Cheryl. I was kinda nervous, wondering if Frank would think that wasn't funny!
Here is wonderful and highly fluffy Marigold, stretching on her little tippy toes, to see the St Q Blesses Sagittarius paintings, all over Dad's old room. I am using a futon carton to be a painting table in that room. Not the best arrangement, but a dedicated artist will always find a way to make art! Marigold will be six months old in a week or so, and you know what that means! Off to old Doc Mairs to be spayed. This cat trills enough, without being in heat!
Here is one of the paintings from the set pictured above. This is the first sign in my "St. Quilta the Comforter Astrology Blessing Paintings." I chose Sagittarius, that sexy riverboat gambler, because we're in that sign right now. If all goes well, I'll be offering Capricorn next month, and a year from now, have all twelve signs to buy. There are paintings and cards as well.
In February I'll have my "Lucky Stars Astrology Primer" to buy. It'll be a little xerox coloring book, like my other books, with 16 pages and a hand sewn binding. It'll teach you to understand the basic makeup of a chart, the planets, signs, angles, and houses. And that big fat Moon!!! With some real smarty, smarty comments from your weird old astrology lady, Me.
Here is the start of the next Kitchen Tarot quilt. It's The Stove/Empress. About 85" high. I had to rip apart the start of the Dishtowel quilt, flipping it over and sideways to be the base for this one. This one is for a deadline January 1, for Jane Burch Cochran's "Lucky Tomato Pincushion Project." There are six of us in it, all using little paintings I made, of a tomato pincushion, somewhere in our quilts. Mine is the window in the stove door. Don't know what Jimmy will do for this quilt yet, since he's very busy making leather stuff right now. I will probably get him to machine sew over some handwriting, as part of it, and maybe make some leather chatchkas of some kind. Trout I know he would make, or leather tied flies!
Here's an order Jimmy just finished: a leather portfolio custom made for Susan Marks, of Berkeley. It's big enough to hold legal pads and books. She had me design the images and then Jimmy tooled and painted them on the case he designed and handsewed. The paint has a lot of glare on it in the photo, but the muu-muu on St Quilta is bright lime green, and the flowers are nice and bright oranges. The dragonflies and Love Whammy hands are also much brighter. On the back are a big Full Moon face, two turtles, and two happy, wiggly snakes.
Jimmy turned 45 on Thanksgiving, Saggie that he is. The next night, we gathered some great friends and family, including Gretchen and Mike, and got four incredible guitar players, who had never met each other, to jam in the living room. Above are Paul Schmidt, with his back to us, Mike, and our nephew Jacob, who's my brother Jimmy Shie's 13 year old son, the Boy Wonder guitar man. Not shown is Alex Yomboro, our friend who silkscreens and airbrushes everything in sight, including cars and guitars! (He's on the front page, remember? The guy with the wonderful dreadlocks!!!) He and his wife Karin Ellison have a wearable art business called Zebra Studioz, in Schuyler Lake, NY.
I used to play guitar, but I can't keep up with these guys, who are really into blues. I can't do bar chords, and I don't practice! It has been my dream for over a year to get these four together! Mike was home from Cincinnati, Paul wasn't busy with his congregation, and Alex and his family were visiting from upstate NY. What a wonderful coincidence! They were doin' Blackbird and Ziggy Stardust and old Dylan stuff and Stairway to Heaven and all kinds of songs the guys had written themselves! Flashbacks to our Needle's Eye commune in the 70's. AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Here are Gretchen and Mike, the next day after Jimmy's party. Mike is wearing a t-shirt for the magazine he works at, Strength, which is a skateboard and snowboard magazine, published internationally from Cinci. Gretchen is wearing a happy smile. Could it be because she loved hearing all those old guitar tunes from her childhood, the night before? Or because she knew how much we all enjoyed hearing Mike play and sing? He is really good!
Now you know, anyone who would plan to devote the next 11 years or so to making a quilt project called The Kitchen Tarot, would just have to go nuts over something as practical as a kitchen sink faucet, or spiggot, as it were. Here is OUR NEW ONE, which my hero Jimmy Acord installed! MY MAN!!!!! See how pretty the handles are? They are the old fashiioned porcelain kind, and the spout is a big goose neck, so frumpy, earthy types, such as myself, can wash their hair in the kitchen sink. By the way, did I mention that he put in a new garbage disposal last month? (We don't use the disposal at all, except to clear the drain, when it's running slowly! We compost absolutely everything!!!!! Even daily coffee grounds and tea bags. Even cat hair! It goes out, and what the varmints don't eat turns into good dirt for the garden!) Tell you what: I wlll rent him out to you for $100 an hour, plus travel, room, and board. Just to do remodelling, mind you.
At right is another little painting I quilted and embellished, for Kristi Fielder who lives in Germany. It's #3 of "St Q Makes You Her Famous Chicken Soup." You probably can't see all the beads, again, but use your imagination! All the lines are hand stitched with floss, with stitches that are also quilting. That's how the Lucky School of Quilting techniques work: all the stitching goes all the way through all the layers and makes big, keen knots on the back. We loves knots!!
Well, caught without my stunning makeup....again. Like always. Never mind! This is the last bouquet from our beloved Rainbow Garden for this year. And right behind me are the golden maple trees, above my Medicine Wheel, and of course the He-Man Woman Hater Clubhouse. How I love Fall! Even tho all the bright colors are gone now, we are still having that everlovin' pole-meltin' Spring breeze here! What millennium????
See you next month, probably about this same time. We have a Turtle Art Camp here Jan 6-12, so I have to have it "up" before then. Once Camp starts, there ain't no fooling around with computers allowed, 'cept for a dab of email!
Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord
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