Turtle Trax Diary for February 15, 1999. Page 18
by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)
Somewhere between Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year of the Yellow Earth Rabbit AND Mardi Gras!!!!!
...OK, so Willy the Cat is not exactly a good illustration for the Yellow Earth Rabbit. I couldn't get the fake ears to stay taped onto his head. But anyhow, here he is, basking in his jacuzzi, the bathroom sink. Cats don't like to get into the water. They just pretend.
So let's see. Since I saw you last, we had a good Turtle Art Camp here Jan 6-12, in the wintriest weather Ohio has seen in several years! And we later escaped to Sacramento for Leslie Gelber's amazing "Beyond the Surface" retreat Jan 25-Feb 1, and we began our Ohio Arts Council Artists in Education Residency at St. Peter's School in Mansfield, Ohio, which runs Feb 8-26. So life is busy! We are making our own quilt for the March 20 deadline for The Dishtowel Project, and I am number crunching 98 tax info for our tax accountant! Ain't life grand? Right after St. Pete's School, we drive down to Gatlinburg, to teach "Collaborative Quilts" at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, March 1-5. Wanna come?
It seems like a long time ago already, but Jan. 6-12 was our last Turtle Art Camp, just last month! Our three campers included Louise Orkin of Brooklyn, shown at left with her art doll in progress. Louise thinks of herself as an Outsider artist, and enjoys learning different techniques, which she then considers adding to her own unique repertoire. Her photos of her dolls kept us spellbound
Frances Alford, of Austin, Texas, is used to "different" experiences, such as being a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea! She fit right in at Camp! Working day and night on her camp projects of stitching and painting, Frances ended up with Art Wounds, sore wrists, neck, and back, from striving for a Personal Best that just plain whupped her! She gets the award for being the Hardest Working Camper!!!!!!!! And the art she cranked out was really, REALLY good, too!
Rebecca Stafford came to Camp from Napa Valley, CA, and is Frances' niece. During Camp, Rebecca turned 19, so I made her my famous chocolate frosted brownies. I spelled her new Camp nickname, Flossie, in peanuts on the frosting. She made some great art, and her award is for Bravest Young Camper!!!!!!!!
These three intrepid women lived with us through the worst weather Ohio has had in three years! We were snowed in part of the time, and I made more homemade suppers than usual, by far! We didn't even walk Hattie, because the roads were so icy. Happily, we did make it twice to Wal-Mart, and the traveling home day was safe! Please remember, it wasn't just Ohio. It was most of the country! Winter is REAL this year!
After Camp, there was time to make paintings and astrology books, do paperwork, and prepare to go to Sacramento to teach. Jimmy got a leather fly fishing reel case made during that time, too.
I made 10 paintings of "St. Quilta the Comforter Blesses Aquarius" last month. This set follows Sag and Capricorn, and is for sale as paintings and also as saintcards. I decided to turn the water bearer into the tea pourer, since St Q really loves her teapot, and just doesn't want to fiddle around with lugging a big water urn around the kitchen. Might spill it and put her hip out or something!
I have been kicking around the idea of making an astrology primer for a while now, and used our "Stitching Your Stars" class in Sacramento as the deadline to get it made and printed up. I named it "Lucky Stars-a Little Astrology Primer." In the back of it are a nice little bibliography and a foldout chart blank, for you to write your own chart into. This primer doesn't teach you how to make your chart, but helps you interpret one you have made by an astrologer or a computer service. When I had the primer done, I realized I didn't leave room for my little drawings in it, since it is so packed full of info on how to read a chart.
So then I made a second little book, which I called "Lucky Signs, a Drive-by Zodiac," in which St Q and I have a conversation explaining each sun sign, and I get to make the snotty wisecracks, after her very polite descriptions of each sign. In this book, there are lots of fun drawings to color or not, and Marigold, my birthday kitten, makes it into most pages, somehow. Both these new astrology books are for sale. I hope you'll go take a look!
The creator of the "Beyond the Surface" retreat is Leslie Gelber, at left. Here, at the vendor mall set up for the retreat, Leslie wore one of her own wearable art garments, and chatted with David Walker, one of the retreat's wonderful instructors. Having organized three previous years' retreats in Auburn, Leslie moved the activities this year to the Double Tree Hotel in Sacramento. Each year her plans grow and improve, making us all very excited about next year's retreat. Jimmy and I will be teaching again! I hope you'll look at all Leslie's web site's documentation of this year's festivities, including her Goddess Ball of wearables, and her Yards of Art fabric show. Also keep watching for her announcements for next year's retreat.
OK, so every teacher's got to have their Pets! Here's our newest pet: Sue DeSalvatore! What a gem! And she makes really fine art, to boot! This woman came close to rattling Frances Alford's record of art production, but didn't need the heat pad on her back from it! She was the student who kept me company, sewing in the bar. Even sewed in our slide lecture, as I had told students you can do, if you utilize the glow off the slide show! Gotta sit in the front row, to catch that light, and there she was!!!!!
When it came time to demonstrate Deka Permanent Fabric Paints, Jimmy got drawn into the process, when I outlined a big fish. So he colored in the trout (what else?) and put a nice dry fly on the hat I had painted on the Jimmy in the picture. the painting will eventually end up in one of our quilts, tho I have no idea which one....it could sit around for years first!
We had 12 brave students in our "Stitching Your Stars" class, in which they put their horoscope onto fabric, and I taught them the fundamentals of how to read a chart. Francie Gross, at left, was incorporating music imagery into the start of her quilt, as she is a professional musician. Always with a welcoming smile, she lit up the back corner of our room! Those girls had to work really fast, to get things going in a two day class! Did a lot, too!
Next came our three day "Soul Boxes" class, in which each student started six small panels of quilted work, to create a box, to hold their own personal vibes. Above are students Lesley Riley and Sara Austin, in back, and Lynne Sward and Katie Howell, sitting on the floor. We were having a pow wow, telling each other what the images on our box panels meant to us.
Once students learn the basically different methods in the Lucky School of Quilting, they soon relax and start really playing. Didn't seem like such a stretch to get them to sit on the floor, once I got them programmed to being six year old artists, playing in Some Grown-Up's studio!
Teesha Moore, at left, who had never made fabric art before, took to it really fast! She is primarily a stamp artist and journaler, who self publishes a wild stamp art quarterly. Her ablility to translate her creativity over to fabric textures was wonderful! She created elegant surfaces, still finding time to sit and have quiet journaling time with her husband Tracey, who also writes and draws daily.
Late night Happy Hour sometimes found many of the students and teachers, taking a break in the hotel's bar, which in California means no smoking! So we could have fun and relax in real AIR!!! Here Jimmy, Debra Lunn (who was vending her beautiful fabrics), Lynne Sward, Lesley Riley, and Sue DeSalvatore, all enjoyed the last night we could find seats in the bar, before the weekend hit, and the locals took all the seats!
Leslie's husband, Bob Gelber, kept very busy at the retreat, running around, helping wherever needed, and most importantly, taking pictures with his hot new digital camera, of all the events, including the Goddess Ball. Bob is working on a CD, which is the essence of the whole "Beyond the Surface" experience! Bob also expresses his own artistry quite well, in creating Leslie's web site.
Here is Leslie, back at her home, showing me one of her art aprons, part of her wearable art body of work. I was really stunned by the absolute beauty of Leslie's own art pieces. As she showed them to me, she mentioned that she's been in the Fairfield Fashion Shnw several times, has work in the Fiberarts Design Books, etc. Just humble remarks! She is so caught up in orchestrating the retreats she does, one sometimes forgets to think of her as an accomplished artist herself. Though she taught workshops herself in her earlier retreats, she didn't this year. She's too busy running the retreat! Alas! However, she made a stunning ensemble for the Goddess Ball. She was White Shell Woman.
Friends always ask me how Mom and Dad are doing. Living at West View Manor, in skilled nursing care, both have survived the winter well, so far. Mom is having some trouble with a swollen tongue, but now we have the doctor checking on her meds' balance. Since she can't talk, due to her advanced Alzheimer's, it's very hard to get any feedback from her...none in fact. So it's alos hard to regulate things. Mom walks with the aid of two nurses, but can't sustain it. She mostly sits in a wheelchair, but those big blue eyes watch it all!
Dad is using a walker, which is a good thing for him, as he was getting pretty unstable. He is attending a lot more group activities, and tells me he enjoys going to church there now. So I know he's feeling better. Dad has someone dial my number at least once a day, and chats. Though his memory is also fading, he is very aware of the need for interaction.
Speaking of interaction: We began our Ohio Arts Council Artists in Education Residency at St. Peter's School in Mansfield, Ohio, Feb. 8, and it will continue through Feb. 25. We have all the fifth and sixth graders and some seventh graders. There are two core groups of 15 students, which meet with us ten times, throughout the month. The four peripheral groups of 15-21 students meet with us three times, and make smaller versions of the project.
The project is a stitched, painted, and embellished quilt, made in square modules or blocks. The theme is Egyptian style Gods and Goddesses, only each core student makes up their own quasi-Egyptian deity! Lihe the God of Homework or the Goddess of Candy.
In the picture above, some core students learn to sew with a crewel needle and embroidery floss, by binding the paper spine of a little diary, which they'll use throughout the residency. The threading, knotting, and stitching learned that first day are vital to the whole project!
The same running stitch is used to connect the three layers of the quilt sandwich: White cotton front, batting, and printed cotton back. Here one of the sixth grade teachers, Bob Keller, learns along with his kids. Not shown in any pictures here yet, is Irene Maginnis, who is the art teacher and coordinator of our project, who has done invaluable work: grant writing, scheduling, collecting supplies, and trouble shooting!!!! I'll get her into next month's diary, with the finished quilts!
One of the girls draws her goddess directly on her block, using a permanent Rub-a-Dub marker, no tracing paper, and no turning back! We had the kids draw their ideas out in their diaries first, and told them to try to accept the drawing as it comes out on their block, as they had accepted and enjoyed making art, when they were very small children. Before all the enculturating of growing up happened!!!!!!!
Painting the first level of brush-on acrylic onto the white blocks really makes them come alive! We all watered down the paint somewhat, since we will be adding more paint and some air brush next week! If the paint gets too thick, not only is it hard to paint over, but it's murder to sew through. And we have a lot of hand work ahead yet!!!!!
I forgot to tell you that the fifth grade named their quilt "The Mummy Files," and the sixth grade's quilt is called "The Ra Show." All the peripheral groups' smaller blocks will have painted and stitched hieroglyphics of modern origin worked onto their surfaces. These blocks will fit between the core groups' larger blocks.
Whew! Think it'll work?? Stay tuned!
And so, it is with great sadness and exhaustion that we come to the end of the Year of the Tiger, not to return until 2010, in twelve years. Year of the Yellow, Earth Rabbit begins on Tuesday, Feb 16, same day as Mardi Gras!!!!! We Tigers sure had one fine old time this last year. Created quite a bit of chaos for the rest of you, didn't we? Well, as President Clinton moves beyond his trial, into being allowed to run the government, we hope, we can party down, for New Year's and Mardi Gras, and then we will all take a nice, quiet, year long rest.
The Year of the Rabbit will be a more gentle time. People will tend to retreat into their own business and be more compassionate. But a year goes so fast, and the Dragon Year is next! So recuperate while you can. Old Flame Thrower is right around the corner! Even we Tigers are chicken, when Dragon gets fired up! We enter the next Millennium with Rabbit getting old,and then, on the Aquarian New Moon, Feb. 5, 2000, Chinese New Year will hit us with Dragon power, and it'll be one wild party all over again!!!!!!! 2000 is a Dragon year, so maybe that flavors the whole next 1000 years with Dragon energy! A high spirited time, certainly a wild way to go into Old Age! I will be 50 in 2000, myself. What about you?
Well, that's it for now. My niece Aimee, visiting home from Florida for a month, has helped me spellcheck this baby, so we know it'll fly. Too bad I don't have a digital camera, or I'd take her picture, dictionary in hand, and we'd stick it in here! Aimee has dug up some of her old sewing projects, which have been stored in our closet for years, and we are sewing together. She's working on a funky purse, and I am making headway on our Dishtowel Project quilt, "The Frig / Emporer: Card #4 in The Kitchen Tarot."
We had a sweet little Valentine's Day. Jimmy gave me a red rose, I made him some of my brownies (which I am helping him eat) and this card. And we started enjoying the unmatched set of antique silverware we bought for each other at Early's store, Uptown/Downtown, in Wooster. There are five different designs of Rogers silver plate, and they are much more interesting together than if they all matched! Hope your VD was fun and snuggly, too.
Oh, the poem / song in the card? It goes: "Oh Jimmy, I love you. Because you are so fine. You like to catch Brookies, And use fishing line. When we are together, I'm feeling so fine. Please put down that fly rod, And let us entwine!" When I asked Jimmy how he liked the card, he said that I made Willy really well. (Willy is his HeMan cat, in the prow of the canoe.)
Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord
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