Turtle Trax Diary for April 11, 1998. Page #9

by Lucky Magnolia (Just added the Magnolia part, after seeing a really fine tree on our walk with Hattie last evening!)

Easter Eve!!!!! Full Moon in Libra!

"I am the Egg Man.....Egg Woman."

OK, so tell me the truth. Does this yellow kinda gag you? Well, it's only this once. Kinda devilled egg yolkesque. Say it's in honor of both Easter and of my friend Elizabeth Owen's studio name....Devilled Egg Studio. Isn't that wild? (Now we'll see how soon Issie comes to read this crazy diary!)Jimmy and the tiller.

Here's Jimmy, my Hero, ready to till the Rainbow Garden for the first time this Spring. I think it was in one of those Faux Summer snaps we had in mid March, after the Faux Winter. After he goes over the soil a bunch of times, the robins come in and have a Worm Festival! Hurray for Mom's gigantic TroyBilt tiller, which Jimmy and Lehman Hardware keep in tip top shape! I am saving a bunch of shredded paper to have him till into the soil. It's already in the compost pile, and is sort of sitting there, doggedly remaining nice clean white paper. What do you have to do to get it to turn into dirt, like normal compost? If I was trying to keep paper clean outside, you know what would happen!





It's been a whole month since I wrote here last. I guess I have to say that the number 11 is my favorite. So whenever I can, I will update for the 11th. Sometimes we'll be away teaching or having a Turtle Art Camp here at home, so it won't work out for exactly the 11th. Or what if I just don't have anything to say by the 11th? Then what? Nah, I always have bunches to say!

This tme I have to tell you about the Dishtowel Calendar Quilt Porject, teaching a really wonderful, special class, making the Saint Quilta Trays, the dog pushing party, Art Quilt Network's Spring meeting, and for Easter: Baby Bunny!

Me and the start of our Dishtowel Quilt.I have asked 35 artists to make a piece for the Dishtowel Calendart Quilt Project,

which I am curating. The 1998 "Mom's Kitchen" dishtowel (shown at left, before I chopped ours up) has to show up in all the quilts, regardless of the artwork's size or other materials. The quilts must be finished by the Spring Equinox, next year, and I will show them in our Gallery web page. I am also trying to find at least one cool venue for this show, which includes really well known artists and new name artists, some of whom have been our students, all of whom are our friends and talented people.

In the photo above, I am modelling the wild Turtle Moon hat Lahoma Allen, an artist in Oklahoma, sent me, after she made 80 fairly plain hats for the homeless, for Christmas. Behind me in the photo is the start of Jimmy and my Dishtowel Quilt. I am encouraging the artists to journal and take lots of photos of their work in progress. I plan to include these in our Dishtowel page.

Amdrew Hunt and Vivian Hunter.In March, Jimmy and I got to teach a workshop with hearing impaired students, at the Mansfield Art Center in Ohio. It was during an exhibition called "Tiger on the Hearth," which we had a piece in. So the kids worked on cat quilt blocks.

We had a lot of help communicating with the kids, with the teachers signing and art center staff assisting us. The best part was that the Junior High students in the class had been emailing us questions and comments on the show all week, before the class. So we were as curious about them as they were about us!

Above are Andrew Hunt and Vivian Tucker, who are both Junior High students, and excellent cat artists!!!! They were two of the students who sent us emails that week, so we were really excited to meet these eager kids! We were not disappointed!


Garrett Guthrie and JimmyThe class had students in it from Kindergarten up through Junior High. We all worked together, with much laughter and talking. The slide talk to these kids was a lot of fun, since the interpreters and I formed a kind of Motown act of coordinated hand jive! The blocks of the cat quilt will be made into a quilt to hang in the school. This was our third time working with people with disabilities in a workshop, and we agree that we both enjoyed it best of all our teaching jobs. Since we both have disabilities, we know how hard these people are working! And these kids blew us away!


Above: Jimmy is talking with Garrett Guthrie, a Kindergarten student who won our hearts, as all the children did. Garrett had decided ahead of time that his cat would be called "Night Cat." Later he gifted me with his paper cat ears crown, which is a leopard. I will always treasure this generous present, from the boy who'd worn his cat ears nonstop for several days since making them.

Now I come to my big adventure story: The Saint Quilta Trays and the new laminator! When we did a long Artist in Residence thing at Alfred University last year, I finally drug Jimmy to the church rummage sale, which is only open one afternoon a week. I found eight cool little metal trays, in perfect condition, and probably from the 50's or 60's. They were too small to use forTV snacking, which is probably why they were like new and at the sale! I sat on them for months, not knowing what to do with them, until I realized that painted and hung on the wall, they would be like framed pictures, with their rims being the frames!

The metal trays.

Here are the trays, as they looked when I got them, before I gessoed them and turned them into St Quilta icons for the wall! They were really pretty,with celtic patterns and a weird color combo, but I had to paint them!







Trays in progress.Then I painted the trays with a Saint Quilta the Comforter image. I sketched them one at a time, in sequence, with a brush and red paint. Then with every color I used, I did all the trays, in the same sequence.


I thought I was taking more in progress shots, but this is the only one. Wah! I guess I got so caught up in the painting, I forgot to take a break and photo them! I used acrylic paints, glitter paint, paint markers, and urethane finish. Since it's a same time series, the trays are very similar. This is also how I make my St Q paintings and Teapot Head Ladies on fabric, all at once. I love working that way. I get a real rhythm going and the paint isn't wasted as much. I have a real thing about trying to use all the color I've put out, so as not to waste it or pollute as much!




St Quilta tray #4 1998 Susan ShieSo here is one of the eight trays.They hang on the wall, and are not for eating off of! Jimmy put hangers on the tray backs. There is another image and imfo on buying the trays in the Stuff to Buy section, in the Diary section.

St. Q has a halo here, with green healing Chenille pompoms around its edges, and "Cherishing" written in the halo. She wears her everpresent Fiesta Ware teacup and saucer. She sports a moon whispering intuitive secrets in her ear, a love whammy at her other shoulder, and her magic pincushion in her hands, which allows her to spontaneously manifest wherever such pincushions are found! I think this mumu is her favorite color, with lots of glitter to jazz it up. She wears it at Mardi Gras every year.

Psychic eyes and healing hands of love are in the border, with the words "Peace," "Happiness," and "Saint Quilta the Comforter Blesses this Space." Oh, and on her table are the magic Halo Teapot and my cat Tulip, with a peapod of healing and abundance.


I bought a laminator and am now making Saint Cards from my St Q images, starting with the trays. I plan to have a lot of different images eventually, and will also be doing custom drawings laminated into special request healing cards. They are all signed and numbered, whether they're reproductions or originals.

And I am starting my Dream Project: The Kitchen Tarot, tho it's mostly an idea now. I will make my 78 images over a huge period of time, but will sell individual cards, signed and numbered, as I make the cards over the years! I am starting with what in "normal tarot" is The Fool, the first Major Arcana card. Mine's The Colander. It will be a quilt, made for a challenge on the QSDS List, but I will reproduce it as my first card. I will also have some Colander cards made from a drawing. First Kitchen Tarot Card next month!!!!

If I'm lucky (which I am,) I hope to make at least two quilt image cards a year....and eventually make the BOOK! Wonder if I'll go faster than I think, or be this really old lady who makes tarot cards one at a time and runs them through her computer and laminator!!! I expect that only the Major cards (there are 22) will be quilts, and the rest will be paintings and drawings. I mean, we do want to see an end to this!!!!! If I don't get done before I get senile or kick the bucket, then someone else can finish them! Some YOUNG WHIPPER SNAPPER artist! But for now, I plan to do the whole thing myself!

Nephew Jacob and Jimmy play push with Hattie.

I just wanted to throw in this photo of Jimmy and our nephew Jacob Shie, playing "Push the Hattie." I caught these two manly men in mid giggle, and complained that they shouldn't hurt Hattie. But she was definitely into it, letting her body go limp and eventually thrusting herself back and forth with the pushes! It's rare to catch Jimmy in such joyous glee, unless he's fishing!! (In fact he's collecting his waders, etc, as we speak, to take off to fish the Mohican with the Clear Fork Fly Fishers, one of his two clubs. And yes, he has already begun teaching Jacob to cast, over on the school playground, so it won't be long...)




Mary Helen and her quilt in progress. 1998 Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart.We attended the Spring meeting of Art Quilt Network, at the Josephinum in Columbus, April 2 -5. We've been members since 1988, so this is a real reunion thing, with friends from all over the US and Canada, too. The group is limited to 60 members, but we do have a waiting list and anyone can subscribe to the newsletter that Judy Vierow edits and produces for AQN. There were five new members at this meeting, which means five members resigned, some because they can't find the time anymore, and some because they didn't keep up their dues...It's a tough world out there :)

We had a wonderful speaker this time, named Queen Brooks, from Columbus. She's a painter who makes stitchlike marks with a woodburner on her mixed media art. We all really loved her and her work!

Here is Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart, showing us one of her quilts in progress. We all get a turn at Show and Tell, and the art stays up all weekend, on the walls of the room where we meet. There are usually around 30 people at each session.



The whole AQN group car pooled to an appointment at Lunn Fabrics in Lancaster, Ohio, on Saturday. Guess what we did there????? Debra and Mike, who've been renovating their place for over a year now, graciously let us graze in the fabric stacks and bolts for two hours! The place looks wonderful, tho they still have much remodelling to do, because the building is MAMMOUTH! The fabrics are better than ever, and the new Kaufman/Lunn black and white prints, ready for overdyeing are fantastic. I got some Lunn-of-a-kind cockroach prints, too! We adored the several color dyed fabrics on bolts and of course the Pointellist Palettes. Yummy! I had no idea that these guys had so much fabric at once, and such a luscious variety!

Michael Mrowka adds up a bill for Joan Hershey at Lunn Fabrics.Here Michael Mrowka, co-owner of Lunn Fabrics, totals a fabric purchase for Joan Hershey of AQN, from Bloomington, Indiana.

This is the giant basement of the building Mike and Debra are redoing. This cellar was a lodge meeting room, a dance ballroom, and who knows what all! It will be the store and studio workrooms for Lunn Fabrics soon, now that the drywalling is done. This basement was mirky and cavernous last year. Now it's bright and inviting! The store is currently still on appointment-only status, but the website is always open, so you can even midnight fabric shop!




Michele Merges Martens finishes her fabric haul at Lunn Fabrics!

A happy shopper indeed! Michele Merges Martens, of AQN, from Watervliet, NY, grins away, as she dreams of what she'll do with her new fabrics!!!The store is packed full of gorgeous fabrics like the ones shown here! I think Michele got some of the black and white, ready to overdye cat print. I love it!








Sleeping catsI just threw this in to share. You can see that Tulip, the spotted wonder, is gaining on Willly and Rita! Before she came along, Rita was "the baby," so it's been hard on them, having this spunky little wretch upstage them! Maggie and Meeper, not shown here, are even more upset. They're old lady cats, and don't cotton to no wild child punk cat. Tulip loves them all though, and adores Hattie, and will sleep with whatever snuggly warm body she can find.




Have I ever mentioned the Women of Taste quilt project? Lynn Richards, of Girls Inc. of Alameda County, San Fransisco, is the curator of this huge national invitational. She invited a bunch of quilt artists, last summer, to each collaborate with a woman chef. The quilts, based on whatever collaborations we cooked up, are due July 1. The project has been picked up by the Smithsonian!!!! AND MY QUILT IS DONE!!!! Ha! (Jimmy couldn't do it. He's a boy! Anyway, he's really getting busy, making those gorgeous fly fishing cases!)

Me and Treacle Soup,1998 Susan Shie

This is me, being thrilled that the chef quilt is done!!!! It's about the work with my chef Monique Theoret, also of Wooster. We made chicken stock, soup, and treacle together. I got Monique to do a little writing on the quilt, on her apron and the leek.

The piece is called "Treacle Soup." It's all hand sewn, and has many media used to write on it. It even has Mardi Gras beads in it. I love Mardi Gras beads. I sewed my Baby Jesus King, from the King Cake, into the pocket of the apron I'm wearing in the quilt.






Jimmy and Jon Stucky planting Clematis.

It got warm really early, like in the 80's a couple of weeks ago, and it went to our heads! Our friend Jon Stucky, artist and Fake Son, was visiting from his home in North Carolina, and we all went to the greenhouse. Jon's got a magic green thumb! We planted four Clematis vines here, at the front trellis.

Since then two vines have died, even tho we keep covering them on cold nights, like last night. But once these babies get established, they'll live a long time! We love putting in plants!



Hattie and her Easter Bunny

Finally, the answer to the question on the front page. (Who does this Easter Bunny really belong to?) To Hattie!!!!!!!!! Hattie is almost three years old, but she still loves her "baby bunnies." So much that she rips them up eventually and they look pretty scary. They make the Velveteen Rabbit look perfect! We got this little new bunny for Hattie for Easter, and gave it to her early. She hasn't ripped its ears or head off yet, so maybe with age comes reason. But she loves it as much as the first one we gave her, when we got her in Sept, 95. Ain't life grand?




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