Turtle Trax Diary for June 11, 1998. Page #11
by Lucky Magnolia
Almost Solstice Time!!! Do a Little Dance!!
I can't believe it's been a whole month since I made a diary page here! Yikes! Think all the gardening has gobbled up our time! Whew! Wish I could magically have two days for each one, so I could make as much art as ever, work a lot on the web site, and still do tons of earthy garden work!
This is the Rainbow Garden, with its tomatoes in their cages and its seedlings starting to sprout. You can see it was cold at the beginning of June in Ohio, since Jimmy's wearing his favorite old soft and faded Carhart coat! In June!!!!!
At the far end of the garden is our haystack, a stash of bales, waiting for the plants to get big enough to tuck hay all around them. Righ now the only parts with hay are around the tomatoes and where we walk. There are pumpkins planted in hills all around the edges of the garden.
We have a groundhog already! He's snooping around, to see what we've planted. Jimmy named him Kenneth Starr. In case you don't know from previous years, we had one named Newt and one named Bob Dole. We just keep attracting Republican groundhogs, tho I'm sure Democrat groundhogs would be every bit as pesky!!!!
The problem with the live trap is that it often catches raccoons, who leave our garden alone, since we don't raise sweet corn. So we have to keep releaseing cute little coons! None so far this year tho.
This is our new scarecrow, the first one we've ever made, in fact! Jimmy named her Ruth Stout, after the queen of organic gardening, who authored books about using hay mulch to garden with. She was my mother's gardening heroine!
Thanks to Jacob, who helped Jimmy and me make Ruth last Sunday! We hope she'll scare the groundhog Kenneth and the deer away from the patch! Our dog Hattie was pretty suspicious of her for several days!
This is a little Guardian Angel shrine I made two years ago. Just brought it home from a gallery. I am always able to sell these, and was out of them, so now I have one! You can order my quilted and embroidered angels from me, on the Whammies and Angels page, and you can pick the colors to symbolize the kind of angel energy for healing that you want. I sew gemstone beads all around the border, so there'll be all kinds of good vibes in these pieces. They look good on studio walls.
Just thought you might want to meet one of my brothers. This is Jimmy (not to be confused with my husband Jimmy!) I usuallly call him Shie-zie. He's three years older than me. He's working away, grading free range eggs, at The Wooster Food Co-op, where he's the assistant manager.
Oh, and he's Jacob's dad, and my favorite nieces Aimee and Julie's dad, and I love him! I can always count on Shie-zie to help me with all kinds of stuff, like advice on cars and cameras and houses. He and his wife Lyn took Dad in, last year, when Dad broke his arm and we could no longer give him the kind of care he suddenly needed.
Shie-zie lived in the Needles's Eye commune with Jimmy, Gretchen, me, and a bunch of other hippies, back in the 70's. We've had a lot of wild experiences together!
Here's an in progress shot of the second card of The Kitchen Tarot deck. It's The Salt and Pepper, which in a regular Tarot deck is The Magician, #1. It will look a lot like this, but I am busily embroidering it and will then add beads and buttons. By next month's diary update, it should be done and you'll be able to buy signed and numbered collector's cards of it in The Kitchen Tarot page in this site. You can buy the first card, The Colander, (The Fool, #0) there now. New cards will be made over a many year period, with a book and printed deck, eventually....
Recently I was asked to talk about our quilt "Tattle Tails: Crocodiles for Alzheimers," which we made in 1993, while both of my parents were living here with us. It's a huge piece, 80"h x 90" w, made up of many small component quilts. We made this quilt as a form of art therapy, during a really stressful period, when we were all trying to figure out how to deal with Mom's advancing disease and the thrashing emotions it caused in the extended family. What a time, what a process!!
In this detail shot, you can see one of the rainbow diary panels at the top, telling one of the "tattle tales." Just some part of the ongoing drama, maybe even something that was weird or funny. This painted panel of Jimmy and me inside a crocodile refers to someone telling us to get a thicker skin, about some of the problems in the family, set off by the Alzheimer's crisis. I hear that this happens all too often in families who deal with the stress of this disease. I guess the eyeballs here are the outsiders' citical eyes, but they could also be spirit eyes. The skeletal painted black and while panels are of ancestors. Oh, and the whole painting glows in the dark, with outline painted lines.
In this second detail, you can see another of the embroidered rainbow diary panels, an appliqued and diaried crocodile panel, and two of Jimmy's leather crocodiles on black crescent fabric moons. Every time I get a first hand look at one of our big, really intricate quilts, I see things I forgot we put there. There are little turquoise polymer clay crocs sewn onto the skeletal ancestors panel, all around the central painting of the quilt. And I see that little copper peace symbol, put there because our family needed peace then, a lot.
My mom went to the nursing home over four years ago, and my dad will be living there also, soon. No one likes what's happening to them, as they get old and needier all the time. But they are both physically comfortable and it is a joy to see them and just be with them. I'm glad we made our crisis quilt back when we were going through all that. It helped a lot to be working on it and making something beautiful out of the pain and confusion.
You can see more of our quilts throughout this site, but especially in the gallery show.
Back up to present tense! Here's Jacob Shie, our nephew, and Jimmy, practicing some fly fishing casts at the Trout Unlimited picnic at the Issac Walton League's place near Wooster. It was the first time I went along to a fishing event, and we also took another friend, Jesse Ewing, who's learning to fly fish as well. Not me. I sit and sew! I love the water, but can't really see where the line goes, so I'm a lot more safe to everyone involved, just minding my own business.
It was a cold day and few fish had to be released, since they weren't caught on the barbless hooks in the first place.
Meanwhile, Jimmy's working away on some new fly cases in his beautiful tooled leather, to take along to the Trout Bums Picnic in Grayling, MI, later this month. I'll stay home and await a really overdue visit home from our daughter Gretchen!
And here's what I'll be working on! Here is the first shot of the in progress quilt "Issie's Trailer Court," which is a commission for our friend Elizabeth Owen. She wanted a Saint Quilta quilt and then thought of having St Q in the midst of a conceptual trailer court, full of Issie's family and artist friends. Complete with yard art! So, in this shot, the trailers are partly made and are pinned around the edges of the basic background piece, which is all hand sewn. I don't think there'll be any machine work on this piece. Oh, most of the sky fabric is from Issie's own indigo vat, some dyed by her and some by me, when we stayed with her a few years ago. What fun that visit was!
In this second shot, the background has been airbrushed and contour stitched, and the trailers are done and pinned in place. I made wheels out of polymer clay and will sew them on like buttons. Each trailer has a name sewn onto it, and the ones in the sky will have wings, as they are for dead people or cats.
There'll be finger puppets for all the people, except Saint Quilta the Comforter, who'll be a very large person or statue in the middle.
Here's the Big Red Sun, in the sky of the quilt above. It isn't done, because there'll be some beads, I'm sure. It says "Welcome to Issie's Trailer Court" on it. I was sewing it while talking on the phone with Jane Burch Cochran, and I was so happy at how the mouth came out. I wished I could show it to Jane, but she'll have to go down to the Rabbit Hash General Store, to look at this on their computer, and that may take her months to get around to doing!!!! She's busy sewing and gardening, too!
Here's what's going on down in my studio. More St. Quilta paintings in progress. They now have pink mumus and purple teapots. They will all say "St Quilta the Comforter Blesses This Studio." And they will soon be for sale in the Stuff to Buy section of this site. Like by June 20. Or even sooner, if it keeps raining!
OK, it's June 17, and the St. Quiltas above are done! Here's a shot of #6. Saint Q has a new pink mumu with sparkly polka dots this month!
Each painted panel is roughly 14.5"h X 9"w, painted on white fabric with fabric paints, with some nice glow in the dark outlines, which don't show up til the lights go out!
See about buying one of these paintings or a quilted and embellished one soon!
Here's a proud guy! Benjamin Stern is modelling his mom Andi's Hamburger Cake panel, which is part of her quilt for the Dishtowel Quilt Project. Andi submitted photos to add to the diary we're keeping here online, for the project. Happily, the Mansfield Art Center, in Mansfield, Ohio, has agreed to exhibit the 36 quilts June 6-July 11, 1999!
This is Jimmy's new penpal Ivan and his family, who live in Kaliningrad, Russia. Ivan is an Internet Comminications worker and does leatherwork as a hobby. In the picture, received yesterday, are Natasha, Ivan's wife, and their son Andrey. We are truly enjoying the letters going back and forth, learning more about the wonderful Russian culture through a friendly guy near Jimmy's age. Oh, he fly fishes, too. I need to get Jimmy to start asking Ivan about Natasha. I wonder if she sews!
Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord
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