Turtle Trax Diary for August 11, 1998. Page #13
by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)
The Good, The Bad, and The Turtles!!!
What a summer! The gardens march on, growing weeds and valued plants alike, and the tomatoes are ripening, and being nibbled by the bunnies! They have also destroyed this year's pumpkin vines! But with no groundhog left to mow down the cilantro, we have a crop in lovely bloon! ¡Ole! I am adding more hay mulch to the gardens and enjoying being able to tell the plants I planted from the weeds, a wonderful stage of the gardening season!
When it rains, it pours, including now it's finally raining rain again! It's also rained classes and family crises. Life is a big salad of all kinds of experiences, and we are getting our share of the toss. Just like everyone else. Where to begin?
Well, the most prominent thing on my mind is that Mom got severe pneumonia July 25. She's getting better slowly now, but that night, we had most of the family in her room at the nursing home, ready to say goodbye to our beloved mother. (By the way, Mom is the inspiration for Saint Quilta the Comforter.) I just couldn't believe how sick she'd become, so fast, as she's always been so healthy in her body, even tho she has late stage Alzheimer's. She had always taken such good care of herself, and here she was, unable to breathe on her own, and unable to swallow.
The mega huge antibiotics began to work later that night. Slowly her vital signs improved. She's off oxygen now and is very weak. She couldn't take a relapse, I think. So if you like to pray for people, thanks in advance, and thanks to everyone who's been aware of this situation and praying for Mom and the family all along. I think it really has helped. Love channels so well!
Dad has had to deal with this crisis and his adjustment to the new surroundings at the home at the same time. He's really doing well. His 83rd birthday was Aug. 4, and I think he was able to enjoy it. I made him a cake and the nurses all made a fuss over him. He eats every noon with Mom, who's now up in a half-sitting chair for a while each day.
We had to decide, during the crisis, whether to keep Mom at West View, or send her to the hospital. My brothers and sisters-in-law and Dad and we all agreed she's better off where she is, where the staff know and love her, and where she would be comfortable. Nurses were coming into her room and backing out, weeping, when they saw the state Mom was in. One said, "Oh no! Not Marie!" I'm tellin' you. We are really blessed to have such good people caring for our folks!
(Here's a picture from the early 50's, of Mom, Larry, Jimmy (Shie), and me. We have all been gifted with such enduring love! Little sister Debi, not shown, not yet born then, too!)
And then here at home, at the same time that we were clustered around Mom's sickbed, our loyal Turtle Art Campers were waiting to hear what was going on. I called them from the Home, and they were offering to go home! I told them they should stay and make art. We were gone four hours or so, and came home to lots of hugs and kisses and the support of three wonderful women, who cared very much about what was going on. We finished that camp and the next one came and went without another crisis. We all knew Mom could die, but my family wanted us to continue the camps, and we had two of the best camps so far, with us ducking out daily, to check on Mom and be with her and Dad.
We are very grateful to Bobbi Studstill, Carol Vasenko, and Lesley Hill, for the amazing love they gave us during that crisis. And to Kristi Fielder, Karen Fielder, and Patricia Ciricillo, for the next class' wave of love and buoyancy they supported us on, the next week. Lots of laughter and hard artwork making helped to give us strength. And I really think Mom is better off, for the added concern of her "new daughters!" AND for the prayers pouring in from many of our friends and relatives, all over the world! Thank you all!!
Before Mom got sick, Jimmy and I spent a week at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, teaching a class called "Funky Quilts" at CraftSummer. This is our wildest gig, where we for some odd reason have a wonderful following of devotees! What a joy!
Here is Jan Wheatcroft, who came to class from southern California, from a town where they have six proctologists. Imagine that! Anyway, Jan is a wonderful, delightful person, and wins our Student of the Year Award for 1998. Her prize is a weeklong vacation on the planet Pluto, all expenses paid! (She must however, pay for all expenses incurred by any goats eating persimmons, that she takes along with her.)
We did a new thing at this class, which I liked a lot. We made the students pow wow with another student, whom they didn't know, before each Show and Tell, of which we did three sessions during the week. Each time they had to couple up with a different "stranger." Each time they each presented the other person's work to the class. They had to always tell us each of their names and hometowns. It really helped us all to get to know each other, which is part of our teaching goal, to get students to work in a tribal community, instead of sitting in isolation all week!
Above are Hometown Girl Linda Scholten, of Oxford, and Pam Kravetz, of Cincinnati. Pam is telling us all about Linda's funky House quilt, which has cut out windows and led to her making the glow-in-the-dard winged toaster!!! And Linda is working on her goal of becoming a very funky person! We think she's on her way! What a doll!
After this class saw my quilted holes in The Colander: Card #0 of The Kitchen Tarot, many of them began to use this new Lucky Quilting Process, binding very nice quilted holes. I think it's an entire Movement. Very holey. Watch for the funky, holey quilts everywhere you go, sooner than you might think!
Here are nine of our fifteen students at CraftSummer. You can see what free thinkers we had, when almost half of the class wandered off when it was time for the group picture! Wait'll I punish the man who put those devil horns on my head!
This is Jungle Jim's, a really strange grocery store near Oxford, where my best CraftSummer friend, Carol Barton, and I went shopping with Richard Rosenblum, the wild man who took this photo. Carol teaches pop-up and other handmade book making, and Richard teaches children's book illustration. So you can imagine the antics the three of us had in such a fantasy store!
Carol and I are posing after Check Out, with our entire grocery haul, all alcohol, and two cigars for the clay teacher, Woody Hughes. Richard broke a beer bottle in the store and blamed ME! But he later won forgiveness, by dubbing Carol and me Co-Queens of the Pearl Diner.
Here's the Light Fingered Five, Minus One: Carol, Richard, Jimmy, and me, the happy crowd of teachers who hung out, getting into as much trouble as possible, at CraftSummer. We tried to get pictures of our marvelous selves as a group, by stuffing all of us into one of those tiny photo booths at a restaruant. But it flopped. The booth must have a load limit of two! So this is our repeat pose, at the food eating reception, at the end of the classes.
This is Noelle Cheney-Moore, one of our repeat students at CraftSummer, and Wonder Woman Dynamo! She had us over to her house, where we enjoyed ice cream and cookies, and sat around on the porch she had just built!!! Noelle works two or three jobs and makes her art, and does wonderful woodworking projects all over her cozy home. This sweet little thing made her own kitchen cabinets and milled the woodwork!!!!!! Henny Penny had nothing on Noelle!
She is holding the St. Q painting she bought from ne. I adore it when I know where the paintings are going, and am truly honored to have a Q hanging in Noelle's house, so full of love already!
So, back to Wooster we came, and now I will tell you about these wild and wooly Turtle Art Camps! I'll start with the July 21-27 camp. Here are Bobbi Studstill, Jimmy, Carol Vasenko, and Lesley Hill, enjoying our Twice Barbecued Burrito Fiesta Night on the patio. YUM!!!! You can kinda see the big garden in the background. Check out those tomato plants!
Jimmy gives thorough and easy to learn instructions on how to run and clean the airbrushes, and rescues the campers, and me, whenever our airbrushes won't behave!!!!
What a guy!
Too bad I can't nag him into wearing his respirator most of the time. He puts on these extra thick paper masks, at least. He's switched to using dish soap in the cleaning water, in case you're wondering why he has a little bubble bath going here!
Here's Carol Vasenko, who was the most reluctant to use the airbrush, of our campers that week. We got her going though, on the group t-shirt project, where we each have to do several repeated things to everyone's shirts. Carol got to ripping right along! Our shirts got so much work out of each of us, we had to flip them over and do the backs! Everyone did some writing, drawing, and filling in. What a fun day that always is, and what a great Turtle Art Camp wardrobe I am amassing! Lots of budding art starlets' work to strutt! And there are four identical TAC t-shirts bopping around the world! Wear 'em with pride, girls!
Jimmy took this picture, so he's not in it. You can see three of the new t-shirts in the background. See how proud we are of them?
Besides airbrush, we all worked hard and long on other Lucky School of Quilting processes of applique, beading, embroidery, etc. We drug the lapwork out onto the patio, in front of the TV, wherever we went, as usual!
It was very hard, like always, to say goodbye to these wonderful and brave women! The camp ended all too soon, as usual! Happily, we're all on email! Lesley and Carol are only two hours away in Ohio, but Bobbi lives in New Mexico. She took the scenic route home, through the Fiesta Ware Factory and NYC!!!!
So that camp was over. After one day to clean the house and sleep in, we began the July 29-Aug 4 Turtle Art Camp. Karen and Kristi Fielder, at left, were our mother and daughter campers, coming from Houston and Germany, respectively! Here Karen laces Kristi into the sexy little "bustier" we bought at the Indian Store, to cut up and share, as embroidered and shisha mirrored fabric for our quilts. Kristi and I both just had to try it on before cutting. It has lacing all up the back...Kristi looked much better in it than I did! And so the job of chopping it into four equal parts fell to her. She did it well, too! Chopping with glee is a skill encouraged at Turtle Art Camp!
Our third camper that week was Patricia Ciricillo, from Ellicott City, MD. She's a return alumna of our camps and other classes we've taught. But she wasn't going to airbrush..... So we sucked her in, when she finally decided she would go along with our crazy t-shirt project.
This group really outdid themselves on the shirts! Wow! And yet, like the camps before them, they also got a lot done with applique, embroidery, beading, and other Lucky School of Quilting processes. Staying up late and taking walks around the neighborhood, the WalMart, and downtown stores!
And here we all are, one big happy family, enjoying a patio banquet we all helped cook! Eating out every night gets old, and we delight in sitting on our patio in the evening with friends! Jimmy's mom, Mama Wanda, came over for this bash, and helped us eat Amish pie!
At CraftSummer, I did a big demo painting, at left, to start our Quilt National entry. It was meant to be the painting we would just quilt, to be The Teapot, Card #2 in The Kitchen Tarot series. But after I did the demo, which is really a sketch, a demo of "just jumping in and letting 'er rip," I didn't really like it. I wanted symmetry.
But this is what I had to work with, and I decided I didn't want to start over. Soooo......
When Patricia, Karen, and Kristi went to the WalMart with me, I spied this wild lime print, which I instantly knew was St. Quilta's 1998 muu-muu print. I bought all of it left on the bolt, came home, and went back to work on The Teapot. I had tried to help it in the camp the week before, but hadn't really gotten very far, airbrushing a new face to applique over the first one. And I hadn't liked the new face that time....
But now I made an appliqued muu-muu with the lime print, and used Cindy Litchfield's wonderful dark red mottled dyed fabric for the face and neck. When I got these pinned on, we all were amazed to see a face on the face, made by the darks and lights in the mottling. I tried later to make a different face, but gave up and have made an embroidered features face with the lines of the coincidental face pattern. The students were getting a real time demo of how I love to work in obsessive risk taking and experimenting. I had this whole big piece down on the floor, my rear up in the air, pinning and cutting with glee. Don't you love it when you catch the right wave????????
Now the piece is my obsession, as there is a month til it must be photoed for the QN deadline!!!!! The quilt now has big border panels all around, and is getting lots of hand work and applique and textures. It's around 80" x 56" now. St. Quilta the Comforter is not getting any other new paintings or cards made to sell this month, as we work hard on this one piece of her. Later this quilt will become the next Kitchen Tarot card, tho. Anyhow, right now there are still tons of paintings and cards to buy, in the catalog here!
It seems appropriate to be making this giant St. Q, this homage to my Mom, whom I consider the real saint of all mothers. As we work on this big quilt, I am throwing tons of love and healing into the making, which is a joyful prayer for Mom!
We will be teaching at Leslie Gelber's "Beyond the Surface" symposium, Jan 27-31, 99, in Sacramento. We are really excited, as Leslie has so much positive energy and is full of brilliant ideas, including a Goddess Ball!~~~~~~~! This is her fourth year of doing the symposium, and there's a LOT there for art quilters and wearable artists alike! Get her nifty brochure, or find out really everything about the classes and schedule, from her web site. Jimmy and I are both really psyched about it! Our classes will include one where I teach you the fundamentals of astrology and you make your chart as a little quilt! Then you can spend the rest of your life figuring out what it means! Ha! Our other class is making a Soul Box, using our Lucky School of Quilting methods. We hear the classes are half full already!!!! Gonna come?
Meanwhile, Hattie turned three years old on July 26. Jimmy and I gave her a new Baby Bear for her present. She gleefully pranced around and shook her new bear all over the place.
Hattie has several Baby Bunnies and now this bear, as well as some rubber toys, like her football and some hedgehogs. She loves to grab a toy, on her way outside! She is loved!
She also has five cats who think of her as their petting toy and warm and fluffy pillow.
What a babe! Patricia Ciricillo looked up from her sewing one evening and said, "Hattie is my favorite dog in the whole world." Well, Hattie has a great life, with so many new friends coming here and taking her on walks and loving her up! It's a good life!
We have two students coming in tomorrow, for the next Turtle Art Camp! One's new and especially wants to focus on making Healing Quilts, and the other is a student we met and had in our CraftSummer class last month. She's wanting to continue work on the pieces she bagan there, but of course, she may choose to bend her agenda to going off on some new angles here. It's always up to the campers to create their own programs, which we happily follow. They haven't steered us wrong yet!
I've been gettin email from a woman who's signing up for the Sept 16-22 camp. I hope some more of you will choose to come then, too, or later in the fall. Someone has mentioned coming to the camp in January! We have lots of camps listed, one a month up through January. The early December camp will be for people who need to run and hide from The Holidays!!!!!!! Make it your well-deserved getaway, and come frolic among the cats and beads!
Oh, we'll be gone, teaching at Peters Valley in NW New Jersey, in the Deleware Water Gap Recreation Area (ah, the forest and the river!!!!) Aug 20-27. So if you email, don't expect a reply during that time. Our housemate Floyd doesn't do computer work!
Until next month, yours in Art, Lucky Magnolia
PS. I just made an addition of a diary entry from one of the artists, in the Dishtowel Quilt Project page.
Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord
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