Turtle Trax Diary for September 28, 1998.Detail of The Teapot/High Priestess İSusan Shie and James Acord 1998 Page #14

by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)

First Anniversary of Turtle Moon's Web Site! Hot Cha! This is Saint Quilta's Feast Day, too!


At right above, a detail of our Quilt National entry piece, which we will show you more details of, but not the whole thing, for now. Secret!

See? This month really IS brought to you by Flamingo Pink. There's no way around it! So just enjoy! What a wild time we've had since the last entry! We had two more Turtle Art Camps, attended my 30th high school class reunion, taught at Peters Valley Craft Center in NJ, slaved away on the Quilt National entry, did R and R at Lunn Fabrics, continuously ate piles of fresh tomatoes, and more! Pull up an easy chair and enjoy this yarn, folks!

Mom and Jimmy.

First, a checkin on our moms. My mother is over her pneumonia, but definitely weakened from it. She is not even as alert as before, and now can't walk at all without assistance. Her inability to talk at all is worse. But she still bubbles up to the surface at times! Here is Jimmy, who wins the prize for being able to get the most response from her! She smiled her big grin, right after I took this shot!




Mama Wanda, Jimmy, and Teddi.And HERE is Jimmy, with Mama Wanda, when she brought over her new baby poodle, the evening she got her! Named after Mama Wanda's own mother, Teddi the poodle's full name is Tara Thedocia Acord. See how itty bitty she is, compared to Hattie Clementine Spooler!?






The garden in August.Here's the garden in August, when the tomato plants still were green with leaves. Now they're still producing, but all the leaves are shot! However, many of the flowers are much more spectacular than they were in August! I adore the garden in Fall, before the frost. I am happily collecting four o'clock seeds every other day, and looking at the giant blooms of purple cosmos. The last groundhog destroyed many giant marigolds, before I realized what was up. He didn't like the bush marigolds tho, and left the zinnias alone. Now the giant marigolds are growing back on their old stalks! The nasturtiums and borage just went wild this year! The cilantro, shown here behind the purple basil, is now brown, but still aromatic. Yummy! Our scarecrow, Ruth Stout, is really faded now, but has that soft and gentle look of a righteous old crone! I may have to bring her inside for the winter, and make her a new outfit next spring!
Jan Brasier, at Turtle Art Camp.August 12-18 brought Jan Brasier of Kettering, Ohio, and Karen Schulz, of Coralville, Iowa, to Turtle Art Camp. Here is Jan, aka Ruby Readd, working on tooling a beautiful fish on leather, in Jimmy's studio, to attach to her Ohio Quilt. With 24 hour access to the studios and all the equipment, students here have many choices of techniques to explore, and lots of time to try many things!





Karen Schulz at Turtle Art Camp.Karen Schulz, aka Radar, who especially wanted to focus on concepts of making Healing Art, and on fabric painting, got plenty of time in on both. She has two solo shows coming up, and worked diligently on her pieces for it. In particular, she is interested in communicating about dealing with healing from cancer and also about healing from family abuse.

These two campers also chose to make dolls, which made me really happy. I love to see what they will choose to focus their agendas on! We also did a lot of discussions about healing gemstones and astrology. It helped me get closer to making my little astrology primer for students, called Lucky Stars. I am still working out its physical makeup. There may be a felt centerfold in it, in which students can make and move around the planets in their chart. Ruby and Radar were great at giving me needed feedback on this project. I set up their charts, and they started learning to interpret them.


Jimmy and I are gussied up for my class reunion.In the middle of that camp, Jimmy and I had to boogie away on Saturday evening, leaving the girls to cruise around Wooster, hitting all the good used stuff stores without me! We had my thirtieth high school class reunion to go to! So here we are, all gussied up, ready to blast off. Behind us is the Quilt National entry in progress, way early in its metamorphosis!

Around eighty alums and family were at the bash, and it is always fun to see them. I was on the planning committee this time, so it was extra fun to see it all come to fruition. One of my responsibilities was to create the booklet's cover art, always much fun, when they already know I don't do nice, neat graphics! I went Flower Child on it! Class of '68.





The Lard Swan!!!!!!!So, little did I know, that the most wonderful thing would happen at the reunion! At the banquet, there on the table, was a strange thing, a big swan, but...was it food? It was on a garnished platter, like all the fancy food displays. But no serving implement. So I only touched it with my pinky, and it was cold and wet, like cheese. None of us tried to take a piece of it, but I wondered if we were missing some really tasty brie or something. Finally an attendant appeared and I asked, being the most outspoken person in the room, when it comes to weird questions. It was, in fact, a LARD SWAN. It had taken the chef four hours to create it, he informed me. I thought, Mother of Pearl, I almost sliced off a piece of that art!!!!!! So I scampered back and got this photo, soon after which, the swanny disappeared back into the cooler, to live to grace yet another banquet table with its enigmatic presence, sans knife damage!

That chef will never know how his or her LARD SWAN will remain etched fondly in my memory, as the most special and off beat part of my happy, but ever so straight class reunion! What a kick!

Ruby, me, and Radar, at camp's end.At class's end, we gathered by Ruby's RED Caddy, which had so graciously sported us around to shopping sprees Jimmy hadn't wanted to be part of, being such a guy! After so many camps this summer, I'd been worried about getting tired of them, but they are always so different, and the campers are always so unique and fun to be with! I hate to see them go. Adios, Ruby and Radar! We will stay in touch!




Jimmy sewing on The Teapot.This picture is of Jimmy, sewing a machine outline around the teapot painted on our QN entry, sometime early on in August. I did tons of hand sewing before and after this, but a little machine embroidery is good for contrast. He also did part of the embroidery of writing this way. When our stitched writing is cursive, he's done it on the Pfaff, and when it's printed, I've hand sewn it, but all of it starts as me writing with a marker on the fabric, freehand, without notes. Just thought you might want to know, because people always ask who does what.



Our class at Peters Valley, Aug, 98.Our class at Peters Valley, Aug 21-25, was called Diary Quilts. In this photo of the group, most of us are wearing the airbrushed t-shirts we finished hours before. "The Teapot/High Priestess" quilt in progress, hangs behind us. It would change a lot in the next few weeks, as our lives went into super overdrive, to churn out that entry in time!




Wendy amd Lynada at PV.Wendy Osterweil and Lynada Martinez were two of our students at Peters Valley. Wendy was distinguished as being the first person to get a fake tattoo in class. Witness the Love Whammy hand on her third eye. Lynada later won the Dance Contest, making her the hands down winner of the week long contest for Class Points. She won some wild fabric and a St. Quilta Card of her choice.

This whole group was hard working and hard playing, the way we like our students to be! It was really hot this year at PV, but Air Conditioned Fiber Studio is on its way there! In the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the craft center is one of the best! Very earthy and peaceful, with a good mix of various fine crafts. If you're interested in more info on Peters Valley, go check it out yourself!

Maggie as an angel. Detail of The Teapot/High Priestess İSusan Shie and James Acord 1998So, about this Quilt National entry, whose application deadline was Sept. 16. After starting the work in July, as one class demo, we worked on it as much as we could while teaching at home and at Peters Valley, but after that, we poured on the coal, and got downright antisocial for a while!!!!

Our piece is called "The Teapot/High Priestess (Card #2 of The Kitchen Tarot.)" It's 87"h x 55"w, and has tons of hand work and embellishments, including manipulated bottlecaps, embroidered holes, old jewelry parts and antique bezzled rhinestones, Mardi Gras beads, glow in the dark paint, beads, buttons, shells, clay stuff, and pennies. It has many paintings on fabric and one on wood, 28 pockets, and two tooled leather turtles. But I've decided to not show the overall shot here, because I'm worried about the national exposure clause in the QN rules, even tho it says being on the Internet is not included in that. Just makin' sure though!

So here are tons of detail shots, including the one above, of the top of the quilt's Maggie as an angel panel. Maggie, our 19 year old cat, died expectedly, but the first night we were gone, to teach at Peters Valley. She had been sick for years, but I knew she was serious about dying this time, but we still had to go. We really miss her!!! So I worked all week on her eulogy panel, there, as we taught. It began as a painting demo, and I stitched it heavily, and added glow in the dark outlines, which the whole quilt later got, too. There are embroidered holes, through all the quilted layers, in the vertical rows of buttons, on the sides of this panel.

Detail of The Teapot/High Priestess İSusan Shie and James Acord 1998Here is the top left corner of the quilt. Both sides of the quilt have vertical columns of pockets. The hands are painted on old Indian handbags, with antique shisha mirrors embroidered on them. Between these are little paintings I made and sewed on as more pockets. The hand panels also have Jimmy's elegantly flattened bottlecaps sewn onto them, and affirmation words are painted onto each hand pocket.

The green Fiesta Ware teacup panel represents the usual tierra St.Quilta the Comforter wears, since this time she has a whole teapot on her head, in the quilt. The green teacup is the symbol of healing love, and I show it here with an eye of the soul in it. Soul tea! St. Q's holy pincushion is in the corner. She just couldn't be without it! Look closely at it: There's a red lobster, a fond memory yet of Haystack School of Art, sewn onto the tomato pincushion.

Lots of layers of painting and applique happened over the beginning of this quilt, which I put in the August diary page. That original airbrush painting, a demo at CraftSummer, served in the end as a first layer only, covered and changed a lot, to become the final quilt.

Detail of The Teapot/High Priestess İSusan Shie and James Acord 1998Here's the top right corner, with the top border chopped off in the shot. St. Q almost always has a moon face smiling down on her, and this time it was very important to have one. The High Priestess in Tarot is the icon of women's intuition. So the Moon and this character are very connected. In fact, this card quilt is the first one to include St Quilta herself. I had pretty much thought the deck would be all kitchen tools, but St Q made her presence known, in no uncertain terms, and I am glad. She is my art version of my own mother, after all, and to me, Mom IS the High Priestess!


Detail of The Teapot/High Priestess İSusan Shie and James Acord 1998So here's the Teapot itself. It's painted on and repainted over, to get it just right. Airbrushed, too, as is the whole central whole cloth piece (only it also has some applique.) The polka dots are painted on and then I added flat floral marbles. And then painted some more after that!

The banner saying "High Priestess" went through many changes, too. I originally painted it in with the airbrush, but the writing was lopsided. I wanted symmetry. So I hand appliqued a bunch of little yellow panels over it, and later brush painted the words again. I put white lines over the yellow fabric banner background. Then when I airbrushed over the whole painting agian, adding the purple plumes of steam, I brought the plumes up into the lettering. But it got too busy and you couldn't read it easily anymore, even tho I didn't want the writing to hit you over the head! So, after much thought, I did a lot of yellow floss embroidery stitches over a lot of the purple steam plumes. It brought out the letters some, but left a nice, unusual texture in the banner background. A texture I never woulda come up with, if not for working out a problem!

There is a purple mask in front of St. Quilta's forehead. It has Mardi Gras beads around its edges, and lots of embroidery. You can lift it, to reveal St Q's third eye, and the rest of her Sweet Peas handana. Well, that is, you can lift it, if the White Glove Ladies aren't looking. As long as your hands are clean!

Here is the calm and loving face of Saint Quilta the Comforter herself. She is painted and stitched over my friend Cynthia Litchfield's hand dyed dark red fabric. And that fabric is appliqued over the original airbrushed painting. You can see some of the lime printed muu-muu fabric, under all the paint and stitching on her dress/muu-muu. Two of her acolites rest on her shoulders, on rocking teacups, whose steam is made of little white doilies. We're into doilies!



Detail of The Teapot/High Priestess İSusan Shie and James Acord 1998Here's the bottom left corner of the quilt. It has a wooden panel painting, a Garden Buddha Girl, precursor of St. Q., giving the quilt her own little blessing. The wooden painting was made in 1996, part of a set of four paintings, in our Garden Party solo show. The other three paintings from then are all sold. So this gave a nice feeling of continuity to the quilt, to tap back into the Garden Party energy. Our piece in Quilt National '97, called "Rainbow Garden," was part of that solo show, too.

Jimmy drilled holes in the painting, and I sewed it onto the quilt. We are practical people!




Detail of The Teapot/High Priestess İSusan Shie and James Acord 1998OK, so this is the last detail shot of "The Teapot/High Priestess." So don't go away, it's almost over! Here's a good look at the leather turtles Jimmy made for the quilt, and of St Q's great big doily! Everything on this quilt has glow paint on it, but this doily is outlined in glow in the dark beads. So it really shows up well.

Below is the word Teapot, spelled out in yellow embroidered pockets. Each letter is also embroidered. Pennies and floral marbles bop around the pockets, and some beaded fringe Theresa Barkley gave me once, hangs down, to add that charming St. Quilta victorian touch! Quilta gots taste!!!!! That's it. Whether or not the piece gets in, we'll eventually show the whole thing on this site, and offer a Kitchen Tarot card made from it. But there are already cards of The Colander and The Salt and Pepper.

Tulip on the Teapot!So then we were all worn out from meeting that Quilt National deadline, sending the application and our slides in on Sept. 11, with me staying up too late on way too many nights, and the final photo shoot lasting til 4:30 AM on the 11th. Just nuts!

So we left Tulip the cat resting on the quilt, which she had done whenever it was flat on a table, and we went on down to Lunn Fabrics, two hours south of here, in beautiful Lancaster, Ohio, to celebrate meeting the QN deadline, with our friends Michael Mrowka and Debra Lunn. They had just finished THREE quilts for the QN deadline, and we were all four in need of other art making and just lying around for a day!

Debra Lunn, co owner of Lunn Fabrics, and some fabric!I was just blown away by the rennovation of their workspaces and display area! The beautiful old victorian building has flourished with Deb and Mike's loving care and very hard work!

I also enjoyed selecting ten yards of the most wonderful shibori dyed Ripples fabrics, in fat quarters, in a ton of magical color combinations! I was in Fabric Hog Heaven!!!!!




Michael and Debra drawing on potato starch.We settled on a group project that did not involve this year's Quilt National deadline!!!! Michael has been experimenting with and getting amazing results with using potato dextrin (starch) as a batik wax substitute. So he prepared a fabric and a potato goop and we all took turns adding to the drawing we came to call "Welcome to the House of Love."

Here Michael and Debra are adding final touches. Jimmy and I also drew on the piece, using any tool that made a mark in the dextrin, when it was the right consistency.


Final drawing. İMrowka, Lunn, Shie and Acord 1998.

When the drawing on the fabric is done, you let it sit a while, and the drying starch makes a crackle affect, like wax does in batik. Michael put it out into the sunlight, and after a while, sprayed it with bleach. When it had discharged where our etched lines were, enough to look right, he rinsed it with a vinegar water bath. Then it was washed and dried and we had a group art piece!!!

Michael made it look easy, but he said he is still learning how to do it. Jason Pollen taught the class Mike took to learn the techniques, at QSDS. The big advantage is that there are no harmful wax fumes. You need to do the bleaching outside though, or have amazing ventilation!


Michael Mrowka and Debra Lunn, with one of their new quilts.  İLunn and Mrowka 1998.We really loved seeing someone else's efforts for the Quilt National entry. Here Michael and Debra pose with one of their brand new pieces/entries. It is all made of their newest Ripple fabric, and all the edges are like the top outline, on a pretty large piece.

They are having an Open House at Lunn Fabrics in Lancaster, on November 12-15, to show their new studios and workspaces. The hours are 2-7 PM on that Thursday and Friday, and Noon-5 PM that Saturday and Sunday. You'll have a good time!!!! Also keep in mind that Mike and Debra are planning to begin holding classes at Lunn Fabrics soon!!!

Ruth, Susan, and me and Hattie.Right after our visit to Lunn's, we held the September Turtle Art Camp, with Susan Marks, of Berkeley, and Ruth Howell, of Toronto. Here Jimmy took a photo of us girls with Hattie, with Ruth on the left, and Susan on the right. My New Zealand Impatiens are still going strong in those pots, as long as I give them lots of water every day.





Susan and Ruth, using the brand new Aztek airbrushes.Susan and Ruth were the first to use our brand new designed Aztek airbrushes, hot from the mail! They have a new ergonomic shape, which is really easier on your hands, especially when you paint for an extended period. These two were having lots of fun and learning fast!





Boxes painted in Sept TAC.Ruth really wanted to paint a Diary Chair when she was here, so we went shopping at Uptown/Downtown, our fave Wooster antique place. Fortunately, we all agreed to paint boxes instead of chairs, or we wouldn't have gotten many other things accomplished at all that week! Ruth and I did old silverware boxes. Hers is the one in back, with a drawer underneath. Mine has St. Q on it, natch. Susan did the tray about Chicken Woman's arms, and the box up front, which is a jewelry box. This was the right size for a good project, while still doing fabric panels and even dolls.

And once again, that camp ended too soon, and I miss the campers!

Larry and Richard Shie.During that last camp, we went to my family's annual Ice Cream Supper. Susan and Ruth declined, even when they learned it was HOMEMADE ice cream. This year it was at my brother Larry and Sherry's house, tho the ice cream eating group includes many uncles, aunts, and cousins, and the party has moved around a lot.

Here are Larry and Richard Shie, my oldest brother and my dad, whom we broke outta stir to bring along to the bash. It was Dad's first outing from the Nursing Home, and I think he needed it. The fluffy bundle is Buffy, Larry's mama dog, who birthed seven babies this year. Larry and Sherry own a small long distance trucking business, and sometimes take several doggies along when they haul together! I love my family! Wild and woolly, we are!



Issie's quilt, in progress.Meanwhile, back at the studio, with tha Teapot Quilt done, we are back to work on "Issie's Trailer Court." I have been sewing up doll bodies, using my spiffy new Lunn fabrics for some of them. Since this photo a few days ago, I have finished the last doll body, and need to make five cat bodies now.

After that, it's time to start to make their surfaces rich with imagery and words and names. I still hope to write on the landscape, tho there may not be much of it showing by then! All the objects will move around on buttons and loops. It will need a border, because it's unfinished on the edges, and it needs more surface, to hold everyone! Trailer courts can get really packed, you know. I am eagerly awaiting the faces and designs on all these naked people! They won't stay naked long!

St Quilta Celebrates with Joy. İSusan Shie 1998.Finally, here is a new set of St. Quilta paintings. It is called "St.Quilta the Comforter Celebrates with Joy." There are five paintings in the catalog, for people to buy. And there is a new saint card from this series, to collect.

I painted these during the last Turtle Art Camp, and the idea was to make paintings about the web site's anniversary, but that could be used for any special occasion. I enjoyed painting them in front of other artists, the campers, and think they inspired me to be more playful than usual. Maybe it was also the excellent music Ruth and Susan brought with them! We barely played anything of mine, while we had their great blues, etc. I adore the band Sapphire!!!!!! So, in honor of them, I put St. Q in her lovely bright blue muu-muu!



Jimmy and I have really enjoyed this web site. Sometimes it's a lot of work to make entries, and it takes a lot of time, but, boy, is it fun! Thank all of you who have come here and let us know that you enjoy it and that it means something good to you. You have egged me on to do it more and more! It's been a great first year. Thanks again! And special thanks to Jan Cabral, of Key to the Web, for generously getting me started with lots of her own hard work!!!!!

Let the good times roll!!!!!! Until next time, Lucky Magnolia

Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord

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