Detail of Year of the Hen.©Susan Shie 2002.Turtle Trax Diary. Page 39

October 15, 2002

Frost Warnings!

by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)


Above is a detail from "Year of the Hen," made for Robin Rice, finished at the Autumnal Equinox. The two heads at the top corners of the full piece are attached 3-D shapes that became secret pockets for Robin's goodies.

Warning: I'm keeping it short and sweet this time, turning over a new leaf, or rather reverting to my earliest diary page sizes, if I can! I've given myself the order of putting only 10 images on this diary, so that I can keep on updating Jimmy's leather site, as well as getting back to updating the rest of this site. Unfortunately, this rambling diary you all love so much has cost me in gallery site work, resume updating, etc. Maybe once I get everything else up to snuff, I can start to lengthen the diary again. But for now, read slowly, if you like to take a long time here!!! :)

Topics in this diary: Mansfield Art Center classes; The Egg Goddess; Candy and Aunt Pauline; Amy and Tony's wedding; Carrie and Billy's wedding; Jimmy's bear flask; August camp; Aunt Alice's memorial painting; Hattie's leg surgery; "2003 Pie" - Quilting Arts Magazine's 2003 calendar, and ordering that and/or the Fall issue of their magazine with my article as the centerfold in it; The Wayne County Fair; Sept. camp; "Year of the Hen"; my birthday; October camp; IZE's Trailer Court - almost done; "San Jose 25 Years" auction painting; and "The Dish Soap / Hermit".

Class samplers in progress.©Susan Shie 2002.I taught two classes in Mansfield at the Art Center this July, and the unfinished Lucky Samplers here are from the second class there, on July 24. It was in conjunction with a beautiful fiber show there called "Fiber for the Body and the Soul," that we had eight large quilts in. It was great to see the show and visit with friends I've made over the years there, who were either taking my class or helping me conduct it. Mansfield Art Center is a wonderful place to show, teach, or take classes at! That's where we had our Dishtowel Show in 1999, and Jimmy and I have shown quilts there in many other group shows.




The Egg Goddess.©Susan Shie 2002.Finished well after the classes in Mansfield were over, here is "The Egg Goddess," 6"h x 5.5"w, which was my demo piece there. When it came time to decide what to write on the piece in progress, someone came into the classroom and asked, "Anyone want a dozen fresh eggs for a dollar?" I knew all of a sudden that THAT was what I had to write on this piece, and that this little purple woman would now be called The Egg Goddess. At home I found a little skillet and eggs charm sent to me by Trish DuBois, which really helped me give her that eggy look I needed! A tiny painted wooden bird from Anne Warren's studio shakedown sits on the goddess' left shoulder. The only sampler aspect she lacks is a shisha mirror, because I just didn't have time to demonstrate that technique in the little one day class....and do Shrink Art, too! Huh, I never put any of the Shrink Art stuff from the class on this thing. I guess I ran out of room! It does happen, sadly!



Candy and Aunt Pauline.©Susan Shie 2002.Do you remember my cousin Candice Watson, who lives in Winchester, VA? Our dads were brothers and our moms were first cousins. So we're double cousins! I have a picture of her and one of her sampler in my April 10, 02 diary.

Candy and her mom, my Aunt Pauline Shie, came to visit several times this year, and we always had great fun. This photo is from the last visit, I think in August. Aunt Pauline is 88 and pretty as a picture! She's moving next Spring, down to Candy and David's place, where they can enjoy each other all the time. Since we had my parents live with us, I feel this is a very good thing, as Aunty lives alone now. Candy is all busy, after making tons of diagrams for remodelling her basement into a suite for her mother. Now she's on the prowl for a good contractor! It'll be a very full Winter down there!




Amy and Tony's Wedding, a sampler.©Susan Shie 2002.One of Gretchen's best friends, Kristi Lambert, hired me to make this Lucky Sampler for her sister Amy's wedding on August 9. Because we only had a few days before that to get it made, we emailed images and had several phone and email talks to get things straightened out, to make it a very personal piece. I actually made several sketches for this one before drawing it on my fabric surface, as I always get nervous about commissions, compared to being pretty carefree on my own ideas' work. Anyhow, I sent it overnight mail, Kristi took it on the plane to Chapel Hill, NC, and the bride and groom are very happy with it. It helped that Kristi and her sis look a lot alike, and I can do a pretty good Kristi! "Amy and Tony's Wedding" is just over 5" x 5".




Carrie and Billy's wedding signs.©Susan Shie 2002.After making the pillowcase out of my airbrushed fabric sign for the getaway car for Gretchen and Mike's wedding two years ago, I knew I wanted to just go out and buy white pillowcases to paint up, for wedding signs from then on. So now my dear friend Pat's daughter Carrie Cornelius was getting married on August 11! And Pat suggested that I do two cases, not just one, so they could put them on their bed, if they wanted to. So I did. They're standard pillowcase size, whatever that is, and they're all airbrushed. Carrie and Billy got married on the beach at Hilton Head, but live in St. Louis. We missed the wedding, but almost everyone else they invited turned that wedding into their summer vacation! It was lovely! Best wishes, Carrie and Billy!!







Jimmy's bear flask.©James Acord 2002.I've seen Jimmy come up with some pretty amazing artwork over there in his leather studio, but this black bear flask is my all time favorite piece! He custom made it for a man in Florida, so it's got the guy's hand tooled initials on back, but look at this side! The oak leaves, as usual, are all hand drawn and carved out of the main piece of leather, and the bear's head is also part of the original leather piece. It's very dimensional, being all hand tooled before Jimmy painted it. All hand dyed and hand sewn, too, of course.

You could order something very personal like this for someone else as a gift, or for yourself. Jimmy has all kinds of leather objects he'll custom make you from his own patterns, including handbags, besides his fishing and nature work. With the recession slowing orders down this year, he can still take orders for Christmas presents this late, unlike in a normal year.


Joyce Leahy and her work.©Susan Shie 2002.For our August 7 - 13 art camp, the only full time student was Joyce Leahy of Columbus, Ohio. I had offered to let her change to a later camp date, but she decided that being the only student would have its advantages, too, and it would feel more like an apprenticeship. One on one! Sometimes two on one, when Jimmy would also be teaching. Joyce is into theater, and does TV commercials in Columbus, as well as legitimate theater acting. The piece she's so proudly displaying here started out as an airbrush doodle, but I talked her into seeing it as a wonderfully playful composition for a quilt. She worked extremely hard to get a lot of sewing onto such a large piece in a few days, using a lot of chain stitch hand embroidery, which came after this photo. The painting is a diary entry of her impressions of coming here to camp!





Joyce Leahy's watermelon sampler.©Susan Shie 2002.Joyce also completed her Lucky Sampler, which was a fairly large one. She started with the tulip fabric print that she brought as a gift for me, in honor of our saucy little cat, Evil Tulip. (Well, actually, she brought it for Tulip, whom she wrapped in a big length of it, like a belly warmer turned wrapping ribbon...Tulip was not too thrilled, so I got the fabric!) The pinks in the print and the August heat brought watermelon into Joyce's thinking, and then, I think that's a cucumber that has "Find a cool spot" written on it! She hid a little frog down in the background on the left and pretty much finished this piece while still here! I like it!





Danielle and her quilt.©Susan Shie 2002.Joining Joyce as a part time student for one day of camp was Danielle McIlvaine, daughter of my best friend Luanne Moffat (who died in 1991), and is now 18 and off to college in Colorado. This summer, she came over a few times to get some normal sewing tips, and came to Turtle Art Camp in August, to learn my very different art sewing style. Here she's showing the quilt she's made for herself, as her first sewing machine quilt project, having had no lessons! Just like her mom, she waded right in and figured things out for herself! I like that a lot! Danielle's now got the Lucky School of Quilting as another possible way to sew, and I will give her regular sewing lessons, too, when she wants them. Mostly just advice here and there, I think. She's certainly an artist, with a wonderful sense of curiosity and adventure! She loves to make up patterns and create funky blouses and bags, weilding her exacto knife to make buttonholes! There's real flare in her work!!! I bet you'll see her name in the future, in the art world!

Aunt Alice memorial painting.©Susan Shie 2002.Jimmy's dear Aunt Alice (Conway) Crawford died in Mt. Vernon, Illinois on August 8, and Jimmy went down for the funeral. I couldn't go, because we were having camp, so I made this painting about Alice's life, as my tribute to her, and we gave images of it to the family. I'll eventually quilt it, I hope.

When we did an artist's residency at the university in Carbondale, with Joan Lintault in 1989, we stayed overnight with Aunt Alice in Fairfield, IL, where Jimmy lived til he was 10 or 11. I have fond memories of Alice in her kitchen in the mornings, making us breakfast, and her collection of chicken ceramics, which she herself had made. Alice was an Air Force wife, and she learned ceramic slip molding work while in Libya in the 60s. She made everyone beautiful ceramics for gifts, like the chess set she gave to Jimmy. She was also a beautician, and whenever she and her four sisters got together, she would do everyone's hair.

In this piece, the four hens in the corners are Artie, Ruth, Wanda (Jimmy's mom), and Waunita, Alice's sisters. And the big rooster over Alice's head is their oldest sibling, their big brother Maurice! Aunt Alice got Alzheimer's Disease and her son Bruce and his family cared for her in LA for years, but she eventually came to Mt. Vernon to the care center, to be near most of her siblings in Fairfield. She could still talk a little and recognize people sometimes, at the time when she died. Her husband Uncle John died in the mid 70s, having been an Air Force pilot in Korea and Vietnam. Alice had two children: Bruce and Becky, who both live in California with their spouses and children. Most of the cousins of Jimmy's generation made it down to Fairfield for the funeral and a large Conway reunion. I wish I could've gone, too.

We all miss Aunt Alice.

Hattie Spooler, after her surgery.©Susan Shie 2002.In late August our dog Hattie Clementine Spooler, barely 7 years old, had a surgery on her right knee, to repair torn ligaments. We'd thought for two years that she had arthritis in that leg, but it had become much worse this Summer. Now, as I write this, Hattie's not much healed from her surgery, and we still have to keep her from running. I take her on much shorter walks than we used to do, because she limps pretty badly. She's got the arthritis still, and if she were a person, she'd have gotten a full knee replacement. Maybe it's early yet, so we hope she gets a lot more of her strength back in her leg. She won't go up stairs most days, and if she does, she pays for it later, by being very sore. If you have had experience with a labrador retriever with an ACL knee injury, please give us your advice!




2003 Pie.©Susan Shie 2002.Here's my quilt "2003 Pie," 15" x 15", the January page image in the 2003 Quilting Arts Magaznie calendar. (They did a contest for the calendar, and you can enter the contest for next year! This year's deadline was March 30 or so. I don't think guidelines are out for next year yet.)

Also, Quilting Arts Magazine's Fall issue has my eight page article about my Lucky School of Quilting Techniques, with lots of pix of our quilts and the sample blocks I made to illustrate the processes and their order. This article is not the same thing as I have here on the site about the Lucky School, tho it's about some of the same techniques, and their article has much nicer images.

On their site, you can order a subscription to Quilting Arts Magazine or just the single Fall issue, as well as the 2003 Quilting Arts Calendar. And you can find out about next year's contest, pretty soon, I bet! (Hint: This year the quilts made for the calendar contest needed to be square, ideally 12" x 12", and you sent the actual work for judging.)


Our family at the Fair.©Susan Shie 2002.Gretchen and Mike came down from Lakewood to go to the Wayne County Fair with us in early September. Mama Wanda went with us, and took this photo of me, Jimmy, Mike, and Gretchen, just as we got onto the midway. We split up for a while, but got back together in time to buy and eat some of my cousins Joe and Gail's fine and yummy Lerch's Donuts, the pride and main attraction of the county fair! We spotted a mama hen in the poultry barn, who had four baby chicks underneath her, keeping them safe (but they kept escaping to get some fresh air, I think!) They inspired the chicks running up the arms of St. Quilta the Comforter as a hen, that you'll see below in "The Year of the Hen."

Gretchen and Mike stayed two nights, and we went car shopping with them here in Wooster. They returned later that week, to buy a new car in town! Yippeee!

Barbara and Nancy at camp.©Susan Shie 2002.Our September special Turtle Art Camp was a one day class with Shelley Baird, who took both of our classes at Q/SDS this Summer, and her mom, Barbara (standing here) and Barb's best friend Nancy Frank (seated). We all made Lucky Samplers and had a very good day. Since they live in Columbus, which is only about 1.5 hours south of here, it was a good day activity.

Recently I decided that anyone who wants to come to a one or more day camp, and can get at least one other person to come, can do so. Or you can squeeze into a regular camp here, by the day, too. Each day costs $100, including teaching fee and lunch. If you stay overnight and are part of a regular camp, this fee also includes breakfast. Your other expenses will be your materials and any snacks you need. We also charge $10/day for normal usage of materials, in case you don't want to have to gather up supplies.

I think this system mainly works for Ohio students, tho you'll see below that one student (Sheila) found a way to make her trip to Ohio include both the Art Continuum in Cleveland and then two work days in our camp.

samplers from Sept camp.©Susan Shie 2002.These samplers in progress were this far when the one day September camp was overwith. Top left and clockwise: Barbara's flower; Shelley's song bird; Nancy's self portrait; and my Hattie Healing Charm (for her leg.) I've worked a little more on the Hattie piece, but it's not nearly done! I'll show it to you later tho.







Year of the Hen.©Susan Shie 2002.Here's "Year of the Hen," in which St. Quilta the Comforter poses as a chicken. It was made this Sept. for Robin Rice of near Auburn, California, as a commission she placed when she was here for the March Turtle Art Camp. In discussing Chinese Astrology, she found out she's really a Hen, not a Monkey, since her birthday is in January, and in her year, Chinese New Year was after her birthday. (I figured out years ago that Chinese New Year is always the Aquarian New Moon.) Robin was wanting to order a piece from me, and decided she needed a visual aid to help her adjust to being a whole different animal! The piece is 12"h x 9.5"w, and has 3-D big faces as secret pockets up in the corners, and Shrink Art hens in the bottom corners. It's all appliqued, extremely embroidered, and beaded!





Jimmy and me at Lake Erie.©Susan Shie 2002.Me and my cake!©Susan Shie 2002.Mike and Gretchen on the beach.©Susan Shie 2002.

For my birthday, Sept. 28, we went up to Gretchen and Mike's and got treated to some fine food by them, as well as a lovely day at a Lake Erie beach in Rocky River and also a short walk to the lake from their apartment on Clifton in Lakewood. It was a cool and sunny day, perfect for a birthday gathering, and we had birthday cake in the apartment later, with Mike's brother Frank and Kristi coming over from their place. Jimmy and I are on the left, at the Secret Beach in Rocky River. In the center photo, I'm wearing the lovely Ghoulardi tee shirt G and M gave me, a real Cleveland prize! And I'm clutching the incredible Boston Cream Pie Cake they got me! Ouuuuuu! Ahhhhhh! And on the right are Mike and Gretchen, strolling on the Secret Beach.

Vicki, Tonya, me, Pattie.©Susan Shie 2002.For our October 2 - 8 Turtle Art Camp, we had two full time students: Vicki Reikes Fox of Los Angeles (left) and Tonya Ricucci of Augusta, GA. We also had two part timers, who came at separate times. To my left is one of our part time students, Pattie Sly of Kent, OH, who came for one day in August and came back for one day this time, to learn airbrush, after studying the Lucky Samplers the first time. So this visit was on airbrush day, which seems to end up as the Friday of camp lately! I'm holding Marigold, our darling piggy cat, who was snagged in the midst of begging for her Cluckers cat treats. While Pattie was here, Jimmy did his machine free motion zig zag over some of my cursive writing for her, while Tonya and I brush painted with Deka, and Vicki was merrily airbrushing in the other room. Jimmy did his sewing demo again later, when Sheila was here, so everyone else could see it. Yes, it was a wild camp, and we'd thought of cancelling it, since Vicki was the only sign-up for a long time! We really had a ball in the end!

Tonya and her Halloween quilt.©Susan Shie 2002.Vicki and her paintings.©Susan Shie 2002.Our October full time students, Tonya and Vicki. Tonay, at far left, is showing us one of the quilts she's made about Halloween, which is when she indulges herself in using very bright colors, especially orange. She also showed us about 8 smaller quilts she's made in the three weeks since she read my article in Quilting Arts Magazine, about my techniques! Eight little quilts, hand sewn, three weeks!!!! This woman is a whirlwind of focused energy!!!

Vicki really enjoyed doing airbrush here and made four teacup paintings, to later become quilts. After this shot was taken she hand painted the lower left panel to be colored much like the other three, which she'd airbrushed the colors into. Later she cut the teacup paintings apart and sandwiched all four panels into little "kits" to take home and quilt. Vicki came to camp in the midst of the initial excitement of having a book she's authored come out! It's called "Shalom, Y'all: Images of Jewish Life in the American South." Vicki was born and raised in Mississippi, but moved to LA as an adult. The book is a lovely journey through the South in black and white photos taken by Bill Aron, with Vicki's commentary, and was just now published by Algonquin Press, of Chapil Hill, NC. They have this book at Amazon!

The Psychic Skillet.©Susan Shie 2002.This was my brush-on paint demo piece for camp, in which I drew with a marker and then used Deka paint, which you can't buy anymore, and later added some Lumiere accents in gold. When the Deka's all gone, I'll switch to the Setacolor fabric paints I bought at Q/SDS this summer. I'll actually switch color by color, as the Deka runs out. So you can bet that my first Setacolor will be yellow, because I go through that stuff super fast!

This piece will someday get quilted, I really hope. It turned out to be a painting I like a lot! Mostly it's about Pattie telling me how Martha Stewart likes to drink this thing called Ciprihanna, from Brazil, made with lime and fermented sugar cane. Very trendy, like my skillets! I named it "The Psychic Skillet" and it's 21"h x 9.5"w so far, before quilting.







Gretchen and Mike anniversary art.©Susan Shie 2002.While we were doing camp, Gretchen and Michael were lazing away at Put-in-Bay, an island in Western Lake Erie, at a little bed and breakfast called the Grape Leaf Inn. When it was time for me to do a Shrink Art demo, I made this little 2.3" tile about this four day 2nd wedding anniversary vacation of theirs, but I still don't know what I'll do with it. Guess it goes into my little leather box that I store my Shrink Art stash in, saving everything for a rainy day, when I need something special to embellish a quilt with. The students loved the Shrink Art lesson, and we all worked on it much longer than expected. This stuff is a real hit. I use Poly Shrink from Lucky Squirrel.




Sheila painting.©Susan Shie 2002.By the day we did the Shrink Art, we had our fourth student, Sheila Wilson of Sacramento, who flew in the week before to do the big Art Continuum in downtown Cleveland, with all the rubber stamp and book arts crowd. She rented a car and came down on Sunday morning and stayed til Tuesday morning. All those rubber stamp artists already know all about Shrink Art, but Sheila and I have different ways of working with it, for different needs. She stamps it, and I draw on it. Yes, I made her draw in our camp, and she did quite well! Here she's using my Deka (the extinct fabric paint you can't get anymore.)







Trailer Court.©Susan Shie 2002.Look familiar? This is "IZE's Trailer Court," begun in May, 1998, and actually nearly finished now, as you see it! It's 61" square. If you've been following this diary for a long time, you may remember that my dear friend IZE, Elizabeth Cherry Owen commissioned this fantasy trailer court filled with her family and friends back in 1998. Soon, soon, it'll be done and in her hands for a little while at least, though it may go to one exhibition in the winter, and then come home to IZE in Baton Rouge, for keeps.

I've been adding more and more stitching to the Trailer Court, but am finally ready to sew on the patio owls and then sew the panels all together. I've got all the figures made so they can be taken off to play with, but the trailers and cats will all be sewn down, so they can't get misplaced! You wouldn't believe what a pile of 3-D stuff this piece makes, when you strip it! Oh, and all the "IZE's haiku" story strips that hang down, will be sewn down, too. Just have to make sure IZE's cats don't walk off with parts, the way my cat Evil Tulip stole Jane Burch Cochran's trailer years ago, and I had to make a new one! No more of that! Like me, IZE has five cats. Life can be so hard!

Oct camp samplers in progress.©Susan Shie 2002.Here are the Lucky Samplers made in the October camp, all as they looked the last day, so most are still in progress...especially mine! Clockwise from top left: Sheila's self portrait; Tonya's self portrait with evil thoughts; my green pyrex cup; Vicki's birthday cake; and my Hen Head. (I started two pieces, because I wanted to be able to work along with Sheila, when she came in on Sunday, so I started the pyrex cup piece when she started her self portrait.) The smaller you work on the sampler, the sooner you'll get done! But few people can discipline themselves to work very small. Everyone wants to go bigger, but you can't bead til all the quilting is done, so you take several days, not just one, to make the bigger samplers.




Me airbrushing.©Susan Shie 2002.During the October camp, I used my airbrush demo time to create a painting for the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles annual auction. That museum is 25 years old now, so I figured they need a special commemorative piece.

This is me starting my painting by doing airbrushed line drawing free hand, with black paint. After that, I added the colors, starting with yellow, because it's the easiest one to cover over. (Airbrush paint is transparent.) I also did some hand brush work with Lumiere gold and pearl paint, after the airbrush and before heatsetting with the hot, dry iron.



San Jose auction piece.©Susan Shie 2002.Here's the final painting, 21"h x 16.5"w or so. It's on cotton print cloth, not stretched. Whoever buys "San Jose-25 Years" will have the option of hanging it up as is, framing it, OR quilting it herself. If she quilts it, all I care about is that she honors my copyright and doesn't sell images of it, without licensing the image from me. The new owner of the piece can't cover up my signature or copyright, but could add "quilted by ............." The quilt would then be a collaboration between us, but she would receive all money from selling it, since she would have already bought the painting from the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles auction on Nov 9.

I'm not asking for any commission from the auction, as I just want to help them raise money to keep the museum running well. It's a great place. We've shown there several times, and this Jan 26 - Mar 16, will be in a five artist show there called "Lauguage Arts: Text as Imagery." Robin Schwalb will have work in it, too. And each of us will have 10-12 quilts included!




Dish Soap / Hermit...done.©Susan Shie 2002.Here's "The Dish Soap / Hermit: Card #9 in The Kitchen Tarot." 59"h x 34"w. I finished it by pulling an all nighter on Sept 3, and taking my slides at 5:30 AM. You can see the pix of this quilt's beginning stages in the July Turtle Trax Diary, where I explained about creating the Runaway Train Project. Michele Merges Martens and I both finished our Runaway Train quilts this Sept!!!! The other 25 artists still have 19.5 years to complete theirs! But WE can sit back and relax now!

This quilt got accepted into Quilt National '03, so it's gone for the catalog photography now. I had entered the card quilts The Rolling Pin (#7) and The Skillet (#8) also, but really, really wanted the jurors to take this one, if they chose one of ours! After all, it's the hot new one, still steaming from the oven! Because we've had work in seven Quilt Nationals before this, our piece was granted final acceptance, no longer having to wait to be seen in person by the jurors' rep, to move beyond preliminary acceptance. Yea! Something to be said for getting older! ;)

"The Cookbook / Hierophant: Card #5 in The Kitchen Tarot" is touring with Quilt National '01 until December, 2003, and "The Teapot / High Priestess: Card #2 in The Kitchen Tarot" was in Quilt National '99. So this is the third Kitchen Tarot piece to go on the QN tour. This makes me really happy and spurs me on, to make the KT pieces as fast as I can, so I might even someday be able to get them all done. All 78 card quilts!!!!! Well, at least all 22 major card quilts, and maybe the rest as paintings!??


Well, not so bad. I said there would be 10 images on this diary, come hell or high water. So I got a little carried away, and I think there are 32 pictures now. That's still way better than 90 some, like last time! No more of that baloney! You got lucky, getting over three times the pictures I threatened, plus all their stories! So be very happy and go make some cool art. Get outta here! You and I both belong back in our studios, creating! Scram!

Love, Lucky...back by Jan 31th with TEN more pictures and their stories!

PS. As I finished this page up early, in the mid afternoon of the 14th, we've just had our first frost night. Just a light one, with only my potted impatiens on the porch dying, even though I covered them. Thin ice in the birdbath, too. Guess we'd better cherish the flowers we have left now! They'll all be gone soon. We get snow here in the winter, but that should be a ways off yet. I really do love Fall, but I wasn't finished gathering up my flower seeds yet! Maybe I'll go make a First Frost painting. Bye.

PPS. if you're interested in taking my Outsider Art Quilts class in Montreal May 15 - 18, 2003, check out Carole Segal's Studio of Fine Art for all the information you'll need. If you sign up, brush up on your French, along with me! Oh, and get out your longjohns!

Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord

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