Seeds and Weeds, detail ©Susan Shie 2002.Turtle Trax Diary. Page 38

July 15, 2002

Spring and Summer! Page One

by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)


The photo above is a detail of "Seeds and Weeds," a small quilt made this spring, celebrating the garden.

This is page 1. If you like, go to page 2 now.

Topics in this diary: Art Quilt Network April, 02 meeting; start of the Runaway Train project; Uncle Lester's garden; my trip to Lowell, MA; May, 02 art camp; Doug and Cindy's visit; Robin's visit and garden work; June art camp with Wash U's Island Press; our two classes at Q/SDS 2002; and the July art camp here. Artworks of ours shown here are: The Dish Soap / Hermit; The Lazy Susan / Wheel of Fortune; The Owl Sampler; The Juggler; Middle Age Spread; The Garlic Queen; Seeds and Weeds; The Coookbook Print Quilt #1 (Toasted Cheese Sandwich); Q/SDS auction piece; Fish Fry; Salmon Fly; Shrink art; Lucky House; Teapot Sampler; and The Food Scales / Justice.

JoAnn and Mary Helen at AQN. ©Susan Shie 2002.Right after I got the last diary up online, I went to AQN (Art Quilt Network) in Columbus, to our semi annual international meeting (we have one Canadian, so we're international, but artists from all over the country come!) This one was hosted by Pat Owac, Joan Maxwell, and Martha Lee Burleson and was held at the Fawcett Center. I roomed for the second time in a row with Michele Merges Martens, and we had a great time.

In this picture, Jo Ann Carleson and Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart are working away on their handwork, like most of us do during the meetings.




Bing Davis at AQN. ©Susan Shie 2002.Willie "Bing" Davis, a well-known artist and educator in Ohio, who lives in Dayton and teaches at Wright State University, was our speaker at AQN this time. He presented a slide lecture about his amazing life and art, as well as showing us projects he's worked on with inner city youth. It was refreshing to listen to Bing speak, as he's a very kind and gentle artist/teacher, as well as an activist.







Joyce at AQN.©Susan Shie 2002.Joyce Seagram and her quilt about 9-11. ©Susan Shie 2002.Joyce Seagram of Toronto modeled the lovely kimono she bought from someone else in AQN, from our casual sales tables, to give to her daughter. Joyce makes it to AQN about as often as I do anymore, around once a year, I think. She had a lot of quilts to show us, as she was preparing for a solo show July 11 to August 4 at The Guild Shop in Toronto. The quilt above is her piece about the 9-11 attacks here in the US. She was standing on a chairto show us the piece, and the quilt actually is much longer! Very beautiful. Seems like Joyce is using more and more yellow in her quilts, and they really glow!



Michele's new quilt. ©Michele Merges Martens 2002.Here's my favorite of Michele Merges Martens' new works, a fairly large piece of her hand dyed fabrics, knitting, and embellishments. She uses wonderful things like feed sack fabric to dye, and comes up with very organic shapes and textures. It's called "backyard forest."

Look for her work in some very good art quilt shows! Fine Focus 02 is one, and maybe Quilt 21, if I'm right.







Me and the Runaway Train. ©Susan Shie 2002.When Michele and I came up to our house after AQN, we shopped at Goodwill, and I found this beautiful bridal train, without its dress. I bought it, thinking that someday I'd come up with a way to use all that satin and applique. But soon I had worked my way into a full blown challenge project with about 25 participants, only this time, I was smart and gave it a 20 year deadline, for me to receive the finished quilts by!

Here I am modelling the train, before chopping into it!

I named the project "The Runaway Train," in honor of its not having the dress to go with it anymore. Besides, curating another challenge thing feels like a runaway train! I wonder how many people will really finish the work!???




Michele and me and part of the train. ©Susan Shie 2002.Here are Michele and me, admiring the top of the train, which she requested to have as her section to make something from. It looks like a little doll skirt, since it's got the crinolin still in it, and all the fabric is gathered on a band. Chopping that off all at once was quite a thrill to me! Although most of the participants haven't said much to me about what they're going to do, Michele is working away on hers right now, and it's becoming quite the extravaganza! Very mixed media!!!






The cut up remains of the train. ©Susan Shie 2002.After I got what I wanted of the train's fabric,, the appliqued and cutout section of the center of the train, and gave Michele the top, I cut the rest into pieces to send out. Most Train Quilters will have to supplement the bridal satin and lace I sent them, if they want more of those particular materials in their artwork. They got a piece around 4" x 10" is all! But they can use whatever they want, and make the quilt any size and about any subject they want.

I did ask for a story to be sent to me from each of them, about a wedding, within 10 years of now... but that doesn't mean the quilt has to be about a wedding. Mine isn't, at least, not so far. I have room to put a wedding story in it yet, if I want to, tho.




Start of The Dish Soap. ©Susan Shie 2002.Me airbrushing The Dish Soap. ©Susan Shie 2002.All painted, start of The Dish Soap / Hermit. ©Susan Shie 2002.











Above are the first pix of my own Runaway Train art quilt, in progress. It's also my next Kitchen Tarot quilt: #9, The Dish Soap / Hermit, and so far is 61"h x 36"w. And as I write this in July, I have done very little more to it! Yikes! I would like to finish it to submit to Quilt National, but the prospects look very bleak! I think a Kitchen Tarot piece finished earlier this year will be our entry, if things don't change soon! Too, too many quilts in progress!

Above on the left you see the quilt already sandwiched and with the satin of the train sewn down, with dishtowels above and below it. I had only drawn on it with black airbrush paint at that point.

Then in the middle picture, I'm adding color, which is tricky on slippery satin! At left I've added brush on paint, and I've gotta say, I hate painting on dish towels. It's like painting on a sponge! So now I know that the towel's being absorbant is great for dishes, but not for painting. This was dishtowel fabric from some towels I bought at Lehman's Hardware, and from now on, will use only on dishes!

Turtle Moon in the Spring. ©Susan Shie 2002.When Michele was here, this is what the crabapples looked like. It was such a wet and cool Spring, hard to imagine now, in our summer dry spell, and just after a major heat wave. Ah, the variety of weather we experience in Beautiful Ohio! I guess we really have a drought now, and I realized last night that my ever-faithful perennial Turtle Heads were getting so wilted, they were ready to die off! Time to water even the established plants. But not the grass! Ours is "native plants" (weeds) so the grass will come back, almost no matter what. It's very resilient!


Uncle Lester and his garden. ©Susan Shie 2002.Jimmy and I drove over to Orrville, to go out to supper with Aunt Nellie and Uncle Lester one evening in April, and Uncle Lester, my mom's older brother, took me out to see his gardens. In front of him were daffodils, and in the front of the picture were young Tiger Lilies. He grows them, and gave us some bulbs a few years ago. Right now, in mid July, they have buds all over them, and we're poised to enjoy the splendor of his exotic blooms again! I think Japanese Beetles even leave them alone, maybe because the lilies look like they have big black wasps hovering under them, but it's really their stamens!





At the end of April I gave a talk at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA, and was given a wonderful time there by the museum and Maxine Farkas, deva of The Brush Art Gallery and Studios. Lowell is a historic town of New England's textile era, and is being restored by the National Parks Service and local business people. Maxine is an official Ambassador of Lowell!

Here is a very typical Lowell scene, painted by Vassilios Giavis, another artist of The Brush, who specializes in capturing the fascinating factories and canals of old Lowell. The town really looks like this, and I was totally fascinated. If you get a chance to go to Lowell, do it! Go to the big Quilt Festival there this August 14 - 21, if you can, and see Quilt 21 and Art Quilts at The Whistler. You can email Maxine Farkas,, if you really want good info on any of this stuff! She knows everything about Lowell and the quilt scene, and is the director of Quilt 21.

Faye looking at my work. ©Susan Shie 2002.My sweet friend and artist Faye-Merrill Geller came to Lowell, too, and we enjoyed the weekend there together. We looked at a bunch of each other's art in her room at the hotel, and here she was picking out one of my Psychic Colander pieces to work on, to collaborate with me as my first guinea pig in the Lucky Partners scheme I have, in which friends I respect collaborate with me, by quilting one of my paintings. We'll see how it goes!




Maxine in her studio. ©Susan Shie 2002.Maxine Farkas' studio is very tiny, but she has it jammed full of wonderful things! She's one of those wild artists experimenting with rust and fabrics, and here she's showing me some of her exhumed experimental booty! She and her pals Corni Forster and Robyn Daniel are also creating incredible works with tyvek, that stuff they use in hard-to-rip mailing envelopes. Those three artists are a lot of fun in general, by the way! Robyn is curator of Art Quilts at the Whistler, and Corni just works hard on everything anyone's doing. And they laugh plenty! But they are dead serious about their art and careers, and in networking with art quilters around the world. Really good folks!


Gay Tracy in her Brush studio. ©Susan Shie 2002.Another artist at The Brush is Gay Tracy, who labels herself a visionary artist. Her paintings are full of wonderful color and lively imagery.

She and Maxine co-curated a Shoe Show (which I am very interested in, since I'm one of the curators for a Shoe Shoe here in Wooster for January...). Theirs is called "Stepping into an Uncertain World," and is at the Boott Mill Gallery in Lowell until Sept. 11, 2002.




Maxine shows me the Shoe Show. ©Susan Shie 2002.It's an amazing show of works from artists all over the country, including some school groups. The Parks Service, who owns the gallery, likes the exhibit so much, they extended its venue to 9-11, when it was only scheduled to be much shorter show to begin with.








Bill in his studio. ©Susan Shie 2002.This is Bill, Vassilios Giavis, the artist I told you about earlier, and whose painting I used to introduce you to Lowell. He's working every day on new paintings, and has prints of all his Lowell works there to buy in his studio.

The Brush, which is part of the US Park Service property, is home to around 14 aritsts of the area, and they have quite a wonderful interaction going on there! Their website has a good page for each artist, including Maxine, Gay, and Bill. Between them and the quilt museum, and taking a ranger guided tour of Lowell, or Maxine guided, if you're really Lucky, you won't want to leave this town!

New England Quilt Museum. ©Susan Shie 2002.The New England Quilt Museum of Lowell is one of the strongest proponents of art quilts in the country. Jimmy and I have had work in many national exhibitions there, the last of which was "Parallel Threads," a show of various cultures' art quilts, within our country.

I gave a slide lecture there on April 28, which was well attended by an audience from all over New England, thanks to the publicity efforts of my pal Faye-Merrill! There is a great permanent collection at the museum, and the gift shop is super, now carrying my friend, art professor Annette Mitchell's wonderful new book Foam Is Where the Art Is, the very clear instructional text on using foam trays to make very detailed art prints. Annette and her husband David Colburn, as well as Michele Merges Martens and her son Kyle all showed up in Lowell to hear my talk at the museum, as well as did Faye and her daughter Rebecca!

I'm not taking up time and space to show you all the cool locks, canals, rivers, and the Four Sisters Owl Diner that Maxine showed me in Lowell. Just go there, OK??????

Tulipetra. ©Susan Shie 2002.When I got home from Lowell, it was time to get ready to teach here at home, for the May Turtle Art Camp. We had only one student this May, but she was the great, the delightful, and very mysterious Trish DuBois, whose forehead you can barely see in this picture of our cat, Evil Tulip. Tulip simply adores having students here, and she and Trish fell immediately and hopelessly in love. Trish doesn't like to see pictures of herself, so, how does it feel to want? Sorry. Gotta respect the Greta Garbos of the world!



The Lazy Susan / Wheel of Fortune. ©Susan Shie 2002.This is the next Kitchen Tarot piece, begun while Trish was here for May camp. As usual it began as an airbrush painting demo and then got brush paint added, along with paint markers. Trish helped me figure out some of the coordinations between astrology signs and kitchen tools, which was not easy! "The Lazy Susan / Wheel of Fortune" is around 45" x 34", and will be a major piece for me, when I get back to it!

The piece is still, in mid July, only a painting. I now have #s 9, 10, and 11 in the Kitchen Tarot series to work on, so have no problem with what to do when the Trailer Court piece for Issie is finished. (I AM working on it again, now that all the teaching is done for a bit, Issie! I'm working hard on it!!! And it's going to be my best piece in a long time, you guys!)







Stan in his new greenhouse. ©Susan Shie 2002.Trish made her art and learned what Jimmy and I had to teach her, but she also wanted to relax and see the sights of our area. So it was with glee that we took her to Amish Country, down to Berlin (pronounced Burrlin.) And in Berlin, we soon ran into our friend and local artist, horticulturalist, and Amish-Mennonite historian, Stan Kaufman, who was building a fence outside his Pomeraine House on the main drag. He scooped up Jimmy, Trish, and me and took us to see his brand new greenhouse, which he's standing inside of in this picture. Stan could make a rubber tire take root and bloom, and his talents were already wicked at work in the month old greenhouse. You can't get away from Stan, but he knows absolutely everything in the world about plants, and you can buy some plants of your own from him! Get down there to Berlin!


Trish's sampler. @Trish DuBois 2002.Trish did make art. This was her little sampler, made first with the Lucky School of Quilting techniques. It's tadpoles. She was celebrating her personal rebirth as an artist, sensing a move to another creative plateau. She also started a quilt in which she's developing her personal imagery with Wolfie DuBois. Incidentally, Trish called the other day, and is the happy grandmother of a baby named Emily! Now that's a real new creative plateau!






Deerskin booties. ©James Acord 2002.These are the deerskin baby booties Jimmy gave Trish to take home for the expected baby, when she was here. He makes these for all friends who have babies, and if you ask him nice, he'll make a pair for you to buy, too. They aren't on his site yet, so just email and ask him, or call. And they are really about the right size when the kid's around a year old. Very soft and earthy.





Bowling Owlie. ©Susan Shie 2002.This is my own sampler, which I made while Trish was here in May. We turn on our patio owl lights every night, year round, but somehow, when it's getting nice in Spring, I'm always thinking more about them and the evenings on the patio, sewing and chatting, swinging on the porch swing or sitting at the fifies dinette set, sipping margaritas! Ah, such a hard life we lead! ;)

The piece actually is about the Bowling Owlies game I invented for the little kids, for them to knock my broken plastic patio owl lights off big bowls with a tiger bean bag. There's a tiny tiger in the bottom left corner of the piece, too!





Me and Gretchen at the lake. ©Susan Shie 2002.After Trish went home to Phoenix, we popped up to Lakewood to see Gretchen and Mike, and they took us to this pretty little pier, just north of their place, so we could enjoy Lake Erie a bit, after eating at The Tick Tock Tavern for the first time! You can see downtown Cleveland over Gretchen's left shoulder. While we were there, we saw a guy get down on his knee and propose to his girlfriend. Mike pointed out how that made him feel blessed, and I agreed. It was magical! We're so happy that they moved up to Cleveland! Cincinnati friends, we're soory, but we won't be back down to visit for a bit longer!


The Juggler, leather case by Jimmy. ©James Acord 2002.During our March camp, Robin Rice had commissioned Jimmy to make her a special case for her sewing stuff. She thinks of herself as The Juggler, since she's always running in circles for her family's and her own needs. So here is "St. Quilta the Comforter Blesses The Juggler." Q has three pin cushions in the air at once. I drew it, and Jimmy built the case and tooled, dyed, and sewed it. Robin also really does do juggling! She's quite the versatile chick! And so much fun, to boot! Yes, Jimmy can make you your own custom order "girl stuff" box! Just email him!







Middle Age Spread. ©Susan Shie 2002.In May I created six little "Lucky Duet" pieces for the Q/SDS faculty show, "Small Works" at The Gallery at Studio B in Lancaster, OH.

I used 12 of the little Lucky Samplers I'd started in 12 different classes, and combined them into six two-sampler sets. This one is called "Middle Age Spread", 10.5"h x 5."w. I got them all done at the same time, but the components were made over a two year period. The pear piece was made in Austin last year in April, at Frances Alford's Austin Turtle Art Camp, and the St Q Wash Day, on top, was made this year sometime. It was about her having to go naked, because she washes all her muu muus at once on Mondays! Notice she still has the frumpy cross and heart doily. Only maybe here that's a tattoo????

All six pieces are for sale and are home again. Give me a call if you're interested. I need to make a little gallery page of them soon!






Doug and Jimmy. ©Susan Shie 2002.Doug Hall, of Decatur, GA, is Jimmy's best pal, besides me, I think... and sometimes I'm not sure of that status order. Especially when fly fishing is the topic! This May, Doug and his wife Cynthia Litchfield, one of my dear friends, came up and spent some time with us. Jimmy and Doug were going to fish and camp all weekend at Ohiopyle in western PA, but got frozen and rained out after one night. That first day, Cindy and I wisited The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, but the rest of their visit was spent at our house, with both couples under one roof.

In this picture, above, the mens are admiring their gifts to each other. Doug brought with him the surprise gift of a new bamboo rod he'd made for Jimmy, and while they were back at our place, due to the rain out, Jimmy made Doug the reel case he's holding here. Doug is one of the best bamboo rodmakers in the country, and his buisness is called Broad River Bamboo Fly Rods. Cindy gave me a lovely felted wool beret she'd made, including the dyeing and beading. She's started to get her artwork shown in Belle Amoire Magazine!

Doug and Cindy. ©Susan Shie 2002.I took this picture of Doug and Cynthia just before the guys left on their weekend adventure to Pennsylvania. Little did we know that our Outback would be severely keyed in the Wal-Mart parking lot, on the guys' way out of town, that they would freeze and get soaked in PA, and that on the way home, the storage box on top of the car would come apart and fling their gear all over Interstate 80! What a tough time they had! They came home, and we managed to enjoy the rest of the weekend together here at Turtle Moon! I wish they'd have had a better time and could have stayed to get their fill of fishing. (Only Jimmy did, of course, go to Grayling, MI in mid June, meet Doug up there and camp with him, during the big Trout Bums Picnic and The Makers Rod '2002 Stream Restoration Raffle gathering! So we won't feel too sorry for them!) Jimmy made the rod case for the raffle, second time. And he's included in the limited edition book maed about the raffle project!
Me and Jimmy. ©Susan Shie 2002.Here are Jimmy and me, relaxing together in May, before or after he and Doug went to PA to fly fish at Ohiopyle. When one of us leaves for a few days, we get really lonely for one another. We're not even together a lot all the time, though we both work at home, but when we're apart, we get sad. So you can see my happy little smile. Yes, I think this was right after they came back from being rained out!





Robin whipping the Moon Garden into shape! ©Susan Shie 2002.My one best friend Robin Schwalb was our next houseguest in late May, coming to do her gardening time at our place. Living in Brooklyn has its little drawbacks, such as not having your own garden! So she came, she saw, and she conquered our weeds! Every morning, she'd whip us into shape, reminding us that her garden time was very limited, and we had a job to do! Thanks to her, we managed to get everything planted in a week! The weather had been so cold and wet all through May, and finally it was cooperating. You can tell from this photo, weeds don't have a chance against a New Yorker!

Now Robin has just returned from the opening of the show of the new quilt collection of the American Craft Museum in New York, at the Paine Weber Gallery. Her art quilt "Speaking in Tongues" is in that permanent collection, and therefore that show and its upcoming world tour!


Debra, Michael, and Robin at Lunn Fabrics. ©Susan Shie 2002.While Robin was here in May, she and I took one day to drive down to Lunn Fabrics in Lancaster, which is a two hour drive south from here. Debra and Michael are good friends to both of us, and we needed some fabric, too!

Michael was all suited up to take off to the roller blading park when we got there, so we had to get this little image. Sure is tall in them skates! He left and we women got down to serious fabric work! It was a very successful hunt. If you haven't been to Lunn's lately, you'd better set up an appointment and go! Or shop online. They make the best of the best hand dyed fabrics for fiber work anywhere! And you'll get to see their award winning art quilts, while you're there!





Gretchen and me at The Cleveland Museum of Art. ©Susan Shie 2002.Another day Robin and I drove up to Lakewood and picked up Gretchen, after she showed Aunt Robin her and Mike's new apartment. Gretchen had been so busy with her new job at the museum that she hadn't taken a tour of its galleries since being hired. So the three of us ambled our way through most of the collection together. The Cleveland Museum of Art amazes me, since it's one of the best museums in the world, right up there in Cleveland!!! I've gone there since I was a little girl, but now, it belongs to ME, since Gretchen's a registrar there!






Robin and Elvis, sighted in Burbank, OH. ©Susan Shie 2002.On the way home from eating an Italian supper with Gretchen in one of the many little restaurants in Lakewood, Robin and I had to stop at the amazing yard art shop on the square in Burbank. They had plants out for sale, but Robin is always stunned by the cement yard art, and had to pose with Elvis. This store's merchandise fills the lot, all the way out to the street, right there at the only traffic light in town. I think they leave it all sitting there all night, all the time, and hopefully, no one steals things. We bought a few plants to put in the garden and drove on home. Oh, and Gretchen had taken us to Lakewood Park, to walk down by Lake Erie, at a new spot she and Mike had discovered. It's not easy to access the lake, as most of the shoreline is private now. But the longer they live there, the more fun stuff they find! Hurray!

Mama Wanda's birthday. ©Susan Shie 2002.Mama Wanda had her birthday on May 11, but was off in southern Illinois with her sisters and brother that weekend, so we celebrated later, when Robin was still here. Jimmy's mom is the only parent any of us has left of Jimmy, me, and Robin, since Robin and I are both now orphans. So we now share Mama Wanda with Jimmy! And Wanda continues to be more active than the three of us put together, so we are inspired by her!






Jimmy tilling the rainbow garden with the Mantis. ©Susan Shie 2002.By the last day of Robin's working vacation here, this is what the garden looked like. I forgot to take pix of it in its pre-worked-on stage, but just imagine a rainforest, and you're pretty close! The big wet season had really fed the weeds well, and it was easy to identify what was what, in the weed-pulling party stage of the work. Robin and I would yank weeds, so Jimmy could come through with the little Mantis tiller, Robin would sift out rocks, I would plant, and Floyd would gather our weed piles to scoop into the wheel barrow. Quite a garden dream team, we were!




Jimmy fishing at Mohican. ©Susan Shie 2002.Well, with his yen for fishing left unsatisfied after the PA fiasco, Jimmy and I went down to Mohican State Park, south of Loudonville, OH, to give him a chance to fish one more time! Plus, a wonderful new fly fishing magazine, Art of Angling Journal, was in the process of writing an article about Jimmy for this September's quarterly issue, and the editor wanted pix of Jimmy fishing. So I brought along lots of cameras and documented his fishing time. We eventually got rained out, but got plenty of images. So look for this big fat Jimmy article, coming soon! He's supposed to get a 20-30 page article, plus the back cover of the beautiful magazine, dedicated to the artwork made for the fly fishing community.


The Garlic Queen, finished! ©Susan Shie 2002.Back at the ranch, I had to get some more art pieces finished up, that had to do with my Lucky School of Quilting Techniques, because I was writing an article myself, about these processes, for the September issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. I even made ten blocks to illustrate the build up of my processes, and am now using those blocks in my classes. Look for images of them and some other works in my article soon! If you saw the last issue of Quilting Arts, you know it's just getting better and better as a new magazine, and the photography is spectacular. They use almost exclusively 4 x 5 transparencies, so the illustrations are super clear and vibrant. Same as Jimmy's magazine, and I think it's wild we both have articles coming out in Sept in very visual magazines!

Oh, here's the finally finished version of "The Garlic Queen," 8"h x 7"w, which I added more detail to, for the magazine photo shoot. Later in June, Jan Brasier of Kettering, OH, bought this piece from me, so it won't be in shows. So I had to show it here! When you saw it before here, it had less stitching and lacked the button border


The sampler blocks I made this spring. ©Susan Shie 2002.These are the 10 Lucky Sampler blocks I made this Spring, to demonstrate my Lucky School of Quilting Applique methods, to illustrate the article for Quilting Arts. It's good to hang them up at a class, so students can really study the order of the processes, which is important. If you bead before you're done stitching, the beads can get loose on the quilt later.

The writing I did on the cups is different in each of the blocks, even though the blocks are supposed to be identical. I just couldn't bring myself to put the same diary on them all, so they're all unique, making a build up of a story, which is how I work anyhow!

Jimmy had to learn more about our digital camera for the photo shoot we did for Quilting Arts, as we needed tiff files of closeups of my hands making the blocks. He did a great job, I editted them and put them on a CD for the magazine, and you'll see them in the article soon!

Seeds and Weeds, finished!!!  ©Susan Shie 2002.Since so many of my new pieces in progress are started as paintings, and the techniques I focused on for the Quilting Arts article are applique oriented, I had to dig around to find this appliqued piece, started two years ago and abandoned after its class demo period. I start so many works in classes, and then start more, instead of finishing what I've begun. It gets very frustrating.

But anyhow, I pulled out this St. Q garden panel, which was only started really, and decided to combine it with the smaller piece about Jimmy's magic fish, since it was now both garden and fishing season. I added all the writing on the muu muu, as well as the whole pink panel that goes between the other two pieces, and worked like a maniac while Cindy and Doug were here, to complete it on time for sending out with the photo shoot. Looks like it'll go to Thirteen Moons Gallery now, since it's back from the photo session. I also hope to enter it into a show or two, but would be very happy to sell it any time! I would also enjoy hanging it in my house, but it needs to get out. It's the newest finished piece I've got! And it tells all about our May, 2002 adventures.

Named it "Seeds and Weeds, " because that was a good summary of our garden this Spring! On the quilt it actually has a little affirmation that says, "Seeds that grow; weeds that go!" But the three word title is better! I'll have to label slides, after all, and this has taught me to concentrate on short titles! The piece is 22.5"h x 13"w.

Roxanne, Maryanne, and Amanda at camp. ©Susan Shie 2002.June 2 - 8 was a very special Turtle Art Camp here. Maryanne Simmons, the Master Printer of Washington University's Island Press in St. Louis, came with two of her students, Amanda Verbeck and Roxanne Phillips, and we got back to work on the experimental printing project we'd begun there at Wash U in 1999. Because Maryanne was leaving Island Press in July, she decided to bring the work here to start on the real print quilt making of our edition of 19 quilts! We almost completed #1!!!! What a job, as this is a real and very large quilt, made of printed panels of fabric, which are quilted in my techniques, all by hand, and beaded, and sewn together.

A lot of sleep was lost that week, in order to make the first quilt really move almost to completion in one week! They had made all the print panels of all 11 pieces for each of 19 quilts, and my main job was/is to use permanent markers and write a diary on each panel of each quilt, along with outlining all the forms. Plus I helped constantly with the sewing of the quilt panels, after I got the writing done.

We had designed this quilt back in 1999, when Jimmy and I spent a week at Island Press, and now the other projects they'd been working on were all caught up, and we were once again up to bat! Wow! It's really happening!

Above we were looking at the eight side panels of Print Quilt #1, and had to decide how to sew them. We ended up settling on not cutting any corners for this project, after I showed them a bunch of our "real" quilts up close. We all agreed that the print quilts had to be as close to looking like I had sewn them, as was within reason. No machine work, no wonder under, no skimping on stitch density or beading! Work, work, work!!!!

Amanda and Roxanne sewing. ©Susan Shie 2002.Those first eight panels, the little side pieces, went fairly fast, but when we got to the very large top, bottom, and middle panels, our progress slowed to a crawl! Here Amanda and Roxanne are working on the huge middle panel, after I'd worked some on stitching it myself. They've draped it over a chair back, to hold it up, so they can both stitch on it at once! By this time, we were becoming pretty sleep deprived, and the work was our life! But everyone's spirits were still high!




Me and Maryanne sewing. ©Susan Shie 2002.Maryanne and I were working at the same time on the bottom panel, which was the second largest piece of the quilt. I think we were beading at this point, but I don't remember for sure. I just know I was amazed at the work level we were putting out, since I'd believed for three years that Wash U would fizzle out, when they tried to make prints of our quilt images! Just didn't count on this powerhouse Maryanne and her equally enthused little band of printmakers!

They had done work with Joyce Scott, Nick Cave, and other mixed media artists, before us. Every edition is very experimental, daring to go where most printmaking studios wouldn't even attempt. Besides being willing to work with things like beading, Island Press is famous for having a very huge printing press. This wasn't really needed for our pieces, even though the final quilts are 75"h x 45"w, because these are made of 11 smaller panels sewn together, and the middle panel actually is formed from about five separate plates that jigsaw puzzle together, before printing!

Island Press Print Quilt #1 being sewn together. ©Susan Shie 2002.This is pretty late at night the last night of the June camp here. And when I say late, bear in mind that most nights, we worked til 3 am!!!! Here we're sewing the quilt panels together. Normally I would have the whole thing on the work wall to sew it together, but normally I work alone on this. I decided we needed to put it on the big studio table, so we could all sew at once. We worked out the most logical order of sewing things together, and they'll use that order on each of the 19 quilts. The panels wouldn't necessarily fit together if we'd chosen to sew them together in a different sequence. Miraculously, it all fit. We had to make two little shims on the sides to get a perfect fit, and we may have to do that with each quilt. We'll see. But compared to what I thought might happen, it was an extremely accurate fit! I guess we were really being careful when we created the model panels in 1999!

Green Pyrex Cup. ©Susan Shie 2002.Pyrex cup panel on print quilt. ©Susan Shie 2002.Here are two Pyrex Cups, only I made the one on the left this year, as a little class sampler, with applique, ("Green Pyrex Cup", 6.25"h x 5.3"w, owned by Trish DuBois). I designed the one on the right as part of this print quilt project back in 1999, and it's one of the 11 panels of Print Quilt #1: The Cookbook / Hierophant: Toasted Cheese Sandwich." Each of the 19 print quilts will have all the same images, but I can write a totally different diary on each one. So on each, I'm going to make a new recipe in the open cookbook in the center quilt panel.

As far as I know, no one has ever made an edition of actually hand quilted and hand embellished quilts like this before. I know Faith Ringgold's quilts have had silkscreened printed quilts made of them, but our edition features experimental hand painting into each print panel after printing, as well as my individual writing and drawing on each panel, not to mention the incredible amount of hand work done by the printers to sew and bead, then join the panels. And I doubt that this effort will ever be done again! Who would have the energy??????????

This is page 1. If you like, go to page 2 now.

Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord

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