Turtle Trax Diary. Page 47
March 30, 2005
Watchin' Eva Grow!
by Susan Shie
This painting: "Green Stink Pot #6", finished 3-27-05. 10.5 x 12.5". One of six paintings made at the same time this last week, started in Lakewood in the evenings, at my "second shift job" and finished in Wooster in my home studio. I will be selling most of these myself at my wholesale price of $200 for each unframed painting on unstretched fabric.
This particular St Q in painting #6, is holding a tiny but Mighty Princess Eva, in a little blue Buddha Girl outfit. And I see that there are some Pot Pies for Peace floating around this work. AND I even put in a little Easter Piggy for free! Ha!
Topics in this diary: Christmas; "Edanola Windows"; "Stink Pot #1"; Mama Wanda meets Eva; "Kitchen Window #1: Tsunami"; "Radiator #1: Eva Radiates Love"; WAGE "Windows" Exhibition; "Coyote Chick-AQT"; "Eva's Birth"; "NEO Buddha"; Jimmy's class at John C Campbell; "Lazy Susan" in progress; Uncle Lester's 90th birthday party; Eva starts to eat food; "Green Stink Pot" paintings; "Mad Port Caper" in progress; and Eva at Easter.
Note about sales: Almost all the artwork I show in my diary is for sale. The price formulas for my work are on my front page, so multiply the length by the width and by the price per square inch. Or call or email me for a price. And I take payments.
This was my electronic Christmas card this year, a photo Gretchen had taken of Eva and her Christmas mouse. Eva was less than two months old then, and the main thing I remember about her development then was that she would stop crying when we'd hold her up to the Christmas tree, when the lights were turned on. She would stare at them, and I really think that was the first image she noticed well. I was worried that she'd be harder to calm down when the tree went down, and suggested leaving it up longer, but somehow we all muddled through with it gone, and she started to notice other things besides, like the ceiling fans.
Our cousins Linda and Colleen came at Christmas again this year, and my sister Debi and I ran around with them again, for about a week. Here are, from left, Colleen, Debi, and Linda. My favorite of all our adventures was going down to Berlin (Amish Country) to The Behalt, the Mennonite museum-like place, where we took the lecture-tour of the gigantic historical mural of our Amish and Mennonite roots, and we even found a big picture of one of our family ancestors, as the first Amish bishop in the US. Wow! OK, Colleen is our honorary cousin, but Linda is my Aunt Hazel's daughter, and Hazel was my mom's next younger sister. Now you will notice that my little sister is the smallest of these three, but she is also the feistiest, since she's the only one of them with Shie blood, and all Shie women are Feisty Under Pressure (FUP.)
At our house at Christmas, Eva (and Gretchen) gave Mike a ukulele, and he immediately started to seranade his little daughter. Here he and Jimmy are charmed by her as the sweet little Hula Hands Princess.
It was so nice to have Mike, Gretchen, and Eva here with us for Christmas! Look how very tiny Eva was then! This was in the middle of all our huge snow storm action and bitter cold, when many people in our county had no power or water, including Jimmy's mom and Gary. We had only our cell phones, and we lost a huge amount of tree limbs to the ice, but our power was only off for a little while. We had not only our little family here, but also my cousins Linda and Colleen from Panoma, CA, and Gary. It was a festive time, as we all hid inside and kept warm and dry! That week between Christmas and New Year's was my last long span of time at home before taking on the big nanny job, so I was really savoring it all, knowing I would be the hostess with the mostess for such a short time.
At the Acord Family Christmas bash, which unexpectedly had to be held at our house, instead of at Mama Wanda's, where the power was out, Karlie (Freddie and Jackie's daughter) and Tazia (Karen's granddaughter) sat with our High Priestess Mama Wanda (Jimmy's mom). Everyone was already pretty worn out from the storms and power outs, but we were happy together and glad that at least our house had power!
"Edanola Windows" is a small quilt I made about getting ready to have the granny pad and take care of Eva. Started on September 19 and finished on December 30, 2004, it's 17.5 x 13.5", hand painted on whole cloth with brush and airpen, and all hand stitched. I began it at Friends Fabric Art, when I was teaching there in September, just after Maxine got hit by that car.
I had to put some windows into it, because we were having a WAGE (Wayne Artists Group Effort) theme show called "Windows" and I saw the windows as symbolizing looking back to the past and ahead to the future, through the little studio I was renting near Gretchen and Mike's house. I wanted and later got a bright red futon cover, so that's the couch we're all sitting on. St Q is the giant Buddha Girl bust behind us, kinda wearing the apartment building for a hat or headdress.
This was one of my two pieces in the WAGE "Windows" show, along with "Kitchen Window #1: Tsunami" (see below.)
"Stink Pot #1" is not part of the Little Green Stink Pots set I started to show you. This is my original Stink Pot, the Mother of them all! I began her in our Nov, 2003 Turtle Art Camp, and finished her in late December this year. She's 17.25" square and is sold. Yea! I got kinda political when working on this whole cloth painted piece. Brush and airpen work, and all hand stitched like crazy!
We finally got everyone organized to get Mama Wanda up to meet Eva at Gretchen/s house on January 7, after all the storm stuff made them miss meeting at Christmas. Eva slept through most of the time they had together (She sure doesn't sleep that soundly during the day anymore!!!), but it was so nice to be together.
"Kitchen Window #1: Tsunami" was made as my response to the terrible Christmas Day tsunami. It's 35 x 20", brush and airpen painted on whole cloth, and machine grid sewn. I started it on January 3 and finished it on January 7, because of the fast sewing.
I couldn't bring myself to put bodies in the water, and settled on having flowers represent the people. You're looking out your own kitchen window to see the tsunami, so you get the idea that it effected us all very personally.
This was my second piece in the WAGE "Windows" show at Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster, Jan 8-Feb 19, 2005.
Here's "Radiator #1: Eva Radiates Love", which I started on Dec. 3 as the first painting made at my granny pad, and finished on January 15. It's whole cloth, brush and airpen painted and machine crazy grid quilted.
It's about our family, with Eva as the Big Tomato, wearing that little pink knitted cap they put on her in the hospital when she was born. It's also about my cranky radiator that didn't work for the first month of living in the studio. I guess it got fixed the day I started the painting. And I got to thinking of how radiators can stand for giving off certain energies... or not!
The words between the radiator pipes are street names in my new, second home neighborhood.
I called this #1, because I expect to do some more Radiator pieces, and that's also why I called the Kitchen Window piece #1. It may be a while til I work more on either subject, but I expect a series of each will happen. Like my Kitchen Tarot deck, they will span a long, long time, as time and the spirit moving me allow for work! (But, surprise! I AM back to work on The Kitchen Tarot, and will finish #10: The Lazy Susan/Wheel of Fortune, begun in 2002, in time for the "Pushing the Surface" exhibition at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton in May.)
Here's my darling pal and partner in crime, Rene (pronounced Renie) Meier and me at the Windows show opening at Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster on January 8. We were two of the four curators, and it gave us lots of excuses to get together and shop and eat out. You perhaps know us better as the Two LaVernes, LuVerne and ReVerne. Rene is a very excellent watercolor artist and gardener and all round down-to-earth buddy. She's the sweetheart who did so much garden work to get our place ready for Gretchen's baby shower last August. One could not have a better friend. She also helped me in moving a ton of stuff to the granny pad, the first day I had the apartment, and she and her beau Lyle have helped me get back to Lakewood when Jimmy was nowhere in sight, on account of going off to build a bamboo fly rod in North Carolina last month.
This watercolor is called History's Light, and was made by Rene, whose full name is Lorene Meier, and which was chosen for the postcard for the invitation for the WAGE show "Windows." We all agreed that this piece was totally stunning!
It's a scene Rene found in Lyle's barn, and to me it shows a real artist's ability to find true beauty and even majesty in mundane images. Look at that light! That angle! Barn turned to cathedral. I could go on and on, and I might...!
You shoulda seen this show! It was great! Our little WAGE group (Wayne Artists Group Effort), begun in 1986, going strong. Artists in all media who gather once a month just to support each other's work, and to plan and look forward to our next show together. In Feb-March, 2006, we're doing the theme "The Blues." At this point we're all cooking up our big ideas for our personal responses to the theme, and I did my bit by making my first visit to Cleveland's new House of Blues with my new Cleveland friend Susanne. Doing research for WAGE shows is important and sometimes hard work! Ha!
Very sadly, our sweet, sweet boy cat, Willy Pendejo, died of a heart attack on January 28. Jimmy used to sit down to watch late night TV with me, and Willy would come and drape his body across Jimmy, from his hips to his shoulders, in the exact same position each night. He'd fall asleep on Jimmy, and the world was a good place.
He was born on February 10, 1994, on the first day of the Chinese Year of the Dog, so of course, he thought he was a dog. This super long, super muscular orange tabby would jump in huge, graceful arcs like Michael Jordan, to catch tin foil balls, racing down the hallway in hot pursuit. If he was in a good mood, he'd retrieve them, coz, after all, he was a dog.
I think Willy was the next incarnation of Earnesto Juarez, Jimmy's first and highly esteemed cat. Who knows? But Willy definitely won Jimmy's heart.
No thank you. We don't want you to give us or find us another cat! But we appreciate your good memories of Willy, if you met and knew him. He really loved having students come to camp, even if most of them were girls, and he preferred hanging out with the boys!
Here is the mighty "Coyote Chick-AQT", started Nov 9 in my class at Art Quilt Tahoe as a demo and finished Feb 6, 2005. Size is 16.5" square. Now sold. Again, she's brush and airpen, with lots of hand sewing. No machine work and a few shisha mirrors, but like every work lately, no beads except for one Green Temple Buddha Boy bead. I wonder when I'm going to start beading again. Probably sometime. But for now, I just want you to focus on the painting and writing, when you study my work.
This piece is a mixture of images that came up in the group conversation when I was drawing the piece. We were thinking about Scorpio, because the Sun was in Scorpio, and how the coyotes the students had seen running on the golf course by the big Squaw Valley hotel were really a very good symbol for Scorpio, secretive and sexy, intense and night oriented. Woooo! That was my last class for a long time to come, since you can't be a real, serious nanny and make your art, and teach all over the place, on top of all that! Something had to go.
"Eva's Birth" is a piece I started at the class I started teaching at The Midwest Quilt Retreat Center (The Fred) in Indianapolis, a few days after Eva's month early birth. I finished it on Valentine's Day this year. It's 11.5 x 17.5", very heavily hand quilted over brush and airpen painted whole cloth cotton. I haven't shown this piece but will sometime this year, I hope.
"Possum" is the name I was using for Eva before she was born, when a real name hadn't been settled on yet by her folks.
Above is "NEO Buddha," which at 56 x 57" is I suppose my biggest deal piece of this season. I haven't made a work this large in a little while, though when I was making my big wild things in the 80s and early 90s, it would be a medium sized work. I started it on Feb. 15 and got it all done by March 6, and keep in mind that I couldn't touch it while taking care of Eva, since I don't paint at Gretchen's house or machine sew there. I just pushed really hard and didn't get much sleep. Pulled too many all-nighters, actually. Won't do that again! Also, since all the sewing is machine crazy grids, that helped tons! Again, it's a whole cloth painting with brush and airpen, and those grid sewing lines are really far apart.
This piece is my expression of what it's really like to live in two cities in Northeast Ohio (NEO) at once, going back and forth, so I can care for Eva during the week and be at home on weekends. I guess I do most of my art as a second shift job, working late into the night, but I can hand sew while Eva sleeps, too.
The giant figure in the green buddha duds in the middle here is St Q, though people keep telling me they think it's me. Nope. It's Mom. And she's got a big Chicken Pot Pie, since this is the Year of the Hen. Jimmy's on our left in the Wooster house, and Eva's on the right in the Lakewood apartment, though she has hardly ever been to my granny pad. (We do our daytime thing at her house, and the granny pad is reserved for art making, as it's a tiny studio with no room for baby stuff.) Above the Wooster house is Willy Pendejo, who died unexpectedly on January 28 this year. He was probably Jimmy's favorite cat ever, even surpassing finally the favor Jimmy had for his first cat Earnesto Juarez. Above the granny pad is that pesky radiator... this time with names of streets in both of my neighborhoods written in between its pipes.
Near the bottom right corner of the piece you'll see one of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Central Park Gates, flapping in the breeze. The Gates went up and came down pretty much in sync with the making of this piece of mine. I loved the Gates, though I didn't get to go see them. Robin saw them every day, since she works at The Met. She even got me a legal swatch of the Gates fabric, in SAFFRON! Thank you, Trixi!
You may notice that St Q is wearing a blue Peace Stink Pot on her head. This is a compost bucket like the one next to our kitchen sink at home, and its job is to decompose war energy. St Q also has faded purple wings on, and they each bear a favorite fortune cookie tape I have saved to inspire me.
One day last week I decided I needed to get some pix of Eva in the wonderful sweater and cap outfit my dear friend in Edmonton, Alberta, Ricki Moffat, had hand knit for her, before Eva outgrew them. Since we had no other person to take the pix, I set the camera on the coffee table and got this, which we both like well enough. Ricki even put little heart buttons on the shoulder opening of the sweater. Eva loves this very earthy fashion statement!
Jimmy got to take his first ever class in a craft school last month, in studying how to build a bamboo fly rod, with his best friend Doug Hall teaching the class at John C Campbell Folk School. This is a shot of the whole class, with Jimmy at the front left, and Doug to his left. Jimmy and I have taught at lots of craft schools, but neither of us has ever before taken a class at one, and I've never been to John Campbell. Of course now I dream of going there with him and just working on my art, while he takes classes. There or somewhere else! But it'll be when Eva's bigger. Jimmy had a super wonderful time, totally got absorbed in making his split cane rod, with all those micro measurements, and Doug is now teaching a LOT of classes on this subject there, since he got a waiting list two miles long! Hurray!
This is a piece I'm working on every chance I get, which means at Gretchen's house when Eva sleeps and also at the granny pad, when I'm talking to Jimmy or others on the phone, or when I'm home in Wooster. It's "The Lazy Susan / Wheel of Fortune: Card #10 in The Kitchen Tarot." It's 50 x 36". Biggun! Yes, friends, I'm finally back to work on my deck of art quilt tarot cards!!!!!
I started this one in May, 2002, when Trish Haskey DuBois was here for a camp, and then I would work on it off and on over time. Last year I put all the super tiny writing on it, when I got good enough with my airpen work to write with paint on this porous fabric ( a cotton damask from Lunn Fabrics) after it'd been airbrush and brush painted. Then I had put it aside again. This thing is big, and I'd been lamenting ever starting three more Kitchen Tarot card quilts in such a large scale, but now have decided not to ditch them, but to slowly finish them with lots of hand stitching. So I work on this one seemingly all the time and drag it everywhere. It goes to the "Pushing the Surface" art quilt exhibition at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton, OH this May to July. And when it's done, I have the next two card quilts to finish, and THEN I'll start doing my machine crazy grids on the next Kitchen Tarot pieces. The next two already have some hand sewing on them, as this one did, so they're not candidates for the crazy grids. Too bad, as those babies would get done so fast!
This particular Lazy Susan is an Asrology Wheel, and I put a kitchen gadget or appliance in to stand for each of the signs of the Zodiac. Trish helped me figure them out, when I was originally painting this, and that discussion was really fun. Only mess up was that I was talking to her and not paying enough attention when I was putting in the images, and I got Capricorn's meat grinder where Scorpio's compost bucket should go and vice versa. Ratz. I never start over, so I just wrote on the thing that they need to be switched!
Evil Tulip, our wildest cat, is lazily watching the wheel turn. And you might notice that there are tons of shisha mirrors on this quilt. It's because I kept needing something to demonstrate how to sew a shisha onto, and kept grabbing it. I was sitting each class with two to three students at a time and making one shisha with each group, so I have plenty, more than plenty of shisha sewn onto last year's works! But especially this one. Once I put all that tiny writing on it, it sort of limited my shisha addition spaces, but then I took this teaching break, so it worked out, and maybe I'll get caught up on my hundreds of UFOs while being on sabbatical from teaching!
My Uncle Lester Snyder turned 90 on March 22, and his family had a really sweet celebration for him at Oak Grove Mennonite Church on the Sunday before. Here are Jimmy (left), our cousin Tony, and Uncle Lester, having a good time together, as all three are quite clever...!
My Aunt Nellie turned 90 in January, and is having some health problems, so she couldn't be there with her husband Lester, to help him enjoy his party. We were all very sad about that, but are glad they're both with us, the oldest members of my mother's immediate family.
On March 22, on Eva's five months' birthday, Gretchen and Mike gave Eva her first solid food, some rice cereal. It was also her first time to sit in her new high chair. Everything went very well, and Eva is on her way in the joyous world of taste testing! Hurray!
I needed to make a little painting for an art auction, so I decided to make a set of six Little Green Stink Pot paintings, which are all different, but have the same stuff and colors in them basically.
These little Green Stink Pots are symbols of Spring's renewing season, and the bright orangy yellow backgrounds are just to help us all feel cheerful after a long, hard winter. St Q wears her Buddha Girl duds yet, since the War is still going on, and the duds are a soft raspberry pink, again for Spring and for Mother Love. Big psychic eyes for the soul look in and out, and the Chin Eyes or Chindis I made up last year seem to still be in style here!
The one shown here is #4. It sports twin St Quiltas, like in my Cookbook piece in The Kitchen Tarot. It's got the biggest Stink Pot in the set of paintings, and everyone knows that bigger is better!
I would do each step of work to all of the six paintings and then move on to the next step, which is how I always do sets and why I don't call them series, which imply you make one whole piece and then do the next. These all got started on March 21 and finished on March 27.
They are 10.5"h x 12.5"w, retail for $265, and I will sell them directly at $200 each, plus shipping. You can read my framing instructions near the bottom of my front page, if you want to frame one. It's really easy. I guess I'll try to find time to make a little gallery with these in it in the next couple of weeks, so yu can see them all, if you want to buy one. They will retail for $265. each unframed, and I'll sell them myself for $200. each, plus shipping.
I got the idea for the Stink Pots last year, while cleaning up after a meal and scraping the leftover food scraps into our little blue garbage pail. Mom always had a garbage bucket, and we'd take it out and dump it on the garbage pile. Back then, it wasn't called a compost pile, but that's what it was. My new idea is that we have junk thoughts like anger and hate and jealousy, and we need a psychic compost bucket to put these unhealthy thoughts into, and then, when it gets emptied onto the ground, the Earth can neutralize the energy and bring it back to a healthy state to be used again. Just a nice concept to picture, that your energy is purified and recycled. Ta Da!
My new Cleveland friend Susanne Gregg and I went downtown to eat at the new House of Blues a couple of weeks ago. Well, we weren't able to make same day reservations, and there was an hour wait, so we left. We really enjoyed walking around downtown though, and had a super time eating instead at My Friend's Place, a 24-hour restaurant on Detroit over by Lakewood. Apparently HOB had some kind of really popular concert that night.
The House of Blues is in the old Woolworth's building in the Gateway district, and they have cool folk art all over the walls of the restaurant part of the place. We tried to walk around, before leaving, to look at the art, but it was too crowded. So we're going to make a reservation before the actual day we want to go next time, and will try again. We did enjoy the big, funky murals, like this one on the outside of the building! You can't miss seeing where The House of Blues is!
Meanwhile, Susanne and I are part of a new and very tiny six woman artists' group that meets in Lakewood once a month. Susanne is a painter and also does really intense machine embroidered portraits, the likes of which I have never seen before. The other women are doing many kinds of fiber, and I like the variety. The group doesn't have a name yet, but when we get that far, I'll tell you about it. Susanne and I are kicking around ideas, and so far the best one is the Textile tArts, which Susanne thought up and put on her long list of possible names. I love the name tArts, and it reminds me of the idea my friend Alysse in Eugene has, that when you say "quilt arts," it sounds like "quilt tarts!" But because two of the artists in the group have small children, I suppose we'll have to behave and have some kind of proper name. I love the whole process of naming things, and I love edgy names the best!
My friend Pat Cornelius, head YaYa of Pat's YaYas, my wonderful friends from Wooster and beyond, took this picture one night at my granny pad, when she and YaYa Rita and YaYa Marsha came up to see the pad, meet Eva, say hi to Gretchen and Mike, go to supper, and take me back home to Wooster, since Jimmy was at that rod building class yet... And this is a picture Pat took of me holding up my current commission, five year project: "The Mad Port Caper" in progress. It's about my friend Ricki Moffat, who would be a YaYa with us, except she lives in Canada. And it's about the women in her family, including her mother, grandmother, and two daughters. And it's about the night I met her mother in Montreal and they decanted a bottle of 1974 Taylor Port, and we got a little, well, MAD! I work on this piece off and on, and when I get that big old Lazy Susan done, I'll be back to sewing by hand on Mad Port Caper when Eva takes her naps. I love having a five year project, like "IZE's Trailer Court" was before this piece. It gives me one thing that is often in the background, but is defining a whole period of my life, like an epoch.
Right now I'm doing lots and lots of hand stitching with perle cottons on this piece. I'm really into using a lot of Laura Wasiloski's hand dyed variegated perle cottons now on all my handwork. She's ArtFabric.com, and I love her threads and how easy it is to order from her very good color charts.
You can hardly tell the difference between this piece now and just its painted form, by looking at the picture, but it's getting quilted now, changing a lot, but mostly in texture. When this stage is completed, I'll be beading this one a ton!
Hope you had a Happy Easter! Eva enjoyed nibbling on the ears of her various new Easter Bunnies, and learned to grab her own feet and roll around like a little pyramid. Close to being able to roll over and also to sitting up alone.
These are exciting times!
So I hope you have a lovely Spring! I look forward to getting some new work up into my Gallery pages again this Spring, before the next diary, so you might check in a month or so.
I plan to have my next diary up by June 30, which is Jimmy and my 15th anniversary of really being married. (Together it's more like 29 years, this Fall. Ou la la!)
See ya! Lucky
Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord
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