Turtle Trax Diary. Page 53,
July 31, 2007
Winter to Summer!
by Susan Shie
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Above Eva sits on my "Mama Sun" ("Mom and Apple Pie / The Sun" Kitchen Tarot quilt, between Gretchen and me. We're posing as the Buddha Girls we really are. It's good for us!
Topics in this diary: Page 1: Jessica's family comes to visit; kittens; blizzard; "Calendar / Moon"; "Mama Sun"; Arrowmont class; "Tree of Life". Page 2: More Arrowmont stuff; "Luanne as a Teapot" in progress; "The Pressure Cooker / Tower"; Quilt National 07 adventures; duct tape wallets with Shelley and Robin; QN related adventures; Eva weeding; Billboard art in Wooster; "Becky Hancock as a Teapot". Page 3: QSDS 07; Peach's new work; tArts in the pArk; "Olama"; Kendra's wedding pillowcase; tArts at Lime's art opening; "Queen Quatty"; WAGE meeting at Joan's farm; Snyder Picnic; Linda's Thesis Party; Acord Picnics; "Kitchen Blessings #1" for SAQA auction.
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Here's Jimmy sewing on a large leather fly fishing equipment case he was finishing up for a customer, while I was teaching at Arrowmont. His best friend Doug Hall and Arrowmont's Bill Griffith had both come in to see him work a little, as he sewed on the bag. Doug is a well known bamboo rodmaker, who teaches at John Campbell school of crafts, and he'd come up to Arrowmont to fish with Jimmy for a few days in the Smokys. Bill and others arranged for Jimmy to show the five minute DVD of his TV segment on "Backroads with Ron and Raven" from the Outdoor Network, when we teachers gave our presentations one night. It was great to see his beautiful little movie on a big screen with their great sound system! I was so tickled that they wanted to include Jimmy's work, even though he's no longer a teacher there at Arrowmont. Oh, in the back of this picture above, you can see our list of themes on the blackboard ... greenboard. I bet we figured up forty or more all together! Only used five or six in class, and each class of mine creates their own theme list. Wanna play?
When we were all done with my class and cleaning up the studio, it was too late to drive up to the Microtel that night, so we spent the night at Arrowmont, hanging out with new friends in faculty and students alike, and then on Saturday, Jimmy took me up into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to show me some of the streams he'd been fishing in all week. This one is in the northwestern part of the park, near Elkmont, which was a little town that had to close yeasrs ago. All those old vacation and fulltime homes just sit there now, falling apart. But not far from them is this lovely trout stream.
Jimmy also showed me majestic, wide rivers in the park, and we stopped at the Visitors' Center, to study the huge 3-D map of the park. It's really a stunning place, especially since Gatlinburg has become such an overkill of tourism. The park makes it all worth it, as does Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, the island of peace and creativity there in Gatlinburg. If you want to find it, it's near the big new Aquarium on Parkway. Just a tiny little sign on the street, and then you drive back to its enclave on the woods! Ahhhh!
This was the only painting of mine that I got very far on in the Arrowmont class, since I was busy going around helping my students a lot, as usual. It's the first day's theme, musta been something about friends. Luanne Moffett, my best friend in the late 80s and early 90s, died in 1991 from cancer, and I have the fortune teller teapot she'd bought and her little girl Danielle had given to me after Luanne's death. The teapot's face looks so much like how Luanne did, when she'd lost her hair and her face grew puffy from the steroids. She sits on a shelf in my kitchen, and when I clean her, I always make sure her head faces out, so we can watch each other.
I included images from a quilt she made about us both sewing, as well as a few things from my kitchen that she'd given me. I put my jug of wine out-takes from the class "Tree of Life" project, on her body for decorations, because I liked them way too much to pitch them. Luanne would be a really well known quilt artist by now, had she lived. She would be protesting the wars with me and making art about it. How I miss her. Danielle is 23 now!
Here's Eva inspecting the finished "Mama Sun," aka "Mom and Apple Pie: Card #19 in the Kitchen Tarot." OR as "Madame Soliel." You can see the great big image of the whole quilt and read my long statement on it, in my 2007 Gallery. This piece is the same size as the Moon piece: 90"h x 70"w, so they're sort of a set. Eva found herself at the bottom middle of the painting, as a little Buddha Girl holding a peace cupcake, between her parents as buddhas, too. She found Jimmy and me (PaPaw and Panny) and the three kittens: Otis, Ome, and Cricket, and all the eyes, hearts, the sun, etc. Eva is my favorite art critic. If it bores her, that's it! Back to the drawing board. If you go to my gallery to see the big images of the finished piece, see if you can find the Peace Cozy. It's #15 in the series. It's that little yellow square with a hollow letter peace symbol drawn on it.
I love using pies as images in my art. Started that long ago, but especially got into it in 2003, with a Creation Pie on a calendar painting called "2003 Pie." Then there was a Peace Pie, and at Arrowmont in 2004, I made a big painting for their auction called "Pot Pies over Arrowmont." In "Mama Sun" it's a gigantic apple pie, since I am Apple (or Pomme) in the Textile tArts. Oh, but I'm explaining the piece, and you should just go read its statement in the gallery. Bye!
OK, let's go to Quilt National 07! QN is a biennial international exhibition that starts on Memorial Day weekend in Athens, Ohio and tours for two and a half years. It's still up at the Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center in Athens through Labor Day weekend, so get down there. This is my tenth time out of eleven tries, to get into this show of 83 quilts, and this time my piece "The Pressure Cooker / Tower: Card #16 in the Kitchen Tarot" was chosen to be the cover image for the hardbound book by Lark Books, that's the catalog of the show. You can buy it from the Dairy Barn or on their site. I've always considered having your work chosen for the cover of a book as one of the best things that can happen to an artist for that piece of art, next to having a really good collection buy the piece. So I was super excited, and still am, about my work making this cover. AND they did a really good reproduction of the work. The catalog has a full page, all color image of each quilt in the show, along with a brief artist's statement about the piece The artists come from all over the world and attend the opening events.
In my 2007 gallery you can read the long statement about "The Pressure Cooker / Tower..." and see its larger images. Here is a small detail shot of the lower part of the actual tower in the piece, which includes ten pressure cookers all together, all with their presser gauges reading "tilt"or full blast. They're all ready to explode, because of too much build up of too much pressure. The tower leans precariously to the right, ready to topple onto the people. Each pressure cooker has the story of one of the Bush administration's practices written on it, and the tower rests on a huge sleeping face, which is my symbol for the people who still trust this government to be doing good. The birds are the citizens who are awake to all the dangers, and are flying at the tower, to try to get rid of it. The Statue of Liberty, with her left arm raised, to show her liberal stance, looks very sad and worried. I wrote the history of the statu and Emma Lazarus' very moving poem on her. This poem is on a big plaque on the base of the real statue, and reading it, it's clear that this country was meant to be a noble and comforting haven of safety for everyone. Read this poem when you get a chance. Note that Emma L called this statue "Mother of Exiles."
One of the best things about going to Athens to the QN weekend stuff was going to see our pals John Lefelhocz and Maxine Diamond at their home. Besides owning the Cycle Path of Athens bike shop together, John or Janos also is a very accomplished quilt artist, one of my very favorites. He makes art in many other media as well, but almost all his work has very interesting social commentary in it, which of course I love! Above is a picture I took in his studio behind their house, which shows one of John's beaded bikes and his art quilt about himself, showing conflicting parts of himself as a portrait.
Maxine cooked Sunday brunch for Peter and Miriam Nathan-Roberts, Elizabeth Brimelow and her husband, Michele Hardman, Robin Schwalb, and us. We enjoyed talking with her many parrots or whatever kind of big talking birds they each are! Max loves them like babies, and they would certainly scare off burglars! Going to Max and John's home always makes me feel comfortable and connected to great love and creativity. Too bad we don't all live close together!
We also attended the QN opening and banquet, hosted by long time hosts and collectors Ardis and Bob James; went back to the Dairy Barn on Saturday morning to inspect all the quilts better; bopped around Athens Saturday afternoon, seeing Andi Stern's installations of her art qulits and beaded pieces in several places downtown; and attended the pizza party that used to be held at Hilary and Marvin Fletcher's home, now held at the Dairy Barn. I think everyone there was and is heartbroken over Hilary's death in August, 2006, from cancer. Hilary was the soul of Quilt National as long as I can remember, directing it from 1983 (?) til 2006. The new director of QN, Kathleen Dawson, and the whole staff there did an excellent job of creating this year's QN show. Studio Art Quilt Associates, SAQA, held its conference during QN again this year, so there were many, many artists there, taking classes and holding networking sessions, besides coming to the opening events.
My tArt girlfriends Cherry Bomb and Kumquat attended the weekend, because Quatty (Gayle Pritchard, famous author) was giving a lecture and later a booksigning for her new book "Uncommon Threads: Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution," published by Ohio University Press in Athens. Bomber signed up for the SAQA conference, too. We got to see a lot of each other all weekend. Yea!
Living four hours from Athens has allowed us to attend the opening each time, since I started entering in 1987. But what's wild is that people come from places as far away as Australia and Japan! It's something I wouldn't miss, if I could help it.
I met Michele Hardman at Quilt National 05, when she told me she was starting to collect art quilts, and I invited her over to our room to see what I had, and she bought three small pieces! Since then we'd become penpals, and THEN she took a volunteer job at Barack Obama's campaign headquarters in Chicago. And THEN I found out she was coming again to QN's opening, in spite of the high energy political work she was in the midst of already! Michele had had her eye on my "Dems Win Big" piece since I'd put it on my website diary last January (or maybe I'd sent her emailed images of it before that.) At QN we got together as much as we could, and Michele was telling me all about Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama - her theories that led to my piece I'll show you soon. On Sunday morning she bought "Dems Win Big," and it's now hanging in the Obama headquarters in Chicago! I've also lent them my "Peace Porridge 3" piece from 2004, which I asubtitled "My Political Rant," which I made for the exhibit "Special Interests: The Art of Politics" at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, curated by Robin Treen in 2004.
Another Quilt National weekend tradtion is for us to stop at Lunn Fabrics in Lancaster, OH, on our way home with Robin. And for Peter and Miriam to stop in while we're there, too. But because Lunn's had closed to the public as a retail store that sells their hand dyed fabrics, we were worried that we couldn't see them this time. They might be away across the world, working with their new job as batik and tie dye designers for Robert Kaufman! Well, luck was with us, and before we left home for Athens, we'd arranged to visit Debra and Michael, and gotten them to open up for the fabric-hungry QN attendees to shop at Lunn Fabrics that weekend. They got out a bunch of fabrics, set up tables and a scales with a cookie sheet resting on top of it, and you'd put the fabric you wanted to buy on that scale. Yep, they charged by the pound to simplify it all, and we had a blast.
Catching up with this circle of great friends: Peter and Miriam, Debra and Michael, Robin, and Michele was something we enjoy every other year at this time. And THIS time those two tArts came to Lunn's when we did: Bomber and Quatty. Michael and Debra told us their adventure stories from their travels and showed us some very rare batiked fabrics they're collecting from their trips. Check out their new Artisan Batiks line with Robert Kaufman! You can see tons of new designs!
Robin Schwalb, whose beautiful piece "Mao" is in the QN show, came up to our place for a week after the show, and we got artist and friend Shelley Baird of Columbus to come up and hang out with us, and teach us to make Duct Tape Wallets with pictures on them! What fun! Look at all the stuff it takes - mainly tons of colorful duct tape and some art.
I pulled out my 1954 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, with its illustrations of domestic bliss, drawn by Richard Rosenblum as his first commissioned artwork, for which he wasn't given credit in the book. (Jimmy and I knew Richard from teaching together at CraftSummer at Miami U in Oxford, OH, but he was from Brooklyn. He died a few years ago, and everyone who knew him is now bored.) We made illicit copies of some of Richard's cool drawings, copying them on my new Epson 3-in-1 printer as my test prints, and we used those suckers in our wallet designs!
Here are Robin and me engaged in some serious wallet making, having a good time learning from Shelley, who's a great printmaking, photography, and art quilt artist, who's just starting to teach in the art quilt movement. Shelley Baird will be giving two classes this Fall at Nancy Crow's Timberframe Barn in Baltimore, OH. Be there or be square. Her first class October 22 to 26, 2007 is "Basic Screenrinting with Thermofax." And her second class is October 29 - Nov 2: "Pushing the Cretive Process - Combining Thermofax with Monoprinting." And if you're really good, she might bring some duct tape. Right now Shelley's off in Lowell, MA, having her first Lowell experience during the big annula Quilt Festival there, with one of her wonderful new pieces in the big art quilt show at The Brush! Yea, Shelley!
Here are our three fab duct tape wallets, in my Stove Gallery. I put mine in front, since it's MY stove! And so you can see that I figured out that you don't have to use copied art. No way! You can make your own little drawings or paintings and tape those suckers into the thing, too! You can see the giant green Peace Pie with Wings on the back of my Pastry Wallet. (We each chose one of Richard Rosenblum's cookbook chapter drawings to steal for our own wallets.) You can also see my Aunt Nellie's tea kettle on the stove, and the cool San Francisco spoon rest I got from Shelley and John's very fine secondhand store in Columbus a year or so ago. Oh, and one of the cool little Fiesta Ware refrigerator magnets Gretchen got me for Christmas one year. Such a fine gallery, this Stove! Just like how God is everywhere, not just in church, Art is everywhere, not just in fancy "real" galleries. End of soapbox.
We had a tArts meeting here at my house while Robin was here, which was great fun and the show and tell was long and interesting. But I was not up to passing on the duct tape wallets info at the time. I figure if the tArts want to really study this heady art form, we need to get Shelley up to Cleveland!
Robin had a cat named Frodo when she met her husband Steve. Frodo was a girl, by the way. Anyhow, there is one flaw with this husband Steve: he refuses to have a cat in their house. Something about fur, hairballs, cat puke, etc, cramping his style with his job of reviewing very expensive stereo components in their home. Sooo????
Anyhow, therefore Robin always has cat envy. (Frodo is long gone. RIP.) When we got Rita in 1994, Robin was very sad that she couldn't take her home to NYC, and I always considered Robin Rita's co-owner. Rita died a few years ago, and this time when Robin came for QN, she fell in love with Otis, who loves women. Otis slept with her every night and cuddled her all day. When it was time for Robin to go home, she about stashed him in her suitcase! The picture above is her goodbye hug with Otis, and they are both still pining away. Being a shallow male cat, Otis continues to seduce women who come here, but Robin is his favorite so far.
This picture is really special to me, because it documents Eva's first weeding lesson, I think. I had a bunch of dried up daffodils that we hadn't been able to mow around in the lawn, so there was a ton of grass growing with them, and I didn't care anymore if the daffodils got pulled up by accident. They were taking too long to dry up! So I showed Eva how to yank up the long grass leaves, and she really got into it. She mainly flung them back over her head - whole fistfuls! It was great to see a little child experiencing her first joy of weeding! That's what grannies are for! No need to thank me, Gretchen! Ha!
"Embracing Our Differences" was held this May and June at the ATI - Agricultural Technical Institute (of OSU) in Wooster, as an art statement to celebrate diversity in our culture. Thirty nine billoards were displayed on the large campus front lawn, with art juried from hundreds of submissions from school and college students, as well as from nonstudents. Above is my billboard of "Balance and Harmony." There were three same-sized billboards in each triangular pod, 13 pods in all. They held a big opening blowout, and GEM came down to see the show on another day. Eva tore all over that big open field of super thick grass, throwing herself down on the soft grass over and over. We just watched her and laughed at her joy! They talk about doing the Diversity thing again, and I hope they do.
Becky Hancock is a truly delightful and wonderful person to know. She owns St Theresa's Textile Trove, or at least she does so far. She's selling it to one of her employees right now, I think. But Becky and her sister Terrie started the store many years ago in downtown Cincinnati, and Becky's been the sole owner for many years now.
Every year Becky drags over half the store and another store worker or two up to Columbus for the two weeks of QSDS, and she vends at other places as well. Her booth is more like an entire store, full of super exotic fabrics from around the world, the biggest selection you can imagine of beads and other adornments, also from all over creation, and some exciting tools like the BeaDazzler. Becky donates most of the raffle prizes given out at the end of each five day session of QSDS at the banquet. Becky is hard working, honest, kind, and fun. She can tell the best jokes, too. When she's not sitting at her table writing up receipts for delighted customers, she's making stuff to sell or doing paperwork.
When I taught at QSDS this year, quite unexpectedly, to sub for Rosalie Dace's classes in Color and Design, I got to spend some time talking with Becky, like usual. I think her grounded calm and kindness remind me a lot of my mother.
This is the piece I made in my off time, after the day's teaching chores were done, while I was at QSDS this year. I knew I wanted to make a piece to honor Becky, but it turned itself into a teapot, by how the arms went, when I cut fabrics to make them. It just suddenly had a handle and a spout. I put Becky's hair into the little springy ponytail, or whatever you call hair that sticks up into a tiny spray, held with a tiny hairholder. And I included what I could remember of the face on "Carmen Naranja," Becky's own art piece she made in a two day class she took from me at QSDS years ago. Of course, this involved writing out the knock-knock joke Tully had told her over and over and over. The one about Banana. This was my first time to work with applique to make my images in a long time, and I enjoyed it very much. Becky now owns this piece, in trade for fabrics. Yea!
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Susan Shie and James Acord
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