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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My two day class at QSDS this year was about the formal rules of working with color. Rosalie Dace was to teach it and the next class I taught for her, but she had unexpected surgery instead of coming from her home in Durban, S Africa, to teach here. I volunteered to teach, with three days to prepare for teaching. My students were very wonderful to me, and I think we all worked hard and learned a lot together. The purpose of these classes was to give an artist who didn't already have formal art training learn to use color and design as tools to make better work. I'm normally not thinking about formal stuff as I teach or make my own work, but all that is embedded in me, from my many years of formal classes. So I dusted it all off, talked a lot with Rosalie about how she'd intended the classes to go, and followed her exercises, sort of channeling her. Rosalie is at home, slowly healing from her surgery and being very upbeat about it all.
The five day class is so much more in depth for everyone involved, and like usual, I got to know my 5 day students much better - especially the two who took both sessions I taught. This group worked on the formal principles of design all week, translating them into fabric work. This picture was taken on Aqua Day, when the QSDS staff asked everyone to wear this year's QSDS color, just for fun. They said MY class won the best use of the color aqua prize!
If you've never gone to QSDS - Quilt Surface Design Symposium - you might consider it, if you're an art quilter or any sort of fiber artist. Students and teachers come from all over the world, and everyone is very kind and sharing. Beginners, advanced students, staff, and faculty all share time together without hierarchial attitudes. Everyone works hard and plays hard, and we all learn a lot. My friend Andi Stern had a private studio this time, instead of taking a class or vending, and she got a lot accomplished in her five days there. There are lectures, demonstrations, and you can even get a massage or Reiki treatment! I'll be teaching two sessions at QSDS next year, June 21 and 22, June 23 - 27, with my own class themes this time: Diary quilt paintings.
My friend Peach tArt, aka Susanne Gregg, is not a quilt artist, since her main medium is thread, not fabric. Above is a detail of her "Lemonade Stand" in progress. It's made entirely of thread, using a sewing machine. What's so exciting, besides the fact that the finished work is composed of multiple layers of thread paintings suspsended in air (and that it's beautiful) is that Peach came up with the process herself, and no one else does it. If they knew how, I don't think they could stand all the very hard work it take anyhow, and even more, I doubt that they could work this realisitically out in the middle of nowhere like she does. She's building up a series of works she calls "Fiber Glass," in which each piece is about a different kind of glassware, set in an overlapping stillife.
Here's a detail of Susanne Gregg's "Canning Day," as it hangs in "Farm Art - From Plate to Palette," an exhibition at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Seiberling Gallery through August 26. The gallery is near Peninsula, Ohio, this Summer, where it won one of only two awards. The large installation is inside a plexiglass box made especially to keep this piece in perfect suspension in space. I think some viewers assume it's created by sewing on top of purchased batting panels. Nope. Al thread. Don't try to figure it out. Just be awed like the rest of us, and admire its beauty and its amazing light and shadow pattern plays. The only thing solid about Gregg's new work is her very grounded sense of composition. Otherwise, her newly invented processes truly echo the very qualities of the glass she represents with her threadwork. We Textile tArts went to see the show in late June, after an overnight at the park's hostel, where we held our monthly meeting.
When we found out that Peach's art had been accepted into the "Farm Art" show in the park, she and Cherry Bomb scouted out the possibilities for a group sleepover in a facility there. The web site led to the Stanford Hostel, and Ms Bomb set up our reservations for seven tArts. Here are CB and Quatty, happy to have found the hostel, enjoying nice, cool weather there, as we all gathered in and registered. We shared the hostel that night with a Girl Scouts group from Columbus, and a few travelers. We held our Textile tArts meeting that night in the diningroom, doing our show and tell and discussing our group show for next Spring. Then we headed for our bedroom, which had three sets of bunkbeds and one cot for the seven of us. There's a full kitchen in the hostel, but this time we ate out in Peninsula for our meals. If we go back, I bet we make some meals, since we saw how well equipt the kitchen is. After a second show and tell in the morning, we headed out to see Peach's show, and then had brunch in town, before we all went home. What a good and tArty time we had!
I had begun my "Olama" painting on June 8, the day I went to QSDS to teach for Rosalie, by creating its airbrush painting as Ohio TV video documentarians filmed my process. I still have to contact them, to see if I can get a copy of their film, but I assume that a little bit of it will end up in the documentary they were making about the "Give and Take" exhibition at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus, this Spring and Summer. At QSDS I wasn't able to work on this piece, because I was needing all my spare time to figure out what to do next in these classes I wasn't used to teaching. So it was after I got home from QSDS that I was able to resume work on it, which meant I did the rest of the airpen writing, made the backing fabric, sandwiched it with the painting and batting, and machine sewed it. After that I wrote some more with airpen around the border, and had a couple more things to write about on the back. Just ran out of room!
Looking at the two paintings above, with almost no writing on the first, and all the writing on this one, you can see how much the airpen writing darkens the piece. That's why I use such pastel colors anymore. If I worked with the bright colors I used to, the dense, overall writing would make the piece dark and gloomy. Besides, I used to always wish I'd stayed lighter in my palette, when I'd be heatsetting my work from the back side, where the paint would have a softer look. My writing woulda been backwards, or I might have just turned a few paintings over!
In my gallery you can read all the explanation of "Olama," along with its stats. It's only 57"h x 51.5"w, which seems tiny after those giant Moon and Sun quilts!
In this detail shot of "Olama" you see the Peace Pie, which actually was a tiny begging bowl when I first drew the image. After drawing a pie up in the sky, I wished I'd made the men holding a big pie, so I decided to just add more lines over the bowl, to draw the pie. I knew that painting it in would hide the earlier lines well enough, and it worked. I couldn't resist putting my Peace Cozy #16 right in the middle of the eye on the pie! It's about exact center of the quilt, and this placement seemed almost too obvious, but I couldn't find a better place to put the cozy. Sometimes the obvious answer is still the right one!
Have you seen my daughter Gretchen lately? I love her so much! She's such a hard working girl, devoting herself to that art museum of hers and to her little family. After I saw the movie Waitress with my cousins, they told me the star looks like Gretchen, and I'd been thinking that, too. She's bright and beautiful, and I wish I could give her about five more hours of sleep every night! And while I was so busy coming up with gifts for her, I'd give her and Mike and Eva a lovely house in our neighborhood in Wooster! When Jimmy and I take our walks, I see houses I think would be perfect for GEM! Some within a block of us! Since they don't really want to move to Wooster, they could just live here parttime! I love you, Ruthie.
This year I made five paintings on pillowcases for wedding gifts. This is my crazy idea that I started when Gretchen and Mike got married in October, 2000, thinking it up that morning! For theirs I had to build the pillowcase after we used the painting on their getaway car, but since then I've always started with a new, white pillowcase. I put as much of the right outfits as I can on the bride and groom, the date, time, place, etc. All in airbrush. I give them the painting and a roll of masking tape and instruct them to put the painting on the OUTSIDE of the back window of the getaway car, so it can be seen well. You put masking tape all around the edge of the pillowcase, so the wind can't get under it and pull it off. The one in the picture above is for Kendra and her new husband Mike, who got married in Loudonville, Ohio on our anniversary this year. Kendra's mother is our freind Vikki who owns the Native American craft shop Creative Outlet in Loudonville and is a jeweler. I enjoy making these wedding gifts, but am sure I don't want people to hire me to make them for other weddings. Then I would stew about whether or not the bride and groom look enough like them in a commission! No, if you want one, make your own! :)
Mike and Jimmy both love their hats. When we got up to visit them the last time this summer, GEM were all wearing straw hats, or maybe Gretchen and Eva were sharing this little Texas Lone Star hat Gretchen got once, when she attended a museum conference in Houston. I got a bunch of shots of these three sitting there on the couch together. I love to take family pix! Oh oh! Eva's Baby doesn't have a hat for that bald little head of hers! And where's Cricket? I just KNOW she doesn't have a hat either! Regardless, I love this picture of a happy little girl and her Daddy and PaPaw. Oh, now she's starting to experiment in calling Jimmy Poppy, and no one knows where she got that, but we all like it.
Here come those crazy tArts again! This time we were all there but for Rhubarb, who was still traipsing around Alaska! No wait! Quatty was sick and Raspberry had to go... I can't keep track of them all, and we are only nine in total! We had had our July meeting that day at CoCo's house in Parma, along with a lovely carry-in meal. Then we all drove way over to the East Side of Cleveland, to the Pentagon Gallery for Key Lime (Jill Milenski's) show. Limey is between Cherry Bomb and Peach Pi here, with CoCo, Praline, and me (Apple or Pomme.) Lime's quilts are on the wall behind us. She's working with the theme of old fashioned childhood games and passtimes, using vintage fabrics and techniques to help bring out the feeling of nostalgia.
Our dear tArt Quatty, Gayle Pritchard, turned 50 this May, and her sister-in-law Marni hired me to make her a little painting. This is what I ended up making, "Queen Quatty," which is about 22"h x 18.5"w. I quilted the 20" x 16" painting, as my own birthday and thank you present to Gayle.
On July 13 a bunch of adventurous WAGE members (WAGE is Wayne Artists Group Effort) took to the road and attended a WAGE meeting at Joan Staufer's house down in Coshocton County. We had a lovely picnic on her sprawling farmhouse lawn and held our meeting in her big studio in one of her barns. Above Betty Curren holds up Joan's painting "Deer Nation," while Joan, sitting here in front, tells us about it. It's for our WAGE group show in January, called "Ancient Echoes," the theme the group chose together for our next all-media show at Wayne Center for the Arts, January 18 to February 28, 2008. Joan comes up to WAGE meetings every month, making that hour-long drive, so it was good for some of us to go down to her place and see what she goes through to get to WAGE. Her farm is so peaceful!
the weather was perfect evening for the Snyder Picnic, formerly known as the Snyder Ice Cream Supper, July 21, at Carolyn and Elmer's farm near Marshallville, Ohio. Here are my brother Jimmy, our Great Aunt Alta (Mom's aunt), our Uncles Lester and Floyd (two of Mom's brothers), cousin Mary Jo (Aunt Alta's daughter), me, and cousin Linda (Mom's younger sister Hazel's daughter) back by the cornfield. Linda and her friend Colleen come once a year to visit us in Ohio from Pamona, CA. It was cold enough for jackets that evening, even with the sun out! Five generations, 63 relatives, coming from several states and Venezuela made up the gathering, the biggest we've had as long as anyone can remember. The farm house here is the same 1914 Sears Modern Home kit house that GEM's house is up in Lakewood!
Uncle Charlie and his son, my cousin Tom, came up from Houston, bringing Tom's wife Carolyn, her mother Siglinde, and Tom and Carolyn's daughter Lauren. We hardly ever get to see them, so this was great. Uncle Charlie married my Aunt Louise, having met in Jordon in the early 60s, both working for the US government. Louise was Mom's baby sister. At the right, in the background here is the other Carolyn, my cousin who owns this dairy farm with her husband Elmer.
Here's Eva on the left, playing with rocks in the driveway at the Snyder Picnic, with her second cousin Olivia, my sister Debi's granddaughter, who's seven months younger than Eva. Debi and John's son Matt and his wife Amber are Olivia's parents. These little girls both have the rock fetish, so they were able to do a lot more than chase each other and scream those two-year-old screams that somehow dissolve your brain cells. Well, they did a lot of that BEFORE they got tired and had to squat and play with rocks. They also got to see chickens, goats, kitties, and lots and lots of cows. LOTS OF COWS!
Linda and Colleen spent a whole week with us, staying at our place, and Linda spent a lot of this vacation time doing the final computer edits on her graduate thesis paper, which was due. After all her hard work, we decided to throw her a little Snyder Cousins Thesis Blowout. So Colleen made her a lovely coconut cake, and we found a tiny flask of silly-named booze to share (one shot each, very low alcohol), and made her a card. Here, from left, are Margo, me, Debi, Linda, Colleen, Susie, and in back, Ellen. There are a lot more girl cousins in the family, too, so maybe next time we'll plan farther ahead and have them all come, when somebody works that hard to get a degree!
Shifting over to Jimmy's side of the family, here are wild nnd crazy kids at a picnic at Mama Wanda's house this last week. Karlie, hugged in the middle by Trevor, turned 8 on July 30. Trevor and his sister Jessie are Paula's kids, and Karlie, of Bowling Owlies Champion fame, is Freddie and Jackie's daughter, Jimmy's niece. (Paula is dating Jimmy's brother Gary.)
This picnic was to celebrate cousin Becky, Uncle Gene, and Aunt Mae's visit. Here by the house, (waiting for the bus?) are Becky (Jimmy's cousin from San Francisco), Mama Wanda, Aunt Mae (Wanda's little sister) from Southern Illinois, and Jackie (Freddie's wife.)
Last famly picture of this diary! Some of my favorites in Jimmy's family! Three generations of girlies! Lisa, her daughter Tazia, and Lisa's mom (Tazia's grandma) Karen, Jimmy's sister. Lisa and Tazia now live in Columbus, so we don't see them as much as we'd like, and it's a real treat when they come visit. We were at Karlie's birthday party when I took this picture. You know: the Monkey themed party, with a genuine Monkey piñata. Honest! A MONKEY PINATA! Top that!
This is my "Kitchen Blessings #1" art quilt, which I made for the SAQA benefit reverse auction. See it online. It went up for sale today and sold in a few hours! Wow! I was afraid it wouldn't even get bidded on, since it was in the last group of quilts to be put up for sale.
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Turtle Moon Studios
Susan Shie and James Acord
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