Susan Shie comments comments:
Because of making this piece, I will now think of growing Peace when I plant my seeds and starts, mulch and water the garden, and endlessly pull weeds!
My garden grows way more weeds than I wish it did, but I know that getting out there and connecting to the Earth is so good for me. Pulling weeds is a healing process, and a joy, if you can appreciate the beauty of the weeds themselves. And remember that your nurturing weed pulling is making the plants you want to grow that much stronger and more lovely. Maybe it’s a little like the hunters: the real point is just being out in nature. (OK, SOME hunters….)
When I began this piece in 2003, it was about our sweet old cat Meeper, who was born in 1988, and about the garden being overrun with weeds…again, and about the power out that had shut down so much of the northeast. As I went back to add a lot more to the quilt in 2006, the issues of gardening reminded me a lot more of my thoughts about war and peace, weeding out negative energy, working faithfully to make the garden/world a good place to be. Being diligent in working for peace. Preparing and mulching the soil to give it strength, pulling weeds to make room for the plants I want to grow, mothering the seeds and starts with gentleness, caring for the mature plants – all metaphors for making the Earth peaceful and balanced, healthy for children and other living things.
One of the things I added in 2006 was the patch with a peace symbol on it, making this quilt become #4 in my Peace Cozy series, I made the first part of this piece in 2003 and 2004, and added to it significantly in 2006. Its former title was “Weeds and Power Outs,” and I showed it once, at Friends Fabric Art, during the Lowell Quilt Festival in August, 2004. Then it sat for a year and a half. I changed the piece a lot, to make it large enough for entering the Quilting Arts Magazine calendar contest for the 2007 calendar. It had to have 1.5 more inches of width to be a square for the rules of the contest, and I liked the challenge of both adding on and working back into the original piece, which had some places where I could write and draw more on it.
The new title reflects more writing added to the original painted part, as well as addition of the right side panel, which expands the piece and adds more diary, and the Peace Cozy (peace symbol on light yellow patch, lower right side.) More beads were also added in 2006, along with a strip of rag rug blue fabric along the bottom of the piece.
The original piece’s diary was about our oldest cat Meeper, who will turn 18 in June, 2006, and about weeds that had gotten out of hand in my garden, and about the big power out on August 14, 2003, when much of the northeast was affected by what turned out to be an electrical problem right here in Ohio. My daughter and her husband in their new house in Cleveland and my friend Robin in NYC were all without power until the next day. A complete blackout in Cleveland!
When I added to this piece in Feb, 2006, I wrote and made peace symbols in the spots on the original piece that were blank enough to add more to. It turned out that there were plenty of places to add thoughts about ending the war in Iraq, which began in 2003, didn’t it?????? Or was it longer ago? It seems to have been going on longer…
I also added a full length panel of more writing on the right side, integrating it with the first part of the piece by painting more into the original and having that same paint go over into the addition. I used my airpen to write on both pieces, and added a big piece of rolled up blue fabric, stitched along the bottom of both panels, reminiscent of my mother’s rag rug making.
I hadn’t been using beads much at all in 2006, because my fingertips had gone numb, but I really enjoyed adding a lot of blue beads to this piece, and spelling out Peace Garden along the top in baby alphabet beads. I started using what I now call Peace Cozies, when I had to cover something in my quilt “Wilma (Peace Voodoo)” in 2005. I had made 29 little peace symbols on one piece of fabric I’d painted light yellow, so I could pick the best one to use on Wilma, that would not look like a patch.
I then had 28 more, spare Peace Cozies, the peace symbols on yellow fabric, and decided to add one to each of the next 28 quilts I’d be making. “Peace Garden” is the fourth one, after “Wilma,” “Year of the Dog,” and “The Compost Pot / Death." The deal is that I have to not plan where the Peace Cozy will go on the piece I'm making. Then, when it's all done, I decide where it goes and sew it on. It has to have a good reason for the location I pick, beyond just looking good there and not covering up my writing!
After I used up all the 29 original Peace Cozies on the yellow cloth, I made 67 more, on a light green cloth. When these are all used up, I'm sure I'll start a third-color series of Peace Cozies. It works for me. And now, in 2013, I'm on the 55th artwork with a Peace Cozy on it. It's "Spot the Station: 6 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot."