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THE BLENDER/TEMPERANCE: Card #14 in The Kitchen Tarot
Susan Shie
Wooster, Ohio

Wholecloth painting on fabric. Beginning design and colors airbrushed on, then airpen drawing and writing with fabric paint. Machine crazy grid quilted. One row of hand sewing inside edge of border. One Green Temple Buddha Boy bead. One Peace Cozy appliqué.
67 x 68 inches (h x w)

The Kitchen Tarot by Susan Shie
The Kitchen Tarot

A 22 card deck by Susan Shie

Temperance tarot card
Temperance card
from the Rider-Waite tarot deck



Contact Robert Shaw for more information or to purchase

More quilts by Susan Shie

The Blender/Temperance by Susan ShieDetail of The BLender/Temperancd by Susan Shie

Susan Shie talks about The Bender/Temperance:

In my Kitchen Tarot series, I have to figure out what kitchen object will coincide with the title of the card in the traditional Tarot decks. Temperance is all about putting opposites or extremes together and making them harmonize and work well. I thought of the egg beater, because it's more old fashioned, but I liked the actual WORD Blender better for this card, because Temperance really does blend things.

I wanted also to make this piece be about the women in my family, and I think that women in general are brought up to be blenders, peace makers, and jugglers of opposite extremes. So I decided this was the perfect thing to do: to make this piece be both the Temperance Card quilt and the Women in My Family piece.

When I create my composition, I'm using an airbrush or other tool to work right on the blank surface, to make the initial images, committing to whatever comes out the first time and using it as is. The two cats came out pretty big, but I liked them and decided they could stay. They're the last two cats in our former cat herd, and they're both girls. The tiny cat with wings is our sweetheart old girl cat Meeper, who died last month. Marigold and Evil Tulip are all that's left, along with our girl dog, Hattie, who's along the bottom of this piece, very tiny here, though she's way bigger than the cats!

I'm the one holding up the blender itself, and my daughter Gretchen and my mother Marie (St Q) are at my sides. Jimmy's in my heart, and Eva's in a little dollhouse on my lap, holding the pink elephant rattle. As with all my work lately, everyone has both a Third Eye and a Chin Eye (the symbol I made up to represent communicating our intuitive thoughts out to others.)

I drew some of my Peace Roses into the original picture, and at the very end, after all the airpen diary writing was done, I put the piece back up on the wall and airbrushed in more roses, this time as a more faded version, in the dresses, etc. They're more like flowers in the writing area of some fancy stationary, and you can read through them.

I was reading the book The Bookseller of Kabul on tape, while I was stitching on this quilt. You can't write and listen to books on tape at the same time ­ or do any other kind of heavy thinking. But you can listen to books and do easy things like sewing. Now that I'm doing all this "Crazy Grid" machine sewing, I can just zone out a lot, while I read my book on tape. I'd been wanting to read this book, because I know so little about Muslim culture. It's an excellent book, written by a young Norwegian woman who lived with this Afghani family, after the Taliban were overthrown. Is it a movie yet??? I hope so, because I know it'll be good! I really learned a lot!

Much of the writing here is about my life: ending my nanny gig with Eva, adjusting to being home full time again, missing Gretchen and Eva and Mike, and so on. My mother's 89th birthday would have been on May 8. Bush did some outrageous stuff, as usual during the making of my quilts, and I wrote down some thoughts on those events. Still terrible wars going on. I wrote about Neil Young's new album Living with War, which I've only heard little parts of, so far. And I would have written about Colbert's press club dinner speech, but didn't know about it til after this piece was done, since the press ignored it.

Back in my own life, I had to decide, when this quilt was all done, where I would put the #8 Peace Cozy in my Peace Cozy series, which began with Wilma last year. I want to have to figure out where it goes, not plan it ahead. Just like how I don't plan out any of the rest of the quilt, including what will be the images and what I will write. I just love to let it out right then and there. So there's literally NO ROOM left to sew the little fabric piece, about an inch and a half across, without covering up something else.

This time I chose to put it over the peace symbol that was already on Gretchen's heart. I wanted to send her peace. So that's where you'll find it. There are 21 Peace Cozies yet to go, on 21 more Outsider Art Quilts of mine.

Please pray for Peace, vote for Peace, write to your legislators about Peace. Do something! Even if it's just trying to convince one other person that we need to get out of Iraq and stay out of wars. We can use all those wonderful soldiers' marvelous energy to clean up and build up our own Gulf Coast, which is STILL a big mess.

That's what The Blender / Temperance energy is about: Making the world work well again. With Peace. If all women would vote for Peace representatives and laws, we would have peace. I don't know one woman who wants her children to die in or for a war.

Toward Barred Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade (detail)

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Toward Barred Island by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade (detail)

Bottom left and right: Toward Barred Island (detail) by Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade