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Susan Shie
Wooster, Ohio

Materials: White kona cotton cloth, fabric paint. Machine sewing thread and Artfabrik's hand dyed perle cotton thread, Nature-fil bamboo-cotton quilt batting, one Green Temple Buddha Boy bead.
Techniques: Whole cloth painting. Freehand black line drawing and small, black writing made with’s basic Airpen and Jacquard Textile Colors fabric paint. Colors painted with hand brush and Jacquard Textile Colors paints. Mostly machine sewn.
20 x 19.5 inches (h x w)


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Healing Songs for the Earth #6 by Susan Shie

Susan Shie comments:

This piece was part of eight paintings of varied sizes I made in March, 2011, in a series called "Healing Songs for the Earth." They all had pretty much the same feel to them, with Buddha Girls and palm trees, a blue and green color theme, and lots of thoughts on how to heal the Earth.

In May, 2011, I used this piece to document how I quilt my paintings, in photos, but then I never quite finished it. Never put a label on the back or sewed on a way to hang it on the wall. It just sat in a pile of folded-up, unfinished works in my studio.

Then last night, George Zimmerman was acquitted in the Trayvon Martin murder trial, and I went into a sad and frustrated mood. I feel the terrible pain of our races being anything but "post racial," and today I agonized over how to express my feelings in my artmaking. I really wanted to rise above my resentments, but wasn't getting very far with that.

I had finished a large art quilt, "Spot the Station," and had been making small drawings for a Earth Healing series I've been putting on my Etsy store. So I didn't have anything going on, that I could just pick up and work on. In my bad mood, I was stuck. I went down to my studio and decided to root around in my piles of works - demos from classes and otherwise unfinished stuff.

And the first piece I opened up to look at was this one, "Healing Songs for the Earth #6." As I started to read the messages I'd written on it over two years ago, I knew right away that this was the piece I needed to work on today, to add to, to bring it up to this situation, but this was it!

I went over some of the writing, to darken it, to make it more interesting visually, but more importantly, I found room to add just a few things, like to "Sing Miracles into Being Today," I added "for Trayvon Martin and his killer." But almost all of the writing was already there. The thing is, this piece is ALL about how we are all One, connected to those we love and those we hate, all the same. How we must pull together to heal ourselves and our Earth, and how we must truly love each other.

There are four bowls sitting in front of the guitar playing Buddha Girl here. They say, "Food for those you love ... Food for those you don't know ... Food for those you fear ... and ... Food for those you hate." The 'food' is our love, our trust, our caring. On the big Sun in the sky, I'd written: "The Sun shines equally on all beings, bringing us all the same great blessings of the miracle of life. May we give equal love to every being." That's the part I read, when I unfolded this piece today, and it's perfect for what I needed to hear.

I know that cosmic stuff, but my conscious self always has to have its strong emotional reactions, before I get around to my core belief stuff. Things written all over this piece are the things I need to be reminded up right now. Universal truths about our Oneness, that came into my head in March, 2011, and that stayed on this piece and the other pieces in this series, waiting for me to need to really read them back to myself.

There are two little pot pies in this piece. One says "Kindness and Joy," and the other says "Safety for all people everywhere." That's what I wish for everyone of all races from now on.

There's a big bowl on the right side of this piece, right under the "Heal us all and the Earth" palm tree. The bowl has written on it "Soup of Unconditional Compassion. Open your heart to start cooking this old fashioned soup for healing the Earth." Inside the bowl, on the Soup itself, I wrote "You can't buy this soup, but you can be given it by someone who knows how to make it. And once you have this recipe and know how to use it, you can give it to others you love ... or hate."

There's a little house in the bottom right corner here, and on it, I'd written: "The House of Love is big enough to hold us all, always. Keep your door open in healing." Tonight, when I get sad or angry or ashamed of my race, for how we treat other races, I will remind myself to keep my door open for healing.

My friend Sherry says racism is all about fear and ignorance. I think those people don't understand that all of us are One, little parts of God-dess, or whatever you want to call that gigantic Love. So I will work now to send love to those people, as well as tolerance, so I can stand them, and they can stand me and all the people of all the beautiful colors of humanity.

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