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The Kitchen Tarot by Susan Shie
The Kitchen Tarot

A 22 card deck by Susan Shie

Devil tarot card
The Devil card
from the Rider-Waite tarot deck



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More quilts by Susan Shie

The Power out/Devil by Susan Shie

Detail of The Power Out by usan Shie

Susan Shie explains The Power Out:

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. Part of what the Devil card stands for is our fears and darkness. I was originally going to have this card be the Fondue Pot, focusing on the decadence of the Devil, and have us all being really self indulgent, dipping yummy morsels into gooey and tasty chocolate or cheesy fondue. I made drawings of us all floating dreamily over a big fondue pot. Then the long four day power out hit here June 22 to 26, and I was unable to start the piece, because my studio was too dark, and I couldn't run either the airbrush or the airpen. Gradually I got to thinking about the Prince of DARKNESS and how what I really wanted to illustrate was this big blackout!

Finally I was able to start it, after the power out was over and a bunch of computer problems had been handled enough to let me get back into my studio. I'd made a bunch of little sketches for this piece, but didn't like any of them, as usual, and as usual, the actual painting on the huge piece of fabric came out much easier when I had lots of elbow room to flow in! I may be better off when I don't sketch at all before I paint, which used to be how I worked all the time! Think I'll go back to that, except for the issue that I really do love to draw on paper, too. I just won't allow myself to look at sketches when I paint. No getting analytical!

In this image the refrigerator is on the devil's head, and so it's really melting fast! All the ice bags in the fridge are leaking water, which I'm mopping up. (This really happened, me taking bags of ice and ice melt to the sink, over and over, day after day, to prevent the leaky fridge from happening, but the freezer in the basement actually did leak all over the floor.)

Down below are our two computers Marie and Sally and our external hard drive, Mona, all sitting in a box, not accessible because of the blackout. Beside me are me and my friend Renie, carrying a huge bag of ice, and then the electric company truck and a giant cherry picker, with a man in the bucket at the top, working on our patio owl lights, which are dark...well, they weren't the cause of the power out, but they were dark all that time! And we're used to turning them on every night, all 35 of them! Their darkness made me sad, whereas their usual bright cheerfulness each night makes me really happy!

Floyd's standing around, watching the power company guys working, and Marigold and Hattie, our pets, are just hanging out. Only our cat Evil Tulip is hanging out with the Devil, since they're both so bad. Jimmy and Gretchen and Eva are in my skirt, calling me on the phone, during the power out.

Olga, my next door neighbor, is at the top left on the side. And my little blue cell phone got recharged at a house down the street, which I named the St Quilta Chapel, when it was being built. So that's in my ponytail. All of us neighbors did a lot more interacting during the power out.

After I painted all the forms, I started to airpen the diary. It was about a week after the power out when I was able to write about it, but still, I filled the whole background of the piece with power out stories. Then I started to work on the writing within the forms. This was very current writing, not week-old stuff, and it turned political pretty fast. Not only did I see Bush's whole way of running the country as a metaphor of the power out, but then Jane Mayer wrote her big expose article about David Addington, in the New Yorker. Then Kenneth Lay died, the King of Power Outs. And then there was the July 2 presidential election in Mexico, in which it looks like a lot of election hanky panky went on ... !

Then I got a call from my friend Lois Flinn's daughter today (July 19), telling me that Lois died Friday, after her very many years of fighting cancer. Another power out for me, since I hadn't called her, fearing that I'd call and they'd tell me she was dead, and I'd upset the family. I wish I had called her, as Lois was magnificent, so calm, so kind, and so on top of everything. I had taught for her at the Mansfield Art Center many times, and Jimmy and I really like her and her family, husband Mac, children Sarah and Barclay. I feel powerless to do anything but contact Lois in my heart, but I wish I'd been able to go help take care of her. Mansfield is pretty far from Wooster, and since I don't drive, it didn't happen, my wished for visits. If we'd have lived near each other, Lois and I woulda hung out a lot, I think.

I've had a lot of carpal tunnel pain during the making of this piece. I guess you have to let your hands sit idle, to really recover from overuse, but I love the process of making my art quilts like I do now. I think I'm addicted to making big, very detailed diary quilts. very serious social commentary.

This piece is dedicated to Lois Flinn, and the story about that is on the back of the quilt, since I only found out about her death this morning, when all the writing that would fit on the front was done already. She was almost 60.

Oh, and the ninth Peace Cozy? Can you find it? It's on my mop on the piece. I am trying to mop up war with peace. I always wait til the piece is all done, and then give myself the challenge to find a place to put that tiny peace symbol patch, somewhere that it won't block anything else, and will make sense in its placement. So there it is.

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