Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meeting Susan Shie--Quilts and the Written Word!

Some of the other quilts I got to say hello to at the Birmingham Quilt Festival were the works of Susan Shie, a lifelong sewer who has been making unique and often whimsical painted quilts since 1980.

You need a lot of TIME to see Susan’s quilts--she describes her art as “personal diary work,” and she fills in everything she paints with detailed spontaneous handwritten diary entries that record whatever she is thinking and feeling at the time.

As you are reading the words, the imagery in the quilts become less the focus and you find yourself turning your head side-ways to see just what she has written.

Insightful and witty, her words struck a chord with me and it was wonderful to see the woman “behind the quilt” through the words she recorded “upon the quilt” using air brush techniques.


Susan’s work on the walls!

The way the Birmingham festival is set up, each featured artist gets their own “gallery” space, like a room itself within the big confines of the convention center.  This was wonderful as it cut down the noise from wide open spaces, and allowed people to reflect a bit more upon the quilts, and even talk to the artist if she was available.  The galleries were a respit from the chaos of the show.


I found the colors very soothing!  

But you have to get up close to read the words!


Kat Soup


Close up of detail.  Get REALLY close…she has written and written and written in here…

I love the fish that says PEACE NOW!


Nelson Mandela, Pope Francis




Erzulte Quilta!

Notice the Q is a rotary cutter!  Sometimes you just have to put the rotary cutter down, “Get into that bedroom and snuggle up to your sweetie – do some serious spooning!”  Words of wisdom to those of us who spend more time petting the fabric than we spend hugging our loved ones.

I wish I could have spent more time reading Susan’s quilts.  I would have needed DAYS!  I absolutely loved them.

I’ll go back to my triangles, squares, strips, strings and my traditional patchwork, but these quilts will stick with me as Quilt Art that SAYS SOMETHING. That MEANS SOMETHING  about our times, our trials, our journey, and the life and and musings of the quilter who records it all --- Susan Shie.

You can find more on Susan’s amazing work on her website HERE.

I’m off to Quilt Villa this morning – just as soon as the post office opens and I can drop some stuff off on my way.  I don’t have a time I NEED to be there, so as soon as everything is done here…I’ll go. 

And I’ll sew!  And I’ll get everything ready for a Girlfriend Retreat this coming Saturday!

Have an awesome Tuesday, Everyone!

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  1. How lucky you got to see Susan Shie's quilts up close. I wonder if anyone's been able to read an entire quilt! Have a fun, relaxing time at the cabin.

  2. How are Susan's thoughts and words written on the quilts.

  3. Amazing how she journaled on her quilts. Were some a Memorial for her pets like the Mandela one? Sounds like a Busy time preparing for the girls to come to Quiltvilla.
    Don't work too hard.

  4. Do you have any spare room at Quiltvilla, I would love to join you. LOL? Have a great time.

  5. I've seen Susan's work in person. It is truly unique and all the little words are amazing to read. She is a one of a kind artest.

  6. I went to a multi-day quilt camp at Susan's house many years ago - back when she was still doing a lot of applique. I loved seeing all of her quilts and other art and getting a chance to meet the pets that appeared in her work.

  7. Truly an artist. Isn't it wonderful how some folks can imagine these such original type pieces and make them!!!!
    Smiles, JulieinTN

  8. Thanks for introducing her to us, I have not heard of this gal. Her quilts look amazing--I love words almost as much as quilts, what a great combo!

  9. Thanks for taking such close-up photos! I didn't realize at first that there were those lines of tiny cursive writing. Though it's not the way that I choose to work, I really admire her work.


  10. It has been years since I saw Susan Shie's quilts on line. Had to be a great overwhelming experience to see see a gallery of them. Would love to see at least one in person. Thank you so much for being such a sharing lady.

  11. How fascinating! I did not know about Susan Shie's guilts! Although I appreciate that you shared pictures of them now I would like to really see and read them! Thanks,
    Penny in So CAL.

  12. well I spent 3 days at the show and see I missed another display, it will have to be a 4 day visit next year and hopefully I will see everything, such a shame to have missed this display

  13. Had a close look at her quilts, and a nice talk with Susan herself. A pity that the lecture she gave (in Birmingham on Sunday at 12.30) on her art left so many places unsold, she really has to say something.. Would love to meet her again =^}
    Love from Witmarsum, Friesland,


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