The Radical Quilt | The Reader's Guide Feature | Chicago Reader

The Radical Quilt 

Turtle Moon Comes to Northbrook

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Susan Shie learned how to sew in home ec and 4-H classes, as well as at her mother's knee. She grew up making perfect little Barbie-doll clothes and graduated to pleated drapes and tailored leather coats. Then she became an art student, dreamed up the Lucky School of Quilting Techniques, and broke out of the box. The Lucky School is based on slapping together sandwiches of to-die-for fabric (with batting in the middle); stitching their edges with chunky, 12-strand ropes of multicolored embroidery floss; embellishing them with beads, paint, and found objects; and then piecing them into quilts. All the fat stitches and big, nasty knots show proudly through on the reverse side. "Stitches are marks made with a needle and will have more energy and movement when irregular," Shie writes on the Web site for her Turtle Moon Studios (, based in Wooster, Ohio. "Whenever you see quilts with the overcast edges and big stitches that go through to the back, with lots of knots, I taught the maker." She uses stitches with names like "the stem," "the ladder," and "the chicken"--anything "big, irregular, artsy, and fun, not tight and perfectly boring"--to make quilts that are cartoonish, idiosyncratic pieces of art. Shie and James Acord, her husband and partner, will lecture on "Outsider Art Quilts" at a meeting of the North Suburban NeedleArts Guild at 9:30 AM Tuesday, September 5. A two-day workshop on "Mixed Media Diary Quilts" will follow on September 6 and 7. Admission to the lecture is $3, the workshop fee is $70. Both are at the Village Presbyterian Church, 1300 Shermer in Northbrook. Call 847-221-5278 for more information.

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