May 2, 2018

Vividly Yours Exhibit at Creative York

In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change
I am pleased to announce that three of my art quilts are included in the exhibit, Vividly Yours, at the Creative York Gallery, York PA. The exhibit runs from May 3rd to June 16th, with an opening reception on the 3rd from 6 - 8. I will be attending, and I hope to see some of my local friends there.
In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs
 My work in the exhibit includes In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs, In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change - both from my series The River- and The Organic Landscape from The Garden series.  All work is for sale.
The Organic Landscape, by Sue Reno
The Organic Landscape
 Vividly Yours is a group exhibit showcasing available works by some of the artists that were featured in our Art In Residence: Vivid event in April – a one-night-only exhibit of works from privately-owned collections. Participating artists are: Rob Evans, Quang Ho, Carol Oldenburg, Sue Reno, Justin Ruby, Dillon Samuelson, Clifton Santiago, Andi Simpson, Adrienne Stein, Rita Whitney, and Brenda Wintermyer.

November Pawpaw, by Sue Reno
November Pawpaw

My work in the Artist in Residence event was November Pawpaw, from the private collection of artist and curator Rob Evans.

April 13, 2018

52 Ways to Look at the River - Acceptance for Art of the State

52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River
 I am thrilled to share that 52 Ways to Look at the River has been accepted for the Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2018 Exhibit. It will be at the State Museum of PA from June 24 - September 9, 2018.
52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno, detail 1
52 Ways to Look at the River, detail 1
 This is a very competitive show, with entries in five categories - craft, painting, photography and digital media, sculpture, and work on paper. This year there were 104 works chosen from a field of nearly 1,800. Once again I feel as though I have hit the lottery!
52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno, detail 2
52 Ways to Look at the River, detail 2
 This work was a self-directed project. Beginning on the 2015 summer solstice and continuing uninterrupted for a year, each week I visited the Susquehanna River somewhere along its course and took pictures. Back in the studio, I chose an image and interpreted it in a 6” x 12” fiber art panel. The panels are on a wool/rayon felt base and are primarily needlefelted with wool and silk fiber, with some added applique, and were machine and hand stitched. 
At the end of the 52 weeks, I began assembly of the panels.  I handpainted fabric and quilted it to form a background. Each panel was appliqued onto black felt and then stitched on the quilt. I added hand beadwork with glass beads and semi-precious stones.The finished piece is 72"h x 82" w. The gallery in the Museum has the scale, the room, and the lighting to display it to its full potential.
52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno, detail 3
52 Ways to Look at the River, detail 3
 As I was working, I documented the process extensively here on my blog. To review it in reverse chronological order, click the "52 Ways" header at the top, or go here.
52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno, detail 4
52 Ways to Look at the River, detail 4
 This work was a true labor of love, for the Susquehanna River and the landscape I call home, and I'm so lucky I have this opportunity to share it. The opening reception is on Sunday, June 24, and I hope I will see some of you there.
52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno, detail 5
52 Ways to Look at the River, detail 5
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

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April 8, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 18

Wet Cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 290
 I've been impatient. I could say it's because winter has been long, but winter is always long, at least perceptually, by April. More to the point it's been relentlessly cold and wet and dreary, and all the joys of spring seem delayed.
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 So I jumped on the first few outlier daffodils to bloom and attempted wet cyanotype prints with them; there was not enough sun or warmth and the results were unexciting.
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 A few days later, thankfully, there was a brief window of sunshine and temperatures hovering around 60F. In a sheltered spot by a wall the chionodoxa, glory of the snow, had started to bloom, and I picked some for printmaking.
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 I also found a few fat Dutch crocuses.
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 I used my standard treatment of a spritz of diluted pink textile paint, a spritz of diluted washing soda, and then some plain water to bring it up to a guesstimate of the right amount of moisture. I covered the arrangements with panes of glass and set them out to process.
Wet Cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 296
 The sun held all afternoon, and I had some good breakdown and movement of the chemicals. The flowers are delicate, they wither and break down fairly quickly, so a 5 hour exposure seemed about right. Also, more cold and rain was on the the way, so I pulled them all back inside. Here are the un-rinsed prints:
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Wet Cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 298

Wet Cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 299
 Those gold sparkly bits make me so happy.
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 Here are the finished prints:
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 The flowers are small and don't have a lot of presence in these photos, but in person they are lovely. They will look really good with the addition of stitching to delineate the forms.
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Wet Cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 306

 I'm particularly happy with the crocuses:
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Chiondoxa and crocuses are classified as ephemeral flowers, they go through the above-ground portion of their life cycle quickly, when there's less competition for sunlight, then go dormant. I feel like "ephemeral" is a good descriptor for these images.
Wet Cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 308
So, I have successfully scratched the wet cyan printing itch for the moment. More cold and wet weather is in the forecast, but at some point it will break loose and things will be bursting forth all at once. I will spend my time treating more fabric in anticipation.

If you are new here, welcome! I've been detailing and documenting my experiments with wet cyanotype in great detail; you can read it in reverse chronological order by clicking the Wet Cyanotype tab in the top header, or click here.

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April 4, 2018

Halcyon Days for SAQA Benefit Auction

Halcyon Days, by Sue Reno
Halcyon Days
 Here's Halcyon Days, a 12" x 12" art quilt I made specifically for the SAQA Benefit Auction that begins in September. It features one of the wet cyanotype prints I made last summer, and have blogged about extensively. The print has been heavily stitched, and I added borders made from my hand-painted fabrics. It's signed and finished on the back with a hanging sleeve.
Hosta leaf, wet cyanotype print in progress, for Halcyon Days
 Above is the hosta leaf as a print in progress on a piece of treated cotton sateen; below is the print after about 24 hours exposure, before it was rinsed.
Hosta leaf, unrinsed wet cyanotype print, for Halcyon Days
 Below is the finished and rinsed print. It's lovely as is, but one of the reasons I love what I do is how much the stitching enhances the print, adding line and texture.
Hosta leaf, wet cyanotype print, for Halcyon Days
I've been a SAQA member for many years, and have benefited from membership in numerous ways, most recently from my acceptance into the Metamorphosis exhibit. So I am happy to be able to make a contribution. I'll update in September once I have the auction dates for Halcyon Days.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

March 28, 2018

Squirrel and Locust acceptance for Metamorphosis Exhibit

 I am thrilled to announce that Squirrel and Locust has been accepted for the SAQA Exhibit, Metamorphosis. The juror is David Hornung. The exhibit will debut at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX in November, travel to the Chicago Festival in April, 2019, and further dates and venues through 2021 are TBD.
 From the prospectus, the Show Concept:
Metamorphosis generates transformative change in shape, nature or structure. Just as animals physically develop and change from birth to maturity, concepts, ideas and even the landscape of the
earth itself progress through many stages. Change may be positive, negative, frightening or enlightening. Consider physical changes, philosophical changes or personal life changes and the inevitability of decay as a process of change. Realistic, representational, and abstract work will be considered.

 SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibits are highly competitive, due to the deep and wide talent pool of its members, so I feel a bit like I've won the lottery.
That being said, I've always had a particular love for this quilt of mine--I mean, look at that bit of vintage needlework! What are those romantic squirrels doing? Contrasted with the skull print cyanotypes, it's a powerful yet accessible work, I think. I'm so glad for the opportunity to send it out into the world.

March 7, 2018

New Work - Rabbit and Maple

Rabbit and Maple, by Sue Reno
Rabbit and Maple
 I am very pleased and excited to share my latest work, Rabbit and Maple. It's the ninth art quilt in my ongoing series, Flora and Fauna. It's a large quilt by my standards, 71" high by 86" wide, so I encourage you to click through and enlarge the pictures to get a sense of the scale.
Rabbit and Maple, by Sue Reno, detail 1
Rabbit and Maple, detail 1
 The series focuses on the animals that share my environment here in Pennsylvania. Each animal is represented by its skeletal remains--usually a skull. (With Skunk and Garlic Mustard I had the luxury of the entire skeleton.) Each also includes a print of a plant I associate with the animal, and some vintage needlework.
Rabbit and Maple, by Sue Reno, detail 2
Rabbit and Maple, detail 2
One summer I had a nest of baby rabbits under my red maple tree, and this is my response to and remembrance of the experience. The rabbits ran free; my skulls are all found objects or ethically sourced. 
Rabbit and Maple, by Sue Reno, detail 3
Rabbit and Maple, detail 3
 I took macro photos of the rabbit skull, altered them, printed them on transparencies, and made cyanotype prints from the images. I made a cyanotype print directly from a branch of the maple tree.
Rabbit and Maple, by Sue Reno, detail 4
Rabbit and Maple, detail 4
 I include vintage needlework as a tribute to and acknowledgment of my female ancestors who used needlework as a primary means of expression in an milieu  where they had limited options. Here, I used some exquisitely well embroidered flower blocks. I talked about their provenance previously in this post.  The patchwork I framed these blocks with encompasses my collection of personal and family dressmaking fabrics dating back to the 1940's, so in a sense they also qualify as vintage.
Rabbit and Maple, by Sue Reno, detail 5
Rabbit and Maple, detail 5
This quilt spent an unusually long time as a work-in-progress. I made the rabbit skull prints in 2010; I assembled the quilt top in 2013. I tentatively started and stopped work on the quilting several times before pushing myself to get it done this February. In part I was distracted by other ideas and deadlines, and in part I was intimidated by the size of the piece and the complexity of the quilting I wanted to do. (I don't have a longarm machine, this was all done on my domestic Janome.) But now that I have the luxury of hindsight, I think I have also been working through what this series means to me. I started it all in a lather of excitement, and have enjoyed each project, but have struggled a bit to verbally express what is driving me. The long hours spent laboring over this one gave me some time for reflection, and I am increasingly content to let the visuals of the work speak for themselves. Take from it what you will, and enjoy.

You can track this back by clicking Rabbit and Maple in the right sidebar, or click here.

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March 6, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 17

Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 263
 I spent most of February with my shoulder to the wheel, doing the quilting on a huge art quilt (more on that soon). I reached the point where the creative part was done, and I was doing hours of important but repetitive fill work, and I got bored. Time for a wet cyanotype break! 

Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 264
 The weather has been been wildly variable here in my part of Pennsylvania, and some very warm days brought out the first of the snowdrops. I set up a few flowers on treated cotton sateen, along with big root geranium leaves (they are true perennials that overwinter with some green leaves).  I also set up a panel with an evergreen Christmas fern frond and two huechera leaves on silk noil I had treated. The silk has a lot of sericin that makes the uptake of the chemicals uneven and variable.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 265
 The day, which had started out sunny and warm, quickly deteriorated, and when I brought the prints in, the un-rinsed versions were only mildly promising:
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 266

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 When rinsed and finished, the snowdrop print was fairly subdued:
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 The fern on silk was a bit more interesting.  These are experiments, and I learn something every time, and even a print that may not end up as a solo act has potential for patchwork. So while I was not ecstatic about these they were still fun to do.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 269
 A few days later, looking to procrastinate on my quilting, I set up some more prints for exposure. I had five of the sweetgum leaves I had preserved with glycerin in the fall left to use.  I was out of treated sateen fabric, but a rummage around produced some more of the commercially treated muslin I used this past summer 
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 270
 For this round I was back at my old tricks with a spray of diluted pink textile paint, and another of diluted washing soda to drive the chemical reactions.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 271
 The last sweetgum leaf, paired with a Christmas fern:
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 272
 And finally, two smaller panels, one with another attempt at a snowdrop:
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 273
 And one with more geranium leaves and alpine strawberry leaves.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 274
 These were off to a good start with lots of sunshine and heat, but there was snow in the forecast, so I covered the panels with clear plastic and left them out. Here's what I woke up to the next morning:
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 275

Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 276
 Things were looking pretty fancy under all that snow:
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 Here are the un-rinsed prints, with lots of good splotching and color variations:
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 Here are the finished prints. The pink tones are from the textile paint, all the rest are from the breakdown of the cyanotype chemicals. These give me such a thrill!
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Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 284

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 I managed to capture some of the delicacy of the snowdrop blossom here. Flowers are tricky with this process, but the combination of sun and freezing temperatures worked out well this time.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 286

Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 287
 These last two I layered, quilted, and sent off as my donation to the SAQA Spotlight Auction for the up coming conference. I hope they bring the winning bidder(s) some of the same joy I had in making them.
Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 288

Wet cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 289
 If you are new here, welcome! I've been detailing and documenting my experiments with wet cyanotype in great detail; you can read it in reverse chronological order by clicking the Wet Cyanotype tab in the top header, or click here.

And a reminder that I also post on social media:
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