September 15, 2016

SAQA Benefit Auction kickoff

River Dreams, by Sue Reno
River Dreams
 It's time!  The SAQA Benefit auction begins tomorrow, 9/16/16, with Diamond Day bidding, an early bird opportunity to purchase any quilt for $1000.  Starting Monday at 2pm EDT, bidding on section 1 quilts starts, with prices at $750 and further reduced throughout the week until a final price of $100.  All proceeds benefit SAQA's exibitions, publications, and educational outreach.

River Dreams, which I made specifically for the auction, in included in the section 1 quilts.  It's a unique opportunity to own work of mine in a size format that I seldom visit.  It incorporates a lot of the elements I've been using in my ongoing series The River.

There's over 400 works available in the Benefit Auction, so there's sure to be something that catches your eye and speaks to you.  Details are on the SAQA site here, with lots of easily navigatible information.  The individual link to River Dreams is here.

River Dreams, detail, by Sue Reno
River Dreams, detail
You can read my original blog post about making this artwork here.

Have fun bidding, and good luck!

September 5, 2016

Plein Air at the Govenor's Residence, redux

Magnolia, by Sue Reno
 Remember Magnolia? I began the center panel of this artquilt working plein air at the PA Governor's Residence last September. You can read all about it in my previous blog posts here.

I had such a great experience the first time, I jumped at the chance to do it again.  I'll be at the Art in the Garden event, part of the Second Sunday series at the Governor's Residence, this coming Sunday, September 11, from 1 - 6 pm. The Residence is at 2035 N. Front St., Harrisburg, PA.  Weather permitting, I'll be outside near the Rose Garden.

I learned a lot from my from my extemporaneous creative involvement last year, and this time I will be well prepared.  I pre-made a couple of background panels, with wool, machine needlefelted on wool/rayon felt.  That way I can get right to laying out whateve scene I chose to work on.

felting backgrounds

Part of the joy of an event like this is talking and interacting with visitors.  Fiber art is still a novel artistic media to many people, so education and outreach are always part of my goals.  In the "never throw anything out" department, I remembered I had some step-outs I had made for my felting demo on Quilting Arts TV.

felting flip book pages
 With a bit of tweaking I was able to repurpose them into a flip book, showing the steps I use to built up a typical felted and stitched panel.  Textile work is very tactile and tempting to touch, so this way interested visitors can see and handle the work
felting flip book by Sue Reno

It's like magic!
felting flip book gif by Sue Reno
If you are in the area, I would love to see you in the garden on Sunday.  If all goes according to plan, I will be live tweeting and Instagraming and Facebook-ing, so check in on your social media of choice:

Facebook page:
Twitter feed:
Instagram: sue_reno_studio 

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

August 15, 2016

Work accepted for SPUN exhibit

Skunk and Garlic Mustard, by Sue Reno
Skunk and Garlic Mustard

 I'm excited to share that two of my art quilts have been accepted for SPUN, an innovative all fiber exhibit at the NEST Arts Factory in Bridgeport, CT. Both Skunk and Garlic Mustard, above, and Silk Mill #1, below, will be included.

Silk Mill #1, by Sue Reno
Silk Mill #1
The juror is Dr Linda Wolk-Simon, director and chief curator, University Galleries, Fairfield University.  The show opens on 9/10/16 and runs through 10/3/16.  

Skunk and Garlic Mustard, detail, by Sue Reno
Skunk and Garlic Mustard, detail
Skunk and Garlic Mustard is part of my ongoing Flora and Fauna series.  It features cyanotypes on cotton, a heliographic print on silk, artist-painted and commercial silk and cotton fabrics, vintage embroidery,and machine stitching.
Silk Mill #1, detail, by Sue Reno
Silk Mill #1, detail
Silk Mill #1 is part of my series The StructuresIt's based on the historic Ashley and Bailey Silk Mill, circa 1899, in Columbia, PA. It was abandoned in the 1970's, and had become a magnificent ruin, The images are from photographs I took at the beginning stages of a renovation that has turned a portion of the building into a tourist attraction. It features screen prints on cotton, digital images on silk, artist-painted and commercial silk and cotton fabrics, and machine stitching.

August 7, 2016

52 Ways to Look at the River - Update 9

52 Ways to Look at the River, Quilt back in progress
 There's been a flurry of activity in my push to incorporate the 52 Ways to Look at the River panels into a permanent assemblage.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about options and testing different configurations and materials.  I decided to make one large assembly rather than a diptych or triptych, as I thought splitting it up would dilute the impact.

From there it was a question of what material to use to mount them on.  It would have been (relatively) quick and easy to attach them to a large piece of industrial felt. In my trials, however, I didn't like the look, and I didn't like the way it handled and hung.

I work primarily in the quiltmaking format for a reason.  I  like the drape and the texture and the overall impact.  So I am making a large quilt to serve as the substrate and will be attaching the panels to it.  The first step was to paint the yardage to serve as the quilt back, above, and front, below. They are shown here drying on my driveway, and are lighter as finished.

52 Ways to Look at the River, Quilt front in progress
Here's a detail of the front panel.  I got lots of lovely, watery texture from the aging asphalt surface.

52 Ways to Look at the River, Quilt front in progress, detail
 Much of the front panel won't be seen, as it will be covered by the panels, but the parts that do show between them will add lots of color, texture, and continuity.

I've got it layered up and am finishing the quilting on it now.
52 Ways to Look at the River, bonus panels in progress
I also made a large, watery wool and silk panel on felt, which I then cut up to trial different mounting possibilities for the panels.  I decided on stitching them onto dark grey felt, to frame them and unify the sizes.  All the panels started with a 6" x 12" background, but I didn't make a particular effort to contain any stretching or warping as I worked on them.  I like the way that fiber responds and distorts to being felted and stitched.  Getting them all onto the felt backgrounds was a big project.
52 Ways to Look at the River, panel 7 in progress
I am somewhat paranoid about mixing up the order in the final assembly, so each one got a big painted number on the back after I attached it.  

52 Ways to Look at the River, reverse of panels in progress
 All of the photos I'd been sharing of the panels as I made them were iPhone shots--good, but not consistent in terms of lighting and focus, etc.  So I also spent some time taking their official portraits with the DSLR and the photo lights, and edited all of those shots.  I'm very happy with the results:
52 Ways to Look at the River, Panel 35
52 Ways to Look at the River, Panel 35
There's still a lot more to be done, but I am getting closer to the finished work.  I know many of you enjoy reading about process, so I hope you have enjoyed this recap of the past month's studio happenings.

A reminder that two of my works are on exhibit at wonderful venues this month: The Organic Landscape, as part of SAQA's Seasonal Palette, is at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, MI, through August 31st.  This is the last stop on an overwhelmingly successful four year world tour that I am honored and grateful to have been a part of.
SAQA's Seasonal Palette at the Gerald R. Ford Museum
SAQA's Seasonal Palette at the Gerald R. Ford Museum
The Organic Landscape by Sue Reno
The Organic Landscape
And Ice Jam is at the Fiber National 2016 Exhibit at the Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton VA, through August 21st. (Photo courtesy of an Alert Reader.)
Ice Jam at Fiber National 2016, Workhouse Arts Center
Ice Jam at Fiber National 2016
Ice Jam by Sue Reno
Ice Jam
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

July 6, 2016

A website refresh

I've got a brand new look on my website.  It's clean, it's contemporary, and it's easier than ever to navigate.  I'd like to invite you to take a tour of my galleries at  If you've already got it bookmarked, hit refresh and watch the transformation!

I've been online for a long time, and have had several iterations of my site.  This latest change was sparked by a desire for better function on mobile devices.  That goal has been met--above is a screenshot from a tablet, and below from an iPhone:

Of course what really matters is the content.  It's easier than ever now to view and read about my body of work, as organized into galleries: Flora and Fauna, The Garden, The River, The Structures, and The Woods.  All of them reflect my commitment to documenting and sharing the rich environment of my uniquely beautiful home base in  Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

A new website called for a new headshot, so here it is, a self portrait in the studio:
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

June 30, 2016

52 Ways to Look at the River, update 8

52 Ways to Look at the River, weeks 1 - 52, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River, weeks 1 - 52
I've made it to the finish line!  Here are all 52 panels for my self-directed project, 52 Ways to Look at the River.  Every week for a year, without fail, I've made a trip to the Susquehanna River, taken a photo, then created a fiber panel based on the image. The panels are 6" x 12", wool and silk with a few other materials, needlefelted and stitched. The project ran from the summer solstice 2015 to solstice 2016.

The are shown here pinned up on a design board in sequential order, left to right, top to bottom.  My next step is to assemble them permanently into a quilt or quilts. I am currently experimenting with placement and attachment methods.

I started out with a commitment to the basic format and the weekly adventure, but left the rest to develop as time went along.  As you can see, the first pieces were loose and abstract, but they quickly evolved into increasingly realistic representations.  This is very evident in the final four:
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 49, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 49

52 Ways to Look at the River, week 50, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 50

52 Ways to Look at the River, week 51, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 51

52 Ways to Look at the River, week 52, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 52
So, what have I learned from this adventure?

* A project of this size and scope is a very worthwhile endeavor.  I underestimated how much time and mental energy this project would take, but it was still worth it.

* I have a strong work ethic (I already knew this!)

* My initial premise, that the Susquehanna is beautiful in every season and from all different vantage points, proved to be true. I visited a few spots more than once, and saw something new every time.

* I benefited personally from building an improved mental map of how all the overlooks, bridges, dams, and etc, in and around Lancaster and York counties fit together.

* I also built up mad needlefelting skills.  Many weeks I picked my inspiration photo, then completely panicked on how to proceed.....the key was to just dive in and and try things. There were no do-overs.

* Once again I am very grateful to the Lancaster County Conservancy, the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage organization, and everyone else who works to procure and preserve access to the river.

What's next?

* First and foremost, I want to permanently assemble the panels.

* I want to investigate what it would take to turn the project into a book.  I am also considering making prints of the panels available.  Both of these ventures are new for me, and will require exploration.

* I have several large quilts that have languished while my attention was on the river, and I'm going to take the time to finish them.

* I have a complete website re-build in the works, and want to finish that up as well.

* I have two or three excellent ideas for another long-term project.  I'm going to take the time to wrap up the loose ends mentioned above, and to do some experimenting with the new concepts, before committing. I knew going into 52 Ways to Look at the River that I was facing a relatively quiet year, but the year ahead is more complex and I want to plan realistically.

You can track back the project to date by clicking on the "52 Ways" tab in the top header, or by clicking here.

You can continue to follow all my fiberart and art quilt adventures on your platform of choice:
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As always, thanks for reading and commenting. 

June 25, 2016

Raccoon and Apple acceptance for Connected by Stitch

Raccoon and Apple, by Sue Reno
Raccoon and Apple
 I am pleased and honored to announce that Raccoon and Apple has been accepted for the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) regional exhibit, Connected by Stitch.
Raccoon and Apple,detail 1, by Sue Reno
Raccoon and Apple,detail 1
 The exhibit will be at The Gallery at Penn College Williamsport, PA from October 22-December 8, 2016. The jurist is Joshua R. Willis.  There's an opening reception on the afternoon of the 22nd that I plan on attending. It promises to be an outstanding show.
Raccoon and Apple,detail 2, by Sue Reno
Raccoon and Apple,detail 2
 Raccoon and Apple is part of my ongoing series, Flora and Fauna, where I combine cyanotype prints of the skulls of native wildlife with vintage textiles and handpainted fabrics to create works that speak to their observed and unobserved presence in our environment
Raccoon and Apple,detail 3, by Sue Reno
Raccoon and Apple,detail 3

June 19, 2016

Peace and Quiet by the Susquehanna

Susquehanna River in Marietta, PA

I took my bike and hit the Northwest River Trail again, this time starting at Decatur St., in search of some peace and quiet.  The Susquehanna did not disappoint. 

Sambucus, common elderberry in bloom
There were lots of phenology changes since last week. The elderberries were blooming.
Sambucus, common elderberry flowers
As were the tawny daylilies.
Hemerocallis fulva, tawny daylily
These are common in semi-wild places, and sometimes disparaged as "ditch lilies" but I have always loved them.
Hemerocallis fulva, tawny daylily, macro
And the milkweed has begun blooming!  It's an important plant in the monarch butterfly life cycle, and many types of insects are drawn to the blossoms.
Asclepias syriaca, common milkweed
I spotted three that were new-to-me, including this 14 spotted lady beetle:
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata, Fourteen-spotted Lady Beetle
This soldier beetle:
Chauliognathus, soldier beetle, on milkweed
Check out the legs:
Chauliognathus, soldier beetle, on milkweed
And this gorgeous little grape plume moth:

Geina periscelidactylus, grape plume moth
Relaxed and refreshed, I captured this view  of an island and chose it as my inspiration image for week 51 of my self-directed project, 52 Ways to Look at the River.
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 51 image, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 51 image
I kept things simple and serene in the resultant fiber art panel.  The panel is 6" x 12", wool, silk and mylar, needlefelted and stitched.
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 51 panel, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 51 panel
It's hard to believe this project is coming to an end....It's been a big part of my life for the past year.  After I make the final panel next week, I will be assembling the panels into art quilts.

If you are new here, you can track back the project by using the 52 Ways tab in the top header, or by clicking here. And you can follow along for the rest of it on your platform of choice:
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So many of you have been engaged in this journey with me, and I greatly appreciate all your comments and support!