July 22, 2014

Today’s Inspiration: The Garden

Hello and welcome!  Today is my turn to be featured on the Quilting Arts TV blog hop. The theme of Series 1400 is all about finding creativity and inspiration, so I have been posting each day with images and prompts about my personal inspirations.  Today’s inspiration is The Garden.Sue Reno, Plume Poppy
My earliest memory is of helping to plant a vegetable garden, poking pea seeds into the ground.
Sue Reno, The Organic Garden
Gardening has been a lifelong priority, both for the food and flowers, and for the sheer delight and satisfaction of watching things grow.  So it’s only natural that my garden has been a recurring theme in my art quilts.
Sue Reno, Columbine
I use a variety of surface design methods to put imagery onto fabric, including cyanotype;
Sue Reno, Bleeding Heart, detail
heliographic prints:
Sue Reno, Jack in the Pulpit, detail
and digital prints:
Sue Reno, Fireball, detail
While I’m outside, digging and pruning and weeding, I keep a sharp eye out for the native wildlife that visits my garden from time to time, which led to the creation of my Flora and Fauna series.
Sue Reno, Vole and Viburnum
I collect animal skulls, photograph them, make cyanotype prints of the images, and incorporate them with vintage textiles and heliographic prints.
Sue Reno, Skunk and Garlic Mustard
They are quite cheerful works for the most part, celebrating the lives of the creatures that share my environment.
Sue Reno, Squirrel and Locust
Part of my artistic practice involves taking (almost) daily pictures of my environment and posting them to social media.  Most are taken using my iPhone with a clip on macro lens.  I love the different perspective that is revealed in the macro world.
Sue Reno, columbine bud, macro
You can find my photos on Flickr, my Twitter account, and Facebook.
Sue Reno, white zinnia flower, macro
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of my work, and will check back often to see what I am creating. 
Sue Reno, wood poppy bud, macro
As always, thanks for reading and commenting, and be sure to hop over to the other featured blog for today,  Rebekah Meier (rebekahmeier.com).  You can see my episodes and the work of all the talented artists by purchasing the Quilting Arts TV DVD
Quilting Arts TV DVD Cover Image
Read more about the series, and the PBS schedule, at the  Quilting Arts TV Website

I shared the experience of filming my episodes for Quilting Arts TV on my blog back in March—see it here. There are links to previews of my episodes here.  And I’ve added a QATV tab on the blog header to make it easy to read back through all the QATV related blogs.  Enjoy!
Sue Reno, on the set of Quilting Arts TV

Tomorrow’s featured bloggers:  Lyric Kinard (lyrickinard.com/blog) / Margie Ullery (ribboncandyquilts.blogspot.com)

Up next: The River

July 21, 2014

Today’s Inspiration: The Woods

I am posting each day of the Quilting Arts TV blog hop with a personal message about inspiration and creativity.  When you’re done reading here, pop on over to the featured artists of the day to enjoy their blogposts.  Today’s bloggers are: Carrie Bloomston (suchitysuch.blogspot.com) AND Catherine Redford (catherineredford.com)
Sue Reno, Jack in the Pulpit
Today’s inspiration is The Woods. As a child I spent a good bit of time roaming around and playing in the woods, and basically, I just never stopped.
Sue Reno, House Rock Overlook
I go hiking whenever I get the chance, and the woodlands and wild places of Pennsylvania are a never ending wellspring of inspiration for me.Sue Reno, White Mulberry My work is not overtly political, but it has an environmental subtext. I am doing my part for the preservation movement by quilting paeans to the large and small wonders I find in the wild.
Sue Reno, Mystery FernThe woodlands filter our water and our air. They provide habitat for the flora and fauna that comprise our biome.
Sue Reno, November Pawpaw And who isn’t improved and inspired by a walk in the woods?  It gives us time to slow down, to observe, to be still.
Sue Reno, Sumac When you are back from your walk, keep that happy vibe going by watching your Quilting Arts TV DVD
Quilting Arts TV DVD Cover Image
Get more information and check the PBS schedule on the Quilting Arts TV Website

Tomorrow’s featured bloggers:  Me! (suereno.blogspot.com) AND Rebekah Meier (rebekahmeier.com)

Up next: The Garden

July 20, 2014

Today’s Inspiration: Process and Technique

I am posting each day of the Quilting Arts TV blog hop with a personal message about inspiration and creativity.  When you’re done reading here, pop on over to the featured artists of the day to enjoy their blogposts.  Today’s bloggers are:  Sarah Ann Smith(sarahannsmith.com/weblog) AND Karen Gloeggler (thejaneaustenquilt.com)
Sue Reno, Jack in the Pulpit, detail
Todays Insipration is Process and Technique.  I make art that’s meant to be displayed on the wall, so in theory I could use any medium for my surface design work and get my message across with oil paints or watercolors or other types of works on paper.
Sue Reno, Wood Poppy, detail But I work with fabric  because I love its materiality, its flexibility, and its propensity to evoke emotional responses.  I like the way fabric feels and responds to manipulation. I find that my favorite technique, cyanotype printing, is much richer and vibrant on cotton or silk than on paper.  I feel the same way about screenprints and the other types of monoprinting I use to put imagery on fabric.
Sue Reno, Plume Poppy, detail  I like cutting textiles up and then sewing them together in new arrangements.  I like layering them, and stitching on them by hand or machine, and seeing how the texture changes and enhances the designs.
Sue Reno, Silk Mill #3, detail  It just never gets old for me.  In the rare cases where I am feeling creatively blocked, working with fabric, cutting and sewing simple shapes, is always a springboard to breaking out of the rut.  For me the craftsmanship and the design go hand in hand, with each elevating the other.
Sue Reno, Watt & Shand #9, detail And what better way to learn some new and exciting techniques than to watch talented artists demonstrate their favorite processes?  Check out the Quilting Arts TV DVD
Quilting Arts TV DVD Cover Image
And visit the Quilting Arts TV Website for information on when it airs on PBS stations.

Tomorrow’s featured bloggers:  Carrie Bloomston (suchitysuch.blogspot.com) AND Catherine Redford (http://www.seminarandsew.com/)

Up next: The Woods

July 19, 2014

Today’s Inspiration: Vintage Textiles

I am posting on each day of the Quilting Arts TV blog hop with a personal message about inspiration and creativity.  When you’re done reading here, pop on over to the featured artists of the day to enjoy their blogposts.  Today’s bloggers are: Luana Rubin (luanarubin.typepad.com) AND Linda Friedman (lindasartquilts.blogspot.com)
Sue Reno, Daylilies at Dawn, detail
Today’s inspiration is Vintage Textiles.  When I tell someone I am a quilter, they often respond with a story about a grandma or aunt who made quilts. 
 Sue Reno, Lavender in a Lightning Storm
This opens up a wonderful dialogue about the type of work women in past generations did, and the types of contemporary/modern/art quilting that are popular now.
Sue Reno, Deer and Mayapple, detail
Personally, I don’t see a lot of difference.  Vintage and modern textiles are all points along a continuum.
Sue Reno, November Pawpaw, detail
Women have always used the technologies and materials that were available to them.  Imagine the thrill of obtaining a treadle machine, when you've previously done all your sewing by hand.  Machine sewing changed family dynamics and changed society.
Sue Reno, Squirrel and Locust, detail
And women have always done both practical sewing and fancier sewing, if they had the time and resources.  Embroidering a table runner or appliquéing a quilt top was an acceptable creative outlet when there were few available.
Sue Reno, Vole and Viburnum, detail
I like to honor the work of the stitchers of previous generations and incorporate vintage textiles into my work when I can.
Sue Reno, Fox and Hackberry, detail
Why not create something now that will be a treasure to future generations?  Find a project that appeals to you on the Quilting Arts TV DVD
Quilting Arts TV DVD Cover Image
Learn more on the Quilting Arts TV Website

Tomorrow’s featured bloggers: Sarah Ann Smith (sarahannsmith.com/weblog) AND Karen Gloeggler (thejaneaustenquilt.com)

Up next: Process and Technique

July 18, 2014

Quilting Arts TV Blog Hop

Quilting Arts TV DVD Cover Image
I so thrilled to be a part of the new season of Quilting Arts TV, hosted by Susan Brubaker Knapp (and that’s a detail from my “Bleeding Heart” cyanotype at the bottom of the cover image).  To introduce you to all the quilters, artists and designers that are a part of the series, Quilting Daily is hosting a blog hop.  It begins today with a post by editor Vivika DeNegre on the Quilting Daily blog.  Check it out for a chance to win a copy of the DVD.

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the event—what a line-up!
July 19: Luana Rubin (luanarubin.typepad.com)/Linda Friedman (lindasartquilts.blogspot.com)
July 20: Sarah Ann Smith (sarahannsmith.com/weblog)/Karen Gloeggler (http://www.seminarandsew.com/)
July 21: Carrie Bloomston (suchitysuch.blogspot.com)/ Catherine Redford (catherineredford.com)
July 22: Sue Reno (suereno.blogspot.com)/ Rebekah Meier (rebekahmeier.com)
July 23: Lyric Kinard (lyrickinard.com/blog) / Margie Ullery (ribboncandyquilts.blogspot.com)
July 24: Cheryl Sleboda (muppin.com/wordpress/) / Jane Sassaman (janesassaman.com/weblog) / Julie Creus (http://todera.blogspot.com)
July 25: Susan Brubaker Knapp (bluemoonriver.blogspot.com)

The entire series is available as a download or DVD here: Quilting Arts TV DVD

The schedule and more information about viewing it on your local PBS station is here: Quilting Arts TV Website
Sue Reno - See Me on Quilting Arts TV

The overall theme for Quilting Arts TV Series 1400 is about finding creativity through inspiration.  So I’m going to be talking about my favorite sources of inspiration each day for the course of the blog hop, and I’m excited to share my creative prompts and my work with you.

Today’s Inspiration is Community. I work alone, without assistants, and need a lot of quiet and reflective time to winnow my ideas and design and construct my art quilts.  But while I am solitary during production, I thrive as part of the artistic community.  Many of the guests on this season of QATV I’ve known online for many years, others I know personally and/or met during the taping, and a few are new to me and I’m delighted to discover them.  The fiber arts/art quilt community is a particularly warm and genial one, and I have benefited immensely from friendships and opportunities it affords.  One thing always seems to lead to another.

I also try to participate and give back where I can.  I am a long time member of SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates, and have done volunteer work for the organization.  Locally, I am very involved with the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen in a number of volunteer roles, where I continue to learn about the importance of fine craft.    I am also part of the Pennsylvania Arts Experience, an organization of fine artists who work in a variety of mediums.  With all of these groups, I get back so much more than I give, and learn attitudes and approaches that I can take back and apply to my own studio practice. 

Whatever your level of interest and expertise in the art quilting world or the art world at large, you will be enriched and inspired by the creative people and their work showcased in this series.  Stay with us throughout the blog hop and expand your world!

Sue Reno and Susan Brubaker Knapp on the set of QATV
Up next:  Vintage Textiles

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

July 17, 2014

Kousa Dogwood – Work in Progress Update 2

Kousa Dogwood, a work in progress by Sue Reno, Image 5
After making some cyanotype prints of my Kousa dogwood, I experimented with a new product, Jacquard Solar Fast.  (I have no affiliation and am receiving no compensation.)  It’s a sunlight-developed dye that comes in a range of colors.  I chose Green for this trial. The process is straightforward. Using a piece of foam board for support, I brushed the dye on pfd (prepared for dyeing) fabric, in this case cotton sateen, so that it was even coated but not super saturated. The product had a strong ammonia smell, but it has been reformulated since I purchased mine and the new batches are said to be odor free.  I arranged my dogwood leaves and blossoms on the fabric.
Kousa Dogwood, a work in progress by Sue Reno, Image 6
I covered the arrangement with a piece of plate glass and took it out into the sunlight for a timed exposure.  I did a few tests to determine the correct time, in this case about 15 minutes.  I could see the deep green color developing.
Kousa Dogwood, a work in progress by Sue Reno, Image 7 Above you see the print after exposure and before washing.  Unlike cyanotype prints, which just need to be rinsed, this product needs to be thoroughly washed out of the fabric, using textile detergent.
Kousa Dogwood, a work in progress by Sue Reno, Image 8 And here is a finished print.  I’m quite pleased with it.  The green color will be a good, subtle contrast to the cyanotype Prussian blue, and there is just enough difference in the look of the two types of prints to make it interesting.  I think Solar Fast has a lot of potential for my work, and plan on experimenting with other colors and processes with it.

This work in progress will but put to one side for a time as I wait for the Kousa fruits to ripen. They are lovely and bumpy and interesting, and the foliage has good autumn color.   I will take photos and make images in the fall, and have until then to consider how I want to proceed.

Up next: A Quilting Arts Blog Hop!

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

July 16, 2014

Kousa Dogwood – New Work in Progress

Kousa Dogwood, a work in progress by Sue Reno, Image 1
I am always looking closely at my yard and garden for inspiration and subject material.  I have a pair of Kousa dogwood trees I planted decades ago that have grown into lovely specimens.  They are sited so that I can look down on them from above on the deck when they are in bloom, a clever arrangement that lets me fully appreciate their graceful form. 

I spent some time recently making some Kousa prints, starting with my old standby and perennial favorite, the cyanotype print. In the image above you see treated cotton sateen fabric, with the leaves and flowers arranged and lightly pinned in place on a piece of foam insulation board.
Kousa Dogwood, a work in progress by Sue Reno, Image 2 I covered the arrangement with a sheet of plate glass and took it outside in the bright sunlight for a timed exposure.  I like this process shot showing my shadow.
Kousa Dogwood, a work in progress by Sue Reno, Image 3
Above is the fabric after exposure.  The exposed areas have turned grayish, while the areas that were masked by the leaves are unchanged.  The areas covered by the flowers have been partially exposed, as the petals are semi-transparent.
Kousa Dogwood, a work in progress by Sue Reno, Image 4 Here is the rinsed and finished print.  I am very happy with the way the cyanotype process captured the delicacy of the blossoms.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Up next: I experiment with Solar Fast printing.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting!

June 21, 2014

Quilting Arts TV Previews

Sue Reno filming for QATV
Remember in March when I filmed some segments for the new season of Quilting Arts TV?  Previews for the episodes, with new host Susan Brubaker Knapp, are now online!

Here are the previews for the episodes I’m a part of:
Episode 1404: Inspired by Nature, with myself and Jane Sassaman:
Quilting Arts TV Episode 1404 preview

Episode 1408: Felt It, with myself and Rebekah Meier:
Quilting Arts TV Episode 1408 preview

Episode : Quilting Medley, with myself, editor Vivika Hansen DeNegre, and Linda Hahn:
Quilting Arts TV Episode 1410 preview

The episodes will begin airing on PBS stations in July, and I will be sure to keep you posted.