September 6, 2018

New Work - The River Ran Deep

The River Ran Deep, by Sue Reno
The River Ran Deep

I am pleased and excited to share my newest work, The River Ran Deep. It's part of my ongoing series on the Susquehanna River. I was asked to join four other artists--Rob Evans, John David Wissler, Mark Workman, and Ann DeLaurentis-- to contribute work for the "Dine On Harvest Moon Gala" auction for the Lancaster County Conservancy I was happy to make this specifically for the cause. I and my husband are long time supporters of the Conservancy, and benefit greatly from the trail system they have put together and maintain. Many of my works about the river have been inspired by hikes taken on Conservancy properties.

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 For the top portion of this work, I made wet cyanotype prints of leaves from native trees, tulip poplars and chestnut oaks. If you've been following my work, you've seen that wet cyanotype printmaking is an ongoing obsession. It's delightfully unpredictable, and dependent on the time of year and the weather conditions. Making these prints connects me to the natural world and my micro-environment in a direct way.

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For the imagery representing the river, I turned to the same needlefelting technique I've used for In Dreams I Drifted Away and In Dreams I Flew Over the River, among others. Layers of wool and silk fibers are integrated into a wool base, providing great detail, movement,  and texture.

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 The surround of the river panel is made from individually hand-pieced hexagons. This type of work is very slow and meditative.
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 The further surround is made from fabric that I mono-printed to in waves and interlocking geometric/geological patterns. At the base, the whole work is grounded by thick, earthy woolens. The work is 44" high by 42" wide.
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I've lived near the beautiful Susquehanna most of my life and have observed it over the years cycling  through droughts and flood stages. This summer I've watched as potent storms and historically heavy rainfalls have made it run high and run deep. I'm here to chronicle this and future conditions.

You can contact the Conservancy for information about the auction and advance bidding: https://www.lancasterconservancy.org/contact/

September 5, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 30

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 Wow, here I am at part 30 of my experiments in wet cyanotype! It's been a fun ride so far, and I remain as fired up about the process as I was when I first started. Big thanks to everyone who has followed along so far.
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 I did a fairly straightforward batch of wet cyan prints, with an eye to the changing of the seasons starting to limit my plant availability. But realistically, the weather is still terrifically hot and humid here in PA, and this batch printed up in a fashion typical of mid summer. I used hosta leaves and a sprig of comfrey for the first three.
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 I then tried some big old dandelion leaves that had made themselves at home in a flowerbed. It's been too beastly out to do much gardening, so this counted as weeding.
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 I rounded out the batch with a wood poppy leaf, and a twig from my ninebark shrub. For some of them I added some washing soda solution, and on others a bit of very dilute red textile paint,
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 The cyanotype colors broke down quickly and beautifully.
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 I let them expose for about 6 hours in the bright sun and high heat.
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 These are the prints after exposure and before rinsing. They are looking beautiful and promising.
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 That red paint moves around in very unpredictable ways. I love what it's done here.
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 And here are the finished prints, keepers and small delights all.
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 I love the much maligned dandelions in general; I've made wine with the blossoms, and eaten the greens in the spring. Now I can add printmaking fodder to their list of laudable qualities.
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 I got some nice eco-prints tones from the sap in the wood poppy leaf.
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 The ninebark print has a lot going on as well.
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As always, thanks for reading and commenting!

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September 1, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 29

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Welcome to part 29 of my ongoing experiments with wet cyanotype. You can read all of the posts in reverse chronological order by clicking the Wet Cyanotype tab in the top header, or go here.
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Buoyed by my previous success in combining wet cyanotype with SolarFast dyes, I repeated the process for this batch. Again, I painted fresh cyanotype solution in the center of cotton panels, surrounded it with SolarFast red dye, and laid on my plants. I used Queen Anne's lace for these two.
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Then I did two with red maple leaves.
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For three of the panels I topped them with glass for the exposure. I kept the exposure times on the short side, about an hour, for the ones with the flowers. Here they are after exposure, and after spending the night drying off in a dark room.
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I left the maple leaves out in the sun longer, about 4 hours. For one I used a pane of glass, for the other I used a sheet of thin vinyl.
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I really like the way the creases in the vinyl collected moisture and left a pattern. This is worthy of further exploration.
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Here are the finished prints. As in the last batch, I first rinsed out the excess cyanotype chemicals as per usual practice, then washed them with textile detergent to properly set the SolarFast.
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This one has a yearning vibe I find particular appealing.
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The maple prints turned out great as well.
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This was the last of the SolarFast products I had on hand. I wanted to use them up this summer, and that prompt worked out much better than I had anticipated. (See other experiments here.)  I have more ideas for experimentation, but practically speaking I will probably not get to restocking it and working with it until next spring.

Thanks for reading. Recently there was a glitch with the Blogger comment notification process (affecting everyone, not just me) that was preventing me from approving comments in a timely fashion. I think it's all fixed now, so thanks for your patience and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts!

Your reminder that you can also follow along on your social media of choice:

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August 30, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 28

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Welcome to part 28 of my ongoing experiments with the wet cyanotype process.
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This batch of prints was the ultimate endgame of my concurrent experiments with SolarFast solar dye. I wanted to try combining the two, but there were several technical issues to think through, due to the two processes having  different usage instructions. I settled for really putting the "wet" in wet cyanotype, applying the fresh solution to the center of the panels and then painting the red SolarFast around the margins. I added some good sturdy leaves, tall blue lettuce and tulip poplar, and spritzed the whole works with a bit more water. These cotton sateen panels, at 24" square, were larger than any of my glass, so I used a clear piece of vinyl. There were fold lines in the vinyl which I hoped would ease out in the sun--they didn't, but it turned out to be a bonus.
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To round out the batch I did some straight wet cyan prints on cotton sateen, using chestnut oak leaves:
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And I snuck another tulip poplar leaf in there as well. This was in early August, with the weather almost unbearably hot and humid. A three hour exposure seemed sufficient.
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When I brought the prints in I had another choice to make.
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Cyanotype prints need to be rinsed thoroughly  in plain water. SolarFast prints need to be washed out with textile detergent. I let the damp prints dry overnight in a dark room to hopefully further set whatever reactions I had going on there.They did look promising.
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The regular wet cyan prints looked promising as well.
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I love taking pictures of them at this stage because the imagery is so fleeting.
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The next day I rinsed out the excess cyanotype chemicals, then held my breath and washed the panels with Synthrapol to remove the excess SolarFast product. And it worked! These prints exceeded my expectations.
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I really like the way the two sets of chemicals moved around and co-mingled, and the marks left by the creases in the vinyl covers.
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The regular wet cyan prints were also a delight.
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I haven't worked with chestnut oak leaves for a long time, and now I'm all about them again.
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Thanks for reading. Recently there was a glitch with the Blogger comment notification process (affecting everyone, not just me) that was preventing me from approving comments in a timely fashion. I think it's all fixed now, so thanks for your patience and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts!

And your reminder that you can also follow along on your social media of choice:

Facebook page:http://www.facebook.com/suerenostudio
Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/suereno
Tumblr: http://suerenostudio.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sue_reno_studio/