September 20, 2019

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 42

Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 640
I am approaching the place where I can be a working artist again. The bulk of the moving/setting up the house/finding new providers stuff is under control. The studio is very close to being entirely functional. I am doing bits of handwork I had set up previously, but am starting to entertain ideas about new work.
In that spirit, I did a quick batch of wet cyanotype prints, the first since dismantling the studio in early June. I clipped bits of foliage that were close at hand in my new yard and garden and used them for prints. Above is some wild grape, aka fox grape, and below is a bit of virginia creeper.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 641
I didn't try anything fancy with extra chemicals or colors here, they are just straight up wet cyan prints, put out on a sunny September day and left for about 5 hours. Below are a few more fox grape panels.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 642

Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 643
I am a bit rusty and may have added a bit too much moisture to some of these, but I am viewing them as simply practice pieces, to test out my new environment. Here are the prints after exposure and before rinsing.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 644

Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 645
I've got a bit of that coveted orange fire on some of these.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 646

Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 647
Here they are rinsed, dried, and finished.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 648
I'm happy with the results.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 649
I've already treated more fabric in anticipation of more prints.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 650
I unavoidably missed a good bit of the summer printmaking season, but September and October still offer lots of opportunities.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 651
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September 10, 2019

Works in Drawing on the Susquehanna

In Dreams I Found Utopia, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Found Utopia
 I am thrilled to announce that two of my Susquehanna River works, In Dreams I Found Utopia and 52 Ways to Look at the River, are included in the upcoming exhibit Drawing on the Susquehanna.
In Dreams I Found Utopia, by Sue Reno, detail
In Dreams I Found Utopia, detail
 The exhibit will open on April 18th, 2020 at the Lore Degenstein Gallery at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA, and run through May 13th.
52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River
 This exhibition examines the portrayal of the Susquehanna River and its tributaries as seen through the eyes of American artists over three centuries. It includes engravings and lithographs—as featured in journals, books and periodicals throughout the time period—as well as a selection of original paintings, drawings and prints depicting the river up to the present day.
52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno, detail 1
52 Ways to Look at the River, detail 1
Rob Evans, artist, curator, and fellow Susquehanna River enthusiast, has put together this exhibit. He's spent years sourcing and acquiring rare historical artworks for this project. I had the opportunity to view some of them and they are truly amazing. Combining them with contemporary works is sure to make for a very dynamic and compelling visual experience.
52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno, detail 2
52 Ways to Look at the River, detail 2
I plan on being at the opening next spring, and will update with further information as it becomes available.


September 9, 2019

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 41

Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 627
It's been a while! My printmaking practice was put on hold while I moved myself and my studio across Pennsylvania to the Pittsburgh suburbs. While gearing up to make some new wet cyanotype prints, I found a batch I made in June, just before dismantling the studio and packing it up, that I never documented. So I am doing so now.

First up was a big print, 20 some inches by 30 some inches. I had always been very protective of my Rodgersia aesculifolia, fingerleaf rodgersia, as I was growing it in less than ideal conditions. As much as I admired its large leaves, a weakness of mine, I didn't want to set it back by taking a cutting for printing. But it was obviously time for that ship to set sail, so I treated a piece of cotton sateen, added perennial favorites hosta 'August moon' and Japanese anemone leave, and gave it a go.

Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 628
I also did a hosta and wood poppy print, and some plume poppy leaves.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 629
 I have worked with these plants repeatedly for many years and wanted to get in one last print of them, although it was a rather rushed and slapdash affair.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 630
Here are the prints after exposure but before rinsing. Lots of good fireworks effects on the large one.
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Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 632
I had perhaps a bit too much moisture in some of the rest but they are still worth adding to inventory and working with at some time.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 633
Looks like they are melting! Which is appropriate as I was melting down a bit at that point.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 634
Here are the finished prints.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 635
I had some nervous energy late one night and went at the big one with a white pen and some textile paints and enhanced it. I took it in to be framed by my wonderful framer, Jenny at State of the Art who did a great job with a quick turnaround time. And now I have it installed in the place of pride above my new mantle. I rarely make art specifically for myself so this felt a bit transgressive and wonderful and I am enjoying it very much. I forgot to photograph before framing so please enjoy this image complete with reflections.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 636
Here are the rest of the prints from that batch.
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Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 638
They are closing out a chapter in my creative efforts but a new chapter is starting up and I'm excited to see what comes out of it.
Wet cyanotype -Sue Reno_Image 639

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September 3, 2019

New Work - In Dreams I Found Utopia

In Dreams I Found Utopia, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Found Utopia
I am happy to share my latest work, In Dreams I Found Utopia. It's part of my ongoing series The River that features my interpretations of experiences and observations, both real and imagined, of life along the river. To date they have all been about the Susquehanna because that has been my proximal point of reference. In Dreams I Found Utopia has a very specific point of reference, a section of the Northwest Lancaster River Trail that's a favorite bike riding locale.

In Dreams I Found Utopia, by Sue Reno, detail 1
In Dreams I Found Utopia, detail 1
I've spent a lot of my life closely observing the the natural world along the Susquehanna, and yes, it really does show up in my dreams. In this work, it serves as an allegory for a world where all is in balance and beauty abounds.
In Dreams I Found Utopia, by Sue Reno, detail 2
In Dreams I Found Utopia, detail 2
This work is 67"high by 53" wide. It features a needlefelted river panel, and a wet cyanotype print of leaves from native trees. The supporting piecework is all assembled from leftover strips of previous quilts.
In Dreams I Found Utopia, by Sue Reno, detail 3
In Dreams I Found Utopia, detail 3
There is a lot of detailed work in this piece, from the tiny pebbled stitching in the leaves panel, to intricate hand beadwork in the river panel.
In Dreams I Found Utopia, by Sue Reno, detail 4
In Dreams I Found Utopia, detail 4
This one was a pure pleasure to make that went together quickly (by my standards). I hope you enjoy viewing it.

You can track this one back as a work in progress by clicking here, or clicking on the tag below or on the right sidebar.

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August 29, 2019

Art Quilting Studio Article

 I'm honored that my work is featured in the current issue, Autumn 2019, of Art Quilting Studio Magazine. The article, Stitching the Natural World, shows three of my large art quilts, and includes a basic tutorial on some of the techniques I used to create them.

It's a large, quality publication, packed full of beautiful quilts and engaging commentary. I am very pleased to be able to share my work with their readership.


August 26, 2019

In Dreams I Found Utopia, part 4

In Dreams I Found Utopia, Sue Reno, WIP Image 15
I outlined the leaves on the wet cyan panel, and added the leaf veining as accurately as the process allows for. I then had the spaces between the leaves to deal with. I chose to "pebble" the spaces, using adjacent small circles as fill. Every time I choose this I know I will come to regret it, as it is a very painstaking and time consuming way to stitch. There is no denying, however, how awesome it looks, so it was worth it.
In Dreams I Found Utopia, Sue Reno, WIP Image 16
I like to paint the backs for my works, because it's fun and freeing and it makes me happy as I'm working on them. I spread a bit piece of cotton sateen on the driveway and had fun splashing and swirling textile paints around.
In Dreams I Found Utopia, Sue Reno, WIP Image 17
Here's the back after drying in the sun, being rinsed out, dried again, and ironed.

I layered up the top, the batting, and the back and did another round of quilting on the entire works. The needlefelted panel was added last, on top of the supporting quilt.

Up next, the big reveal!

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August 22, 2019

SAQA Journal Featured Artist

I am excited to share that I am the featured artist in the current edition of the SAQA Journal (Vol. 29 No. 3). It's a six page (!) spread with tons of images. Cindy Grisdela has done an absolutely amazing job of capturing what it is do and why I do it.

SAQA is the Studio Art Quilting Associates, a non-profit organization. "SAQA now has over 3,600 members: artists, teachers, collectors, gallery owners, museum curators and corporate sponsors. With access to our museum-quality exhibition program, SAQA members challenge the boundaries of art and change perceptions about contemporary fiber art." 

If you had told me many years ago when I first joined the organization that this is where I'd be today I doubt I would have believed it. But I have benefited greatly from my membership, both in terms of interacting with my peers and in exhibition opportunities. I currently have work in two SAQA Global Exhibitions, Metamorphosis and Season after Season, where my work is traveling to venues I would be hard pressed to access on my own.

I'm feeling extremely grateful, and very motivated to go in my studio and work even harder on my next big project. 

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August 20, 2019

In Dreams I Found Utopia, WIP part 3

In Dreams I Found Utopia, Sue Reno, WIP Image 12
Having completed the needlefelted river panel, it was time to start thinking about the overall composition of this work. My process in general is to components up on the design wall and audition fabrics for the supporting quilt. I work quickly on this part, pulling fabrics and pinning them in place. I try to set aside time without distractions so I can focus and make good decisions. I then leave it up for a few days of study, and may do some tweaking, but in general the initial composition is what I go with.
In Dreams I Found Utopia, Sue Reno, WIP Image 13
I often make strip sets in particular colorways to go with my panels. For this quilt I tried a different approach. I have a bin of leftover bits of strips from previous quilts, and I rummaged around in there to find pieces that would work. It was a really interesting challenge to arrange and incorporate all the disparate bits; but of course they were not all that disparate because my sensibilities had informed them all. And using parts from other quilts helped tie this particular one into my body of work..
In Dreams I Found Utopia, Sue Reno, WIP Image 14
And while that was going on, I did a round of quilting on the wet cyanotype panel. It was all very exciting and I was working long hours obsessively.

Up next: pebbles and the backing.

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