October 31, 2014

Ice Jam – New Work in Progress

Last winter was an extraordinary one.  There was a long hard freeze, punctuated by partial warming, that transformed the Susquehanna River in bizarre and magical ways.  Thick chunks of ice piled up on the river and the shores in surreal formations. 
I took a lot of pictures and shared them previously here and here.
I have been very driven to work in my series on The River lately.  The Susquehanna has been a constant in my life experience, and I feel it is sometimes underappreciated in the world at large.  I wanted to document this amazing ice jam experience.
Sue Reno, Ice Jam Collagraphy plates I started with the same collagraphy plates I used for If I Woke at Dawn, and made positive and negative prints with textile paints on cotton sateen.
Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt
This is good place to mention that there’s a chapter on collagraphy  in my recently released Quilting Arts Workshop Video, Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt.
 Sue Reno, Ice Jam, Work In Progress, Image 1 As I was working on making and selecting the prints, I also started on a needlefelted centerpiece.  The background is brown wool/rayon felt, and I built up the river texture with wool roving and slivers of wool and silk fabric.  Above is the first mockup on the design wall.  There’s a lot more to go, to reach the icy texture and feeling I am aiming for.

I demonstrate my needlefelting technique on Quilting Arts TV Episode 1408.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

October 29, 2014

Surface Design Essentials Blog Tour -- Coming Soon

I’m excited about the recent release of my Quilting Arts TV instructional video, Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt.  Whether you are new to the possibilities of surface design, or an experienced artist looking to expand your repertoire, you will find lots to inspire you, and clear and concise instructions to guide you.
Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt
To celebrate the release, I’m hosting a blog tour with some of my favorite artists and bloggers.  I am thrilled—and this is not hyperbole—that all of these women agreed to view and review my DVD. 

The tour starts November 5th, with this schedule:
11/5/14: Sue Reno http://suereno.blogspot.com/
11/6/14: Susan Brubaker Knapp http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/
11/7/14: Allie Aller http://alliesinstitches.blogspot.com/
11/8/14: Diane Doran http://www.oohprettycolors.blogspot.com/
11/9/14: Vivien Zepf http://sevenpinesdesigns.blogspot.com/
11/10/14: Virginia Spiegel http://www.virginiaspiegel.com/blog/
11/11/14: Cynthia St. Charles http://cynthia-stcharles.blogspot.com/
11/12/14: Natalya Aikens http://artbynatalya.blogspot.com/
11/13/14: Lyric Kinard http://lyrickinard.com/blog/

I so admire and trust these professional artists that I kept my request to them very simple.  I didn't ask for a particular type of review, or for them to make a project according to specifications.  I just asked them to write about whatever aspects of Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt appealed to them, in their own style and with their own unique perspective.

Solomon's Seal print by Sue Reno
I know it will be a very interesting blog tour and I am looking forward to it!  I hope you will join us.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

October 28, 2014

Making leaf prints, and other good news.

The printmaking season is winding down here. I enjoy the immediacy of working with natural materials, and I took advantage of this mild autumn to make a few more leaf prints while I could.
Sue Reno, Catalpa, Work in Progress Image 5
I got all excited about catalpa trees in 2008, and made some wonderful cyanotype and heliographic prints. Then I got sidetracked by something more urgent, or some kind of deadline, and set them aside. 
Sue Reno, Catalpa, Work in Progress Image 6
I was walking a woodsy trail recently and a catalpa leaf literally fell from a tree and onto me, so I took it as a sign and gathered a few more.  They are satisfyingly big leaves.
 Sue Reno, Catalpa, Work in Progress Image 7 I used my large Gelli plate and made both direct and “ghost” prints.  I got a bit exuberant with the colors.  They are up on the design wall, taunting me to ignore all the other projects in the queue, so we shall see. 
Sue Reno, Sycamore print 1
While I was at it, I made some sycamore leaf prints.   They are also a substantial leaf.  I have the beginnings of an idea on how I will use them—I have some new animal skulls that I want to work with, to add to my Flora and Fauna series. 
 Sue Reno, Sycamore print 2
In other news:
Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt
My DVD, Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt, is available for a limited time as a printmaking kit.  You receive the DVD, a copy of Quilting Arts Magazine with my how-to article on cyanotype printing, and a pack of treated cotton cyanotype fabric, so you can jump right in and start creating.  Get it while you can at the Interweave Store!  The DVD also has complete and concise instructions on heliographic printing, themofax printing, and collagraphy, so it is a very good deal.  The kit would make a lovely birthday or holiday gift. 
Silk Mill #1 by Sue Reno
For my friends attending The International Quilt Festival in Houston this week, be sure to look for my “Silk Mill #1” in the Tactile Architecture Exhibit.
100 Quilt Inspirations Book And last but not least, I’ve received word that my work will be included in Sandra Sider’s compilation book, 1000 Quilt Inspirations, to be released in February 2015.  I’ve seen lots of other acceptance notices from artists I admire, so I know it’s going to be an excellent volume.  It’s available on preorder from the publisher and from Amazon.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

October 6, 2014

Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection

In Dreams I Flew Over the River, by Sue Reno
My fiber artwork In Dreams I Flew Over the River is joining the Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection.  Housed in the historic Dritt Mansion at the Zimmerman Center for Heritage in York County, PA, the collection is curated by artist Rob Evans, and is the first-ever permanent collection of Susquehanna River art.  My work is on loan while funds are being raised to complete the purchase.
In Dreams I Flew Over the River, by Sue Reno, Installation View I can’t imagine a more perfect setting for this piece.  I’ve written before about how the idea and imagery for it literally came to me in a dream, and I felt compelled to make it.  I've lived near the Susquehanna  most of my life, and this work is a distillation of my experiences and observations of the river in its many moods.  To have is hanging with other river art by artists I deeply admire is something of a  dream come true.
The Dritt Mansion at the Zimmerman Center for Heritage
The Dritt Mansion was built circa 1740 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places  It has been extensively and beautifully restored, along with the grounds. There’s a wealth of information about it in this Visitor’s Guide. It’s a fabulous setting for the artwork, and well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.  There are guided tours available.
Zimmerman Center for Heritage Center Sign, and view of Susquehanna River The view from the mansion is of the river and the newly built marina.
Susquehanna River View from the Zimmerman Center Dock I took some fisheye photos when I visited; the skies were cloudy and dramatically lit (the purple tones are a photographic distortion, a combination of the lens on my iPhone and the light and reflections off of the clouds).
Distant View of Susquehanna River from Native Lands Park
Behind the mansion, a trail leads up through the woods into the Native Lands park, which was once the home of the Susquehannock tribe.  The 4 acre cleared area at the top of the rise, with a distant view of the river, is the site of their last known village.  A stockade wall once enclosed 16 ninety-foot longhouses and was home to about 900 people.  Today it is a serene and reflective place.View from Native Lands Park The greens and golds of the surrounding fields are echoed in my work, along with the myriad blues of the river. 
Sue Reno, In Dreams I Flew Over the River, detail
I am very happy that my work has found such an appropriate and prestigious home.
Sue Reno with In Dreams I Flew Over the River installatio

October 1, 2014

Presenting at the SAQA Fiberlandia Conference

I’m honored to announce that I will be a Breakout Session Presenter at the upcoming Studio Art Quilt Associates Fiberlandia Conference.  The Conference will be held in Portland, OR on April 30 – May 3, 2015.
SAQA Fiberlandia Conference
Develop and Sustain Your Daily Artistic Practice

Creating the time, space and mindset to carry out a consistent artistic practice in our daily lives can be challenging, but pays tremendous dividends. I break the process down into easily achieved steps that bring results.

Learn how to:
· Be fearless in acknowledging the value of your individual viewpoint and talents.
· Identify realistic short and long term goals.
· Find a daily practice that trains your eye, feeds your creative spirit, and keeps your work fresh.
· Work towards a balance of quiet, cognitive time and social time, including social media.
· Even out the flow of work between intensely creative periods and dry spells.
· Be inspired by the strategies other artists use to manage their time and artistic output.

Whether you are a novice or experienced artist, you will come away from this session with strategies that will help you take your artistic practice to the next level.
Information on the keynote speakers and other presenters is here.   Registration information is here; there’s a early bird discount.

I’m a long time member of SAQA and have benefited tremendously from my involvement.  A SAQA conference is a great setting to learn industry specific information and meet like-minded artists and quilters.  I’m thrilled that I will be a part of the Fiberlandia Conference, and am very excited about the lineup of speakers.   I’m equally delighted that it will be in Portland, one of my favorite cities.  I will be extending my trip to fit in lots of hiking time in the area.

Hope to see you there!

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

September 26, 2014

Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt

It’s here!  My Quilting Arts Workshop Video, Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt, is available for pre-order. 
Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt
You can see a quick intro clip, read all about it, and pre-order a DVD and download bundle here.

This special package is available for a limited time only.

In this Workshop I give very clear and complete demonstrations of four of my favorite surface design techniques: cyanotype, collagraph, heliographic, and Thermofax printing.  I also show you how to incorporate your printed fabrics into art quilt designs, and it’s all illustrated with examples of my award-winning work.

To give you a feel for it, check out these 5 tips on my collagraph process as featured on the Quilting Daily Blog.
Sue Reno, QATV Workshop,  collagraph process
My goal as a teacher is to empower artists and quiltmakers to find their unique voice and follow their vision.  I want to help you make work that is relevant to your life and your worldview, and have a grand time doing it!  With this video I bring my knowledge and experience right to you, where you can learn, and review, at your own pace. 

I’ll have more to share about Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt in the weeks to come, so stayed tuned.

To get a glimpse of what it was like to film the video, see my previous blog post here, or click on the QATV tab above.
Sue Reno, QATV Workshop,  filming set up
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.  And if you have a friend who would enjoy this Workshop, please pass along the news. Thanks!

September 24, 2014

The Garden at the Autumnal Equinox

Sue Reno, Locust Sapling
I posted in the spring about the big changes in my garden—taking down a huge locust tree, and revamping the vegetable plot.  The autumnal equinox is a good time to report in on how things evolved from there.  In a word—fantastic!  The tree, and the shade it provided, were missed, but opening up the garden to the full sun, and removing the competition from the tree roots, gave me my best garden success in many years. It also helped that I rototilled in a lot of compost, and that the weather was cooperative, with plenty of sun and rain.   As an aside, the locust did not give up the fight readily, sprouting small saplings from the root structure all over the yard. 
Sue Reno, Cherry Tomatoes The tomatoes were excellent.  No blight or disease, and a big crop of 6 different varieties for snacking and cooking.  They are still going strong.
Sue Reno, Japanese Eggplant The eggplants exploded.  I had several varieties, the round Italian types and the long Japanese, and they were both abundant, tender, and sweet without bitterness.Sue Reno, Eggplant Flowers They are still covered with blossoms, although at this point they have little chance of maturing into fruits.
Sue Reno, Eggplants Art Quilt Years ago I made a small art quilt with a cyanotype print of eggplants from that year’s garden.
Sue Reno, Rainbow Swiss Chard I planted two long rows of rainbow swiss chard and have been overwhelmed by it, in a good way.  I put it in (almost) everything I cook, and eat the small leaves raw.  It will last until hard frost and then I will miss it terribly. 
Sue Reno, Kentucky Wonder Beans I had both bush beans and Kentucky wonder pole beans.  The pole beans grew so enthusiastically that I fell behind in picking them, and quite frankly I grew a bit tired of beans.  So there are a lot of them there to shell out as soup beans, if I find the time and make the effort.
Sue Reno, The Organic Garden, Detail Kentucky wonder bean vines are a cyanotype feature on my art quilt The Organic Garden.
Sue Reno, Marigolds In the spring I randomly planted marigolds here and there in with the veggies, and they have flourished as well.
Sue Reno, Black Swallowtail Caterpillars
The fennel still has a few Black Swallowtail caterpillars feasting on it.  These latecomers to the party will go into chrysalis form to spend the winter.
Sue Reno, Canna Lily Flower Each year I plant tall red cannas.  The rhizomes are not hardy here in Pennsylvania, so I dig them and store them indoors over the winter.  This year I had a bunch of them crop up unexpectedly in a bed some distance away; my assumption is that squirrels buried some seed pods.  This is very unusual in my experience.  Their blooms are all different shades of reds and soft oranges, proof that genetics is a wonderful thing.
Sue Reno, Black Eyed Susan Flowers
In the landscape beds, the black eyed Susan flowers had a good year. They are starting to fade out in a blowsy, lovely manner.
Sue Reno, Pink Japanese anemone flowers The ever reliable Japanese anemones are putting on their fall show.
Sue Reno, The Organic Landscape, Detail They are a cyanotype feature on my art quilt The Organic Landscape.
Sue Reno, Sedum Autumn Joy
Equally reliable and beautiful are the stonecrops; this one is Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.
Sue Reno, Goldenrod with Bee And last but not least, here is some goldenrod.  It is NOT responsible for hay fever allergies, its pollen is heavy and not windblown.  (The culprit is ragweed, which blooms at the same time.)  It is covered with bees and wasps of all sorts during the day.  As the sun sets, and the air cools quickly, some of the bees just stop and stay put until morning.

I am not showing you the weeds that got away from me, and the various few things that did not do well this year. That is the gardener’s privilege, to focus on the beauty and the joy and the satisfaction of a job well done.  Those will keep me fulfilled through the long winter, dreaming of next year’s glories.

For ongoing, macro image coverage of the local flora and fauna, check out my Flickr page.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting!

September 4, 2014

The White Cliffs of Conoy

Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 1 The White Cliffs of Conoy are the remnants of old limestone and dolomite mines in the area near Bainbridge, PA. The mine tailings were piled up in mounds 60 ft. high.
Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 2
The formations are next to the Susquehanna River.
Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 3  There’s a full, and fascinating, story about the formations in the local newspaper.
Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 4
It was closed to the public until just a few weeks ago, so we jumped on the chance to go see it. 
Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 5 Along with the odd beauty of the cliffs, the main attraction is the view of the Susquehanna from the top.
Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 6
Looking down, you can see and hear the Haldeman Riffles in the water.
Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 7
There are deep chasms between the formations.
Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 8
Parking is at the boat launch in Bainbridge, and there’s a newly paved 1.5 mile trail to the site. Along the way there are ruins of the once-thriving village and factories that accompanied the mines.
Sue Reno, The White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 9 All of these images were taken with a fisheye lens on my iPhone.  I did break out the macro lens for this image of mullien flowers,Verbascum thapsus.
Sue Reno, mullien buds, macro image
I’ve made a series of quilts about the Susquehanna River, including In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs.  Now I’m thinking about the imagery and possibilities of these white cliffs. 
In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs, by Sue Reno
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.