February 21, 2017

Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts Jury 2017

2017 CPFA Jurors
L-R Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Executive Director Rick Bryant, Jim BovĂ©, Sue Reno, Jay Gould, Naomi Cleary
I've just had the pleasure of serving on the jury for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.  Held each summer in State College, PA, the Sidewalk Sale is "consistently ranked as one of the top outdoor fine art and fine craft shows in the nation...Each year more than three hundred exhibitors offer a wide variety of objects for sale including baskets, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, painting, photography, and wearable art."

Executive Director Rick Bryant, the staff, and volunteers have been running this show for many years, and function as the proverbial well-oiled machine. We jurors spent two days reviewing and ranking the images and information submitted by applicants to the show. This jury panel has a wealth of experience in various fine craft disciplines, and we were very careful and considerate in our deliberations. It's going to be an excellent and well balanced show! The jurors will return in July to walk the show, visit each booth, and award the prizes.  

I was also a CPFA juror in 2011, and was honored to be asked to return. I love this kind of work, and feel that I am good at it. If you are an artist who regularly applies to exhibits and opportunities, as I am, it's good to sometimes be on the other side of the equation. I never take a "declined" notice personally. I can tell you that on every jury I've ever served on, the jurors have been ethical, unbiased, and fair. 

February 14, 2017

Life Along the River

The Longest Day, detail, by Sue Reno
The Longest Day, detail
I'm having a solo show of my work at the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Gallery at Marketview Arts, 37 West Philadelphia St., York, PA.  The exhibit opens with a reception on Friday, March 3rd from 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. I will be giving an Artist Talk on Saturday, March 25th.
The Longest Day, by Sue Reno
The Longest Day
Sue Reno: Life Along the River, will feature my narrative art quilts depicting the Susquehanna River and its environs. There will be several works making their exhibit debut, including The Longest Day, a celebration of the summer solstice, as experienced by the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna..  It includes wool and silk fibers, cyanotypes on cotton, digital prints on cotton, needlefelting, hand embroidery, machine stitching, hand beadwork with seed beads and semi-precious stones.  Size is 77"h x 49"w.

I'll be posting more of the work that will be in Life Along the River in the coming weeks before the exhibit opens. I hope many of my local friends will be able to attend.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

February 6, 2017

James Webb Space Telescope -Luminosity

Luminosity, by Sue Reno, for #JWSTArt
I'm pleased to share my finished artwork for the James Webb Space Telescope Artist Project, Luminosity.

Luminosity, detail 1, by Sue Reno, for #JWSTArt
Luminosity, detail 1
 In November of 2016 I was one of a group of  22 wonderfully diverse artists selected nationwide to attend the James Webb Space Telescope Artist Event  at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

I had the opportunity to meet and interact with engineers, technicians and other team members from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s next-generation space observatory, tour Goddard's Integration and Test facility, see the world's largest clean room facility, and see the James Webb Space Telescope itself.  I had time to sit in front of the mirror and create, which I spent hand stitching silk hexagons for my representation of the golden mirror. Back in the studio, I worked on creating a large art quilt. I've documented the visit and the work in progress here on my blog. To read all the posts, click on the James Webb Space Telescope tab in the header, or go here.
Luminosity, detail 2, by Sue Reno, for #JWSTArt
Luminosity, detail 2
 My official statement for this artwork:
Hexagons are a perennial motif in quilts. I began stitching the silk hexagons representing the mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope on site at NASA Goddard. Cyanotype dates from the 1840s as a pioneering photography process; these and the colored dye prints were developed outdoors using UV rays from the sun. The border image is from the other end of the photo technology spectrum, taken with a fisheye lens on an iPhone and digitally printed. The needle felted center panel is made with minimally processed wool and silk fibers and modern mylar strands. It is my depiction of the early luminosity, going back 13.5 billion years, which the telescope will be able to detect.

Luminosity, detail 3, by Sue Reno, for #JWSTArt
Luminosity, detail 3
 The work includes hand-stitched silk hexagons, needlefelting with wool, silk, and mylar, hand beadwork with semi-precious stones, cyanotypes and solar dye prints on cotton, digital prints on cotton, silk and cotton patchwork, stitching.  The size is 60"h x 74"w.

Luminosity, detail 4, by Sue Reno, for #JWSTArt
Luminosity, detail 4
All of the artwork for this project will be on display at the NASA Goddard Visitor Center this spring.  I will have dates and details to pass along soon.

And as always, thanks for reading and commenting.

January 25, 2017

Silk Mill #1 accepted for Contemporary Crafts Exhibit

Silk Mill #1, by Sue Reno
Silk Mill #1
 I'm pleased to announce that Silk Mill #1 has been accepted for the 38th Annual Contemporary Craft Exhibit at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in Mesa, AZ.  The juror is Stefanie Kirkland. The exhibit runs February 10 through April 23, 2017
Silk Mill #1, by Sue Reno, detail 1
 This was the first in a set of three works I made about the former Ashley and Bailey Silk Mill in Columbia, PA.  The building had an interesting history, and was used as a garment factory into the 1970's, but then fell into disarray.  I took pictures of the magnificent ruin just before it was re-purposed into the Turkey Hill Experience, a tourist site.  You can track back and read all about the series by clicking here.
Silk Mill #1, by Sue Reno, detail 2
Silk Mill #1 features screen prints on cotton, digital images on silk, artist-painted and commercial silk and cotton fabrics, and is heavily machine stitched.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

January 16, 2017

James Webb Space Telescope - Artwork in Progress II

JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, green nebula
I'm documenting the work I'm doing, making an art quilt made in response to my visit last November to the James Webb Space Telescope at the NASA Goddard Space Center.  If you missed it earlier, you can read about it in Part 1, Part 2, and Artwork in Progress.

The center portion of the quilt is a panel depicting my interpretation of what the telescope will be able to detect and record. It will look back in time almost to the Big Bang, so the possibilities for discovery are immense. I used a needlefelting technique with yarn and wool roving to create galaxy swirls, and a mix of fiber techniques to make various nebula, which I then enhanced with semi-precious stones. It was an enormous lot of fun and I'm excited about the results.

JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, blue nebula

For the borders of the background quilt, I took my fisheye photo of the telescope in the clean room, edited it, and had it printed on cotton yardage. A side note--I've never done a self portrait, was never really interested in doing so, but I was inordinately pleased when I realized that I can see myself, dressed in black and holding my cell phone in front of my face,  reflected on the right in the mirror.  
JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, printed fabric
This quilt has grown large--60" h x 74" wide--and I needed a piece of cloth for the back of it. I took a chance on a mild-ish winter day and went outside to paint some swirls and stars and let them develop character as they dried on the driveway. When the work is done and hanging the back is not evident. but I see it a lot as I'm doing the quilting and it makes me happy to make it special. You can see how well the stitching is coming along in this view of it.
JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, painted and stitched back
So, what with the cyanotype from the last post, the golden silk hexagons, the needlefelted galaxies, and the digital fisheye prints, it would seem there are a lot of disparate elements at play here. But making order of chaos is what I do, so please trust that it is all coming together. I have a few details to finish up, and I'll need to do the photography, and then will be able to reveal the whole work (hopefully) soon. Stay tuned!

Also! Plans are being firmed up for an exhibit of all the #JWSTArt artworks at the Visitors Center at NASA Goddard beginning in March. I am even more excited about seeing all the other work as I am about finishing mine.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

December 29, 2016

Art Quilt added to the Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection

In Dreams I Flew Over the River, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Flew Over the River
I am very happy to announce that In Dreams I Flew Over the River is now a permanent part of the Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection, housed in the Zimmerman Center for Heritage.  It's been on loan to the collection for several years, while funds were raised for its purchase.
Rob Evans, Sue Reno, Mark Platts at Zimmerman Center
That purchase is now complete, thanks to the efforts of Rob Evans (l), Curator, Mark Platts (r), President, and Betsy Buckingham, Development and Outreach Director.
In Dreams I Flew Over the River at Zimmerman Center for Heritage
I truly can't imagine a better home for this artwork.  The goals of the Zimmerman Center are perfectly in tune with my goals and aspirations in creating my river-themed pieces.  The Center has recently been designated by the National Park Service as a Visitor Contact Station for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, adding to its prestige and visibility. The other works in the Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection are magnificent and significant, and I am both proud and humbled to have my work join them. If you find yourself in the Lancaster/York County part of Pennsylvania, be sure to view the Collection, hike the trail, and check out the other attractions that comprise the Susquehanna Heritage.
Zimmerman Center for Heritage, Susquehanna River
Above is the Zimmerman Center building, with its great view of the Susquehanna; below is a fisheye image of the river with choppy ice forming.

Susquehanna River at Zimmerman Center, fisheye
Below is another fisheye image of some cattails growing on the banks of the river:
Cattails, Susquehanna River at Zimmerman Center, fisheye
And here's a panorama of the Susquehanna, with chunky ice and swooping clouds.  Click to enlarge for maximum appreciation:
Susquehanna River, Zimmerman Center, panorama
Did you know--In Dreams I Flew Over the River began as a literal dream?  I've lived near the Susquehanna most of my life, and it apparently features heavily in both my conscious and subconscious mind.  I woke from a dream one day with this imagery and theme very vividly apparent, and was driven to stop everything and make this art quilt.  You can track back the story by clicking here.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

December 1, 2016

James Webb Space Telescope - Artwork in Progress

JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, pieced silk mirror
I've started on the art quilt I am constructing in response to my amazing visit last month to the James Webb Space Telescope at the NASA Goddard Space Center.  If you missed it earlier, you can read all about it in Part 1 and Part 2.

I finished hand stitching the silk hexagons that comprise my "mirror".  It was very satisfying work.

I chose one of the photos I took at the Artist Event, edited it, and switched it to a greyscale, negative image.  I printed it out on an acetate sheet in preparation for printmaking on fabric.
JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, negative image

I often work with the cyanotype process.  It was developed in the mid 1800's as one of the first photographic processes.  Anna Atkins used it for scientific illustration of botanical specimens, a technological marvel of its time.  I liked the idea of using this older technology in my work about  cutting-edge technology, as a way of expressing the continuity of scientific progress.  

Here I began by coating cotton fabric with the cyanotype chemical solution and letting it dry in darkroom conditions.  I masked the fabric with the acetate transparency sheet, then exposed it to sunlight (UV light) for a timed exposure.  After exposure, I rinsed the fabric to develop the Prussian blue color on the print. 
JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, cyanotype printing
 I also used the same image to make prints with a UV developed dye in several different colors.
JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, Solarfast printing
This was a "don't try this at home, kids" type of situation.  Ideally I do my printmaking in the summer months, when the sunshine is reliable and the temperatures are warm.  Working in November with the sun low in the sky and cooler temperatures was challenging, but this was not my first time at this particular rodeo, and I lucked out on some decent weather.  I caught a few sunny hours mid-day to enjoy a frenzy of printmaking:
JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, outdoor printmaking
 And I was happy with the results.  These prints will be individually layered and stitched as a step towards assembling the larger work.
JWST, Sue Reno, Work in Progress, variety of prints

Stay tuned!  And as always, thanks for reading and commenting.

November 6, 2016

Artist Event at James Webb Space Telescope - Part 2

JWSTArt Event, James Webb Space Telescope mirrors
In Part 1, I posted about the experience of attending the James Webb Space Telescope Artist Event and shared my pictures of the event and my tour of the facility. Here I will share how I approached the event artistically and the beginnings of the work I intend to make in response.
JWSTArt Event, James Webb Space Telescope in clean room
The main feature of the telescope I wanted to focus on is the most obvious one, the beautiful gold plated mirrors. The hexagon is a universal shape in nature and in antiquity, with countless examples ranging from the structure of beehives to mosaic tile patterns. It's a structurally strong shape, hence its use in the telescope. Relevant to my vocation as a fiber artist, hexagons are a perennial theme in quilt designs, and are currently very trendy, turning up in everything from traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts to more innovative and cutting edge work.

Working in fiber for a plein air or live paint event is a bit different for a fiber artist than for a painter. My work is time consuming, and partially dependent on the machinery in my studio. So I can't show up for an event with a blank canvas, or blank fabric, and hope to accomplish anything significant in a few hours. I've prepped for plein air events by preparing a foundation for needlefelting with wool roving, and that's worked out well, but it produces softly edged designs. Here I wanted a more hard edged, manufactured look.
JWSTArt Event, Sue Reno, Fiber art kit
I prepped by cutting a bunch of 2 inch hexagons out of pellon, a slightly stiff synthetic non-woven material. I covered them with gold silk and basted it down on the back side. The silk is from Mysore, India, brought back from adventures abroad. In my opinion it is the finest silk in the world, handwoven on human operated looms. The warp is black silk, and the woof is gold threads, producing "shot" silk that shimmers in different ways when viewed from different angles.

I also flirted with the idea of crocheting galaxy forms from cotton and wool threads, and prepped for that as well. I didn't end up using that idea on site, but I may return to it.
JWSTArt Event, Sue Reno, silk hexagons, image 1
At the event, I found myself a spot on the floor next to the viewing window, and looked at the telescope while listening to the speakers explain the mission and technology involved. I began hand stitching the hexagons together to mimic the forms of the mirrors on the telescope.
JWSTArt Event, Sue Reno, silk hexagons, image 2
It was a very chaotic--in the best possible way--scene. Lot of new people, new information, a crowded room, and a stunning and almost visually overwhelming technological marvel to look at in close proximity. I kept myself grounded, literally and figuratively, by doing what I often do, centering in the meditative aspects of doing repetitive work with my hands.

Also currently trending in the fiberart/textile world is the idea of slow stitching. It's akin to the slow food movement; the idea that in a world that requires a quick response time in most of our activities, we benefit from slowing down and focusing on meaningful activity. I've instinctively done this from a very young age, so muscle memory largely controls my movements and my stitching proceeds almost on its own accord.
JWSTArt Event, Sue Reno, silk hexagons, image 3
I got nine hexagons connected before stopping to go on the tour of the facility. It's significant to me that the work was actually begun on site. I am still working through my photos and impressions of the event, and considering how to proceed.

JWSTArt Event, Sue Reno, silk hexagons, image 4
I will document and share the process here and on social media as it unfolds.
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/suerenostudio
Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/suereno
Tumblr: http://suerenostudio.tumblr.com
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/people/suereno/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sue_reno_studio/

JWSTArt Event, Sue Reno, end of day
Here's the group of happy artists, at the end of the day, posing for the best ever Jazz Hands picture:
JWSTArt Event, group photo with jazz hands
You can follow the group activity  @NASAWebb on Twitter and Instagram, and use the hashtag #JWSTArt to see updates as they happen from the artists.  Follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/webbtelescope
 There's an unofficial storify at https://storify.com/JWSTFan/jwst-artist-event

I will leave you for now with this gorgeous fisheye view of the telescope: