February 7, 2016

52 Ways to Look at the River, Update 5

Weeks 1 - 32, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Weeks 1 - 32, 52 Ways to Look at the River
 Time flies when you are having fun!  I am up to week 32 in my year long, self directed project, 52 Ways to Look at the River.  Every week I travel to a locale along the Susquehanna River and take a picture.  That image provides the inspiration for a fiber art panel.  The panels are 6" x 12", and are mainly needlefelted with wool and silk, with added detailing by stitch and applique (no fusing).  In the photo above they are informally pinned on a foam board.  I am still mulling over the possibilities for the final presentation.


What I've learned so far:
*The focus and discipline required to stay on track is considerable, but very worthwhile.
*My skills in this format are increasing exponentially
*The unplanned progression from abstract to detailed representation continues unabated.
*I am grateful for a deep and wide stash of fabric and materials that I can pull from as needed.
*My initial goal of spending 90 minutes fabricating each panel has gone out the window: my average time now is 3 hours.
*The interest and support shown for the project is very gratifying, and helps to keep me on track.  Thank you!.

Here are the individual panels for weeks 25 - 32:
Week 25, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 25, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 26, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 26, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 27, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 27, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 28, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 28, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 29, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 29, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 30, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 30, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 31, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 31, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 32, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 32, 52 Ways to Look at the River
The weather for the most part was unseasonably warm this fall and early winter, and I was beginning to despair of getting any snow and ice images.  A huge snowfall two weeks ago laid that concern to rest, and I had to fight my way down to the river for the last two shots.  Here's the inspiration image for week 32, where a channel opened up in the ice:
You can track back this project by clicking on the "52 Ways to Look at the River" tab at the top.  I also invite you to follow along each week on your platform of choice:
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: sue_reno_studio

As always, thanks for reading and commenting!

January 24, 2016

Limestone Kiln and Breezyview

We went out last week to a newly opened section of the Northwest River Trial, starting in Columbia PA. The first bit skirts an industrial section of the city, but it soon opens up into the woods. A gorgeous old limestone kiln provides plenty of photo opportunities.



Here's the fisheye view from the interior looking up:
More fisheye views:

The newly opened section joins up with the existing trail system at the old Point Rock Railroad tunnel.
A detail shot of the wall face, with lichen and heuchera:
This section of the trail is separated from the river by the railroad tracks, and doesn't offer any good direct views.  We considered climbing up to the Breezyview Overlook, but it had started snowing and the the hillside was very slippery, so we backtracked and drove up to it.
The Susquehanna was particularly beautiful seen through the light veil of snow.
I chose this shot as the weekly image for my 52 Ways to Look at the River project.
Here's the panel for week 30. I loved working with the monochrome palette:
Read more about the project by clicking the 52 Ways tab at the top, and follow along with me each week on your platform of choice:
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: sue_reno_studio

January 22, 2016

Cyanotype article in Quilting Arts Magazine


Quilting Arts, Cyanotype Article by Sue Reno, Image 1

I'm pleased to share that I have an article in the current issue of  Quilting Arts Magazine, Issue 79, Feb.-Mar. 2016.  

Quilting Arts, Cyanotype Article by Sue Reno, Image 2
I was asked to review Jacquard's new line of cyanotype products, including pre-cut and pre-treated fabric sheets, and a kit for treating your own fabric  In the review I walk you through the steps involved in making a successful cyanotype print on fabric. One of the reasons I love the process so much is that it's relatively easy for a beginner to pick up, but holds endless possibilities for the experienced artist.  

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno

I made a lot of test prints with what was currently blooming in my garden, and I had such good results that I was inspired to make an art quilt with them.  Japanese Anemone features prints on both silk and cotton, made directly from the plant and from digital images. 

Sue Reno selfie

Since the focus of this issue is on portrait quilts, editor Vivika Hansen DeNegre asked if I could print a selfie as a cyanotype.  What a fun assignment!  I stepped outside on a warm fall day and snapped this. I tried to exaggerate my features a bit so the details wouldn't get lost in the print.
Sue Reno selfie negative
 I turned the image into a greyscale negative, and printed it out onto a acetate transparency sheet.

Sue Reno selfie cyanotype
 I laid the transparency on a piece of treated fabric, did a timed exposure, and voila!

You can learn how to do this, and more, with the tips I share in the article.  And of course, the entire issue is filed with both eye candy and great information.

And don't forget I have a Quilting Arts Workshop Video available as a DVD or download, where I show you in detail the cyanotype process and other surface design essentials.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting!

January 16, 2016

Work accepted for AQS Lancaster Quiltweek

I am excited to announce that both of my entries were accepted for this year's AQS Lancaster Quiltweek event.

In Dreams I Learned to Swim, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Learned to Swim
In Dreams I Learned to Swim is a homage to my beloved Susquehanna River.  It's a large quilt, at 60"high by 80" wide, and features a needlefelted and stitched panel centered on a background quilt made from my hand printed and painted fabrics.  It spent last summer at the State Museum of Pennsylvania as part of the Art of the State exhibit.  If any of my local friends missed it there, or want to revisit it, here's your chance.

In Dreams I Learned to Swim, by Sue Reno, detail

Japanese Anemone is my latest work, just revealed on my last blog post. It features cyanotype prints, vintage embroidery, and hand painted and commercial fabrics.  It's 40"h x 46"w.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno
Japanese Anemone
The AQS Quiltweek event will be held at the Lancaster County Convention Center from March 16 - 19, 2016.  It's my hometown show, so I am thrilled and honored to once again have the opportunity to be a part of it.  Perhaps I'll see you there!

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail
Fun fact--The Convention Center and Marriott Hotel were built on the site of the former Watt & Shand department store in center city Lancaster, PA, and the gorgeous facade of that building was painstakingly preserved and incorporated into the new complex.  I spent several years obsessively taking photos of the construction project and turning them into a series of 10 art quilts. You can view them on my website in my Structures gallery, and read all about the works in progress and their subsequent travels by clicking on the Watt & Shand tab in the top header.

Watt & Shand #1, by Sue Reno
Watt & Shand #1

January 15, 2016

New Work - Japanese Anemone

I am happy to share my latest work, Japanese Anemone.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno

It's built around cyanotype prints I made of the flowers and leaves last autumn. One of the wonderful things about this long-lived perennial is its habit of blooming late in the year, when the delicate pink or white flowers are especially appreciated. Everywhere else in the garden, things are beginning to brown and break down for their winter dormancy, so that's the dynamic I worked on capturing for this artquilt.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 1

The above print was made directly from the leaves and flowers, onto silk noil that I treated with cyanotype chemicals.  The silk has an appealing nubby texture. The other cyanotype prints are from my digital photos of the flowers, turned into transparencies. After printing I hand tinted them.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 2
The patchwork is made from my own hand painted fabrics, combined with commercial silks and cottons. The bluebirds of happiness are vintage embroideries from my collection.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 3
This piece is 40" high by 46" wide.

Enjoy! And as always, thanks for reading and commenting.

January 14, 2016

Work in Progress - Magnolia, Update 3

I know that many of you are interested in process, so here's some photos of how my Magnolia artquilt is progressing 



 I finished the needlefelting on the panel, then added batting and a white cotton backing to prepare it for quilting. This back will will covered by a facing, then layered onto a supporting quilt, so the knots and loose ends will all be covered. Even so, you can see that I am a intrinsically neat and methodical quilter.



The strips that I showed in the last update were cut and reassembled to into what will be a supporting quilt for the needlefelted panel. That luscious burgundy and pink panel is a piece of cotton sateen I hand painted.



 I also hand painted another piece of sateen for the backing of the supporting quilt. The weather was extraordinarily mild for early winter, so I was able to drape it outside to dry. The metal mesh of the garden furniture adds extra patterning as the fabric dries. This will be an artquilt/wall piece, so in theory no one sees the back when it is hanging, but I see it quite a bit as I'm working on it, and it makes me happy to make it look good.

At the last minute I decided that the needlefelted panel needed more definition, so I took the time to add some hand beadwork to it. There's really no rushing these things....



I'm working on the quilting of the supporting quilt now and hope to have the whole thing finished soon.  Stay tuned!

To track this work back, and see it's inception in the PA Governor's garden, click on "Magnolia" in the right sidebar, or go here.

December 27, 2015

Holtwood Dam, the Norman Wood Bridge, and 52 Weeks

This week's Susquehanna River adventure took us to the Holtwood Dam area in southern Lancaster and York Counties in Pennsylvania.  Above is the dam from the Face Rock overlook in Martic Township.  Adjacent to the dam and hydroelectric plant is a steam generator plant that originally depended on dredged coal that washed down river from inefficient mining practices in the anthracite coal region..
Above is another view of the dam and facilities from the York County side.  The river level was very low on this day.  Below is a distance view of the Norman Wood Bridge spanning the river.
The area around the dam has several hiking trails for exploring the river hills.  Below is a shelter and fire pit on the Boy Scout Trail.
There are also some well preserved remnants of a once extensive canal system that paralleled the river.  Here is a portion of Lock 12.
The Norman Wood Bridge, circa 1968, was closed for a time in the fall when an inspection revealed a significant crack. The bridge inspection had been moved up from the spring in order to avoid disturbing nesting peregrine falcons.  It has since been repaired and reopened.
We were there early on a Sunday afternoon, and there were many Amish families out travelling in their buggies.  From our vantage point exploring below the bridge, the horse's hoofs and the steel wheels on the buggies were surprisingly loud and resonant.
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 26 Image
This view of the bridge and its reflection on the water became my inspiration photo for week 26 in my ongoing project, 52 Ways to Look at the River.  I really enjoyed the challenge of making a fiber art interpretation of this complicated image.  This marks the halfway point of the project and it's been a great success in terms of goal setting and productivity for me.
52 Ways to Look at the River, week 26 Panel
I've added a 52 Weeks tab to the header so you can track back the project to date.  You can also follow my weekly updates on your platform of choice:
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: sue_reno_studio

As always, thanks for reading and commenting!