I am very pleased to reveal my latest work, Ice Jam. It’s my distillation of many visits to the Susquehanna River in the depths of winter, when multiple freeze/thaw cycles have transformed it into a jumble of slabs and chunks of ice. The ice piles up on the islands and spills out onto the riverbanks.
The center panel of this work is needlefelted, with silk and wool fabric and fibers. It is stitched and extensively hand beaded with semi-precious stones and seed beads. (All the pictures enlarge when clicked.) The surrounding and supporting quilt is made from collagraph prints onto cotton, along with strips of patchwork.
The finished work is 43”high by 52” wide.
I’m happy with the way all the elements of Ice Jam came together. It’s very evocative of the experience of visiting the river on a bitterly cold day—a bit surreal and potential treacherous!
To track back the evolution of this work, and see the pictures that inspired it, click on Ice Jam on the sidebar, or go here.
Thanks for following along, and comments are always welcome.
I just noticed that this is post #500. I don't do it for the numbers, but it still seems significant. I'm happy so many of you have been along for the journey.
February 16, 2015
Bitter cold, various types of frozen precipitation, and intense winds are shaping my experience of the world this month. The Susquehanna River has frozen over, once again transforming the landscape. It’s a good time to be in the studio, with the warmth of the coal fire, and finish up with Ice Jam.
I finalized the design and pieced together the supporting quilt, using the collagraph prints and strips of patchwork. The center portion is plain fabric, as it will be covered by the needlefelted river center panel.
It’s definitely coming together at this point. The background quilt is being layered and stitched, and the center panel is getting lots of handbeadwork. Stay tuned for the reveal!
To see the evolution of this work in progress, and pictures of the Susquehanna River ice that inspired it, click on Ice Jam in the sidebar, or go here.
January 26, 2015
The Susquehanna River ice at this point is widely variable, thin in places, with open water, and thick and chunky in other spots. This set of images from the area around York Haven, PA, illustrate all the variables.
We saw two brave and intrepid, and hopefully well prepared and experienced souls portaging their kayaks across the ice, testing the thickness as they went.
They reached open water and struck out into the river.
The river was up over its banks in spots, and partially frozen. The portage goes around the York Haven Dam and the York Haven Hydroelectric Plant.
I heard them calling, then looked up and spotted a bald eagle soaring:
Its mate was waiting in the trees:
The area around the Plant is open to the public, for portage and fishing, and there is a lot of interesting and photographic stuff on site.
Any hints as to the original pu
rpose of these objects would be appreciated.
Where the dam backed up the river, the ice was arrayed in incredible formations of chunks and plates, all jumbled up together.
The trip and images have provided further inspiration for my River series of art quilts.
All of these images enlarge when cllicked, and are up on my Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/suereno/
January 22, 2015
The Susquehanna River has partially frozen over, and we went out to take a look.
We visited some old favorites and some new photo op sites, all on the York County, Pennsylvania side of the river.
The Veterans Memorial Bridge, crossing from Columbia to Wrightsville, is definitely a continuing theme. I've photographed it countless times, and made artwork featuring it. We made a side trip to another favorite site, the Codorus Forge Furnace, on the Codorus Creek that feeds into the river.
It was especially beautiful this day, partially covered with ice and glistening in the weak winter sun.
The moss and lichen coating the stonework was in high relief.
The brick superstructure , with ice, and a backdrop of bare trees: Veering back towards the river, we passed the Brunner Island Steam Electric Station.
It’s a coal fired plant built in the 1960s.
The politics of its continued operation are complicated, as per this article in the local paper.
It’s surrounded by giant heaps of coal, brought in by rail, and large piles of ash.
Up next: a lot more ice.
January 3, 2015
What a great way to start a new year! I’m pleased to announce that Jack in the Pulpit has been accepted for the American Quilter’s Society show, March 11-14, at the Lancaster County Convention, Lancaster, PA.
This is my hometown show, so I will look forward to attending it. It’s a great opportunity to visit and catch up with many of my friends in the quilt world, and to admire the quilts in the exhibits.
Jack in the Pulpit is a large quilt, 5 feet high by 6 feet wide, so it will hold its own in the expo center. It’s a tour-de-force of my printmaking skills, with cyanotypes, heliographic monoprints, and digital prints from my original photographs. It has complex free form piecing of hand-painted and commercial silks and cottons, and is intensively stitched. Like most fiberart, it really needs to be seen in person to enjoy all the subtleties of texture and color.
Jack in the Pulpit is an interesting and striking native plant; this specimen volunteered in my garden, in my currant bed, and it took me two years to make the prints because I didn't want to weaken it by harvesting too many leaves at one time. I worked on the quilt, off and on, for a few more years….making art is not always a linear process!
January 2, 2015
Spring Thaw is finished and ready to go to a new home. It’s my contribution to Virginia Spiegel’s ACS Fundraiser The 100. This brilliantly conceived event opens on February 4th. The first 100 patrons to sign up and contribute $100 will receive a randomly selected original artwork, made and donated by invited artists. The money raised will put the total for Fiberart for a Cause at a cool quarter million dollars. For a preview of the outstanding work made to date, check the Pinterest page graciously curated by Deborah Boschert here.
Spring Thaw is 9” high x 11”wide. The river in the center is needlefelted with layers and layers of roving, silk and wool scraps, and threads. The river banks are needlefelted and stitched, and I added hand beadwork to the banks. It’s signed on the back, and I’ve included a rod pocket to make hanging it easy; it would also look great framed. (All pictures enlarge when clicked.)
This piece began as part of my demonstration when filming for Quilting Arts TV last spring. You can read more about it, and see examples of my other river-themed work, in my previous post here. I don’t usually work in this size format, so it’s a very nice opportunity for a lucky collector to own a smaller piece.
Great art, a great price, and a great cause—it’s a win all around! Mark your calendar and join in on the fun.
December 17, 2014
It’s a hectic time of year, and my studio time is fractured. I like having a hand embroidery project available so that when I have a few spare minutes I can busy my hands, clear my head, and feel like I've accomplished something non-seasonal. This silver maple heliographic print is serving that purpose right now. I printed it on a hemp/silk blend fabric that has a slight texture and a crisp feel to it. It’s wonderful to work on. I”m using three strands of DMC cotton embroidery thread.
And since I’m old-school when it comes to embroidery, the back is (almost) as neat as the front. There are no knots in the thread and all the ends are woven into the work. This will eventually get layered and quilted, and then no one will ever see the back again, but it brings me pleasure to work this way.
December 9, 2014
Early this year I was honored to film for Quilting Arts TV series 1400, with Susan Brubaker Knapp as the host. For one my segments, I demonstrated my method of combining needlefelting with other techniques to create a river landscape. I’ve used this method on several of my latest works in The River series, including If I Woke at Dawn:
and In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs:
I prepared a lot of “step-outs” for the shoot, showing the progression of steps needed to achieve the result. Most of these I was able to recycle back into my stash or works in progress, but the final example, shown above, deserved a higher purpose.
I will be adding more stitching, texture, and embellishment, and donating it to one lucky (randomly selected) bidder in Virginia Spiegel’s excellent fundraiser for the ACS, The 100. Details on how it all works, and the list of the other 99 amazing contributing artists, can be found here.
Mark your calendars for February 4 for your chance to contribute to a good cause and own a unique work of fiber art.