October 13, 2017

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 12

Wet Cyanotype_Sue Reno_Image 170
One last round of wet cyanotype prints to finish out my printmaking summer! September here in Pennsylvania was mostly hot, dry, and sunny. I had no shortage of plants and flowers to print with. I did have an onslaught of other projects and deadlines, but I still worked in a bit of fun. The yellow gladiola, above, was the last of the season.
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Here is a delicate painted fern frond. This and the gladiola were done with just water, on cotton sateen.
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The days were warm, but the there were many less hours of sunshine then when I started this experiment in June, and I noticed I was not getting as much of a color shift. So for the rest of these I added a spritz of diluted washing soda around the edges to push the process a bit. Those are two Japanese anemone leaves with a fern, above. I also added a spritz of diluted red textile paint to most of these.
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Poke,  Phitolacca americana, is one of my favorite wild plants to admire as I assiduously weed it out of my gardens. The birds love the berries and spread them all about. I also love the berries--used to make "ink" with them as a child--and was curious to see what would happen with them in a wet cyanotype print. They have a lot of color, but it's a "fugitive" dye that's generally not permanent.

Here's Poke Salad, the art quilt with the very first cyanotype print I ever made. I was immediately addicted to the process:

Poke Salad, by Sue Reno
Poke Salad, by Sue Reno
Below are two sweetgum leaves ready to print:
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And here's Sweetgum in Autumn. I've been working with the plants in my environment for a long time, and I discover a new perspective every time I take a fresh look.
Sweetgum in Autumn, by Sue Reno
Sweetgum in Autumn, by Sue Reno
Finally, here's some marigolds. They've been spectacular in the garden this year.
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Here are the prints after roughly 24 hours exposure, before being rinsed out. I love them at this stage, partly because it's so transitory. The glad is looking good.
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This painted fern print is very delicate and tenuous at this stage.
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But the same type of fern is much more assertive here:
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The ripe poke berries bled out their color and were quite brilliant in the first hour or so of the exposure, then the color cooked out and mostly faded. Still, a cool aurora effect happened:
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There's a lot going on with these sweetgum leaves:
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Flowers are the trickiest things to print with this process so far in my experience, but I am heartened at the first look at these marigolds:
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And here are the rinsed, finished prints. The gladiola print is quite good:
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This fern is still tenuous, but has a lot of potential for stitch work:
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I'm kind of crazy about this one:
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I'm a bit ambivalent about this:
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With a little definition of the edges with stitching, this will be spectacular:
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And I love the halo effect the blossoms made as they shrank up in the sun.
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So all in all, a good finish to my summer of wet cyanotype printmaking! I am already doing the preliminary work on using many of these in more art quilts, which is my ultimate goal in making them. I have very much enjoyed the process of documenting my experiments here on my blog, and really appreciate all the lovely feedback I've received. You can review all 12 posts in reverse chronological order by clicking the Wet Cyanotype tab in the top header, or click here.


And a reminder that I also post on social media:
Facebook page:http://www.facebook.com/suerenostudio
Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/suereno
Tumblr: http://suerenostudio.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sue_reno_studio/

October 9, 2017

Flora, Fauna and Flow - Solo Show

I am thrilled and honored to announce my solo show, Flora, Fauna and Flow, is now open at the Olewine Gallery of the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg, PA.
Flora, Fauna and Flow, exhibit by Sue Reno, image 1
 The exhibit is comprised of 30 of my art quilts, related to the theme of plant life, animal life, and the Susquehanna River. It's a rare opportunity to see this many of my quilts in one place.
Flora, Fauna and Flow, exhibit by Sue Reno, image 2
 These pictures are from the installation last week--the signage, etc. is not in place, but you can get a sense of how spacious and wonderfully lit the gallery space is. It's the perfect setting for my work.
Flora, Fauna and Flow, exhibit by Sue Reno, image 3
 The exhibit has a nice long run, through December 31, 2017. Hours and directions are on the website. It's a 30 minute drive north of Harrisburg, PA through pretty country.
Flora, Fauna and Flow, exhibit by Sue Reno, image 4

I'd love to see you at the reception on Saturday, October 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Olewine Gallery. The event is free, but please register by calling 717-692-3699, or email smartin@nedsmithcenter.org. There will be refreshments.


Flora, Fauna and Flow, exhibit by Sue Reno, image 5
And you can make a day of it! Located on the outskirts of historic Millersburg, the Ned Smith Center Lands and Trails encompass more than 500 acres of forest and meadow that stretch from the scenic Wiconisco Creek to the top of Berry's Mountain. The land includes a mature hardwood forest alive with deer, bear, wild turkey, grouse and fox, along with hundreds of species of songbirds, insects and reptiles.

Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art

Here's a quick video I took while working on the installation--what a wonderful space the Olewine Gallery is!

Here's the press release with all the details:

Flora, Fauna and Flow
Contemporary Quilts – Inspired by Nature
Presented by Sue Reno


Sue Reno is an award winning fiber artist who lives and works in Lancaster County, PA. Her rich and intricate art quilts reflect her local environment and incorporate imagery drawn from her studies of botany, wildlife, and the Susquehanna River.

 Sue grew up in central PA, with a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage that valued self-reliance and a strong work ethic. She began sewing at a young age, making clothing and then quilts from the dressmaking scraps. Her early quilts were traditional, giving her an excellent grounding in sound craftsmanship.

But quilts have always followed fashion and reflected the trends and technologies of the times. Sue began incorporating modern design elements into her quilts, and moved them from the bed onto the wall. Today she employs surface design techniques including cyanotype, mono printing, digital image transfer, and needle felting as the basis for works that also incorporate hand painted fabrics, hand and machine stitching, and beadwork.


For Flora, Fauna and Flow, Sue is exhibiting a large group of quilts from her ongoing textile explorations. Flora is represented by quilts depicting plants from the garden and leaves collected in the woods. Jack in the Pulpit was inspired by a specimen that volunteered in a flowerbed. She printed photographs of it, and made cyanotypes and monoprints directly from the leaves, harvesting only one or two a year over a three year period so as not to stress the plant. Plume Poppy is a life sized depiction of this huge, architecturally grand perennial plant. The vivid white and Prussian blue of the cyanotype is softened by stitching and beadwork. Sycamore uses leaf prints, photographs, and extensive beadwork with semi-precious stones to represent the textural richness of these splendid trees.
Jack in the Pulpit, by Sue Reno
Jack in the Pulpit
The Fauna quilts feature skulls of native mammals; she is fascinated by their structure and inherent beauty. She photographs the skulls and uses the images to make cyanotype prints, and combines them with leaf prints and bits of vintage needlework. Skunk and Garlic Mustard has both the skull and the delicate small bones of the skeleton—her daughter found them and gifted them to her for Mother’s Day. Groundhog and Green Bean records the saga of when groundhog was victorious and the vegetable garden was subsequently fenced in.
Skunk and Garlic Mustard, by Sue Reno
Skunk and Garlic Mustard


Sue grew up near the Susquehanna, and loves to hike the river trails in Lancaster and York Counties. The ever-changing conditions of the river are a constant source of inspiration, as evidenced by the Flow quilts. Ice Jam was made one winter when the river froze and thawed repeatedly. Sue used felted wool, hand printed cotton, and lots of sparkly beads to capture that experience. Her tour de force, 52 Ways to Look at the River, was a yearlong project in which she travelled to the river each week, took a picture, then made a fiber panel in response. At the end of the year she combined them all into a huge quilt that marks the passage of time and the seasons.



52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
52 Ways to Look at the River







October 1, 2017

Japanese Anemone accepted for SPUN Innovative Fiber Exhibit

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno
Japanese Anemone, 40"h x 46"w
 I'm very happy to announce that Japanese Anemone has been selected for the SPUN 2017 Innovative Fiber Exhibition at the NEST Arts Factory in Bridgeport, CT. The juror is Jeffrey Mueller, the director is Jane Davila, and the co-director is Vivien Zepf.
Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 1
Japanese Anemone, detail 1
The Exhibit runs October 14 – November 4, 2017 , with an opening reception October 14, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM.
Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 2
Japanese Anemone, detail 2
Japanese Anemone incorporates cyanotypes, made directly from the plant and printed from digital images. There is patchwork pieced from silks and cottons, and for the borders I hand-painted cotton and silk noil. The bluebirds of happiness make an appearance in the form of altered vintage embroideries. This is one of my favorite perennials, blooming reliably and beautifully late in the season, and I made this art quilt with great pleasure.
Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 3
Japanese Anemone, detail 3

September 23, 2017

Silk Mill #3 in Purchase Award Collection

Silk Mill #3, by Sue Reno
Silk Mill #3
 In 2013 I was honored to have my textile work, Silk Mill #3, win the purchase award at the Art of the State exhibit at the Pennsylvania State Museum, and become part of the permanent fine art collection. I've just received word that the Museum will be exhibiting it again as part of the upcoming Purchase Award Collection exhibit.
Silk Mill #3, detail 1,  by Sue Reno
Silk Mill #3, detail 1
From the Press Release:

The Art of the State Purchase Award Collection, 1969-2017
On exhibit October 20, 2017 – February 18, 2018

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the annual juried exhibition Art of the State, The State Museum of Pennsylvania is showcasing featured works that were purchased by the museum and added to its permanent collections over five decades.

As part of each year’s show, a guest judge or State Museum official designates one or more works of art to be purchased for the museum’s permanent collections.  Since the works featured in Art of the State have already been vetted through several layers of the jurying process, Purchase Awards represent an elite group of Pennsylvania artists. 

The Purchase Award exhibit will open during Harrisburg’s monthly 3rd in the Burg celebration on Friday, October 20, 5:30 – 7:30 pm – a free event hosted by the Friends of the State Museum.
Art of the State is presented annually by The State Museum of Pennsylvania and Jump Street.
Silk Mill #3, detail 2,  by Sue Reno
Silk Mill #3, detail 2
 I plan on attending the reception on 10/20, and hope to see some of my local friends there. I am especially excited to see all the other works displayed--fine craft at its finest!
Silk Mill #3, detail 3,  by Sue Reno
Silk Mill #3, detail 3
You can read about this art quilt and the other two in the series, in reverse chronological order,  by clicking on the Silk Mill tab in the top header, or click here.

September 12, 2017

Lecture at the Lancaster Modern Quilt Guild

Sue Reno lecture, Lancaster Modern Quilt Guild
I'm excited to be speaking October 3, 2017, at the 7 p.m. meeting of the Lancaster (PA) Modern Quilt Guild. Details are in the graphic, or check out the Guild on FB: https://www.facebook.com/LancasterMQG/ and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lancastermqg/

My talk has something for quilters and artists of all types and levels of experience, and I bring a LOT of quilts to share in the trunk show. If you are in the area I hope to see you there!

For information on booking me as your speaker: http://suereno.com/lectures/

August 31, 2017

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 11

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Summer's not over yet, and I'm still cooking up wet cyanotype prints. They turn out different every time because there are so many variables, including the moisture in the plants, the heat and humidity of the weather, and the length of exposure. This round I started with a hackberry tree twig. I have several of them growing wild along the edge of my yard. They are somewhat underappreciated in the landscape, are prone to leaf galls, and send up countless hard-to-dig shoots in the flower beds, but I am still grateful for them. They are beneficial to a variety of wildlife.

Years ago I nearly drove off the road when I spotted plume poppies growing in someone's yard. Pre-internet, it took a bit of research to figure out what they were, but I obtained some and they seem like a gift each and every year. They are tall and majestic and architectural in structure. They are notorious for spreading, but I have heavy clay soil so they just pop up in interesting places now and again.
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Here's my Plume Poppy quilt from 2010, 81" x 74": 
Plume Poppy by Sue Reno
Plume Poppy by Sue Reno

I also printed some twigs from my kousa dogwood trees. I've been making prints in various formats from them for years, and will assemble into an art quilt at some point.
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I followed the same format this time as in part 10, with diluted Dye-na-flow and washing soda added to tint and enhance the prints. You can read about all my experiments to date by clicking the Wet Cyanotype tab in the upper header.
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Here's some interesting, insect damaged leaves from an ornamental sweet potato:
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I rounded out the batch with a stalk of variegated Solomon's seal:
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The day started out sunny but then the clouds rolled in, so I left the prints out overnight and caught a bit of morning sunshine before bringing them in to dry off in the dark. It looks like I have another moody batch on my hands:
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There was a lot of great mottling and explosive effects around the edges:
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Here are the rinsed, dried, and ironed finished prints, starting with the hackberry:

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The plume poppy:
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 Two kousa dogwood prints, above and below:
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 The ornamental sweet potato:
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 And last but not least the Solomon's seal:
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I'm very satisfied with this batch of prints. I am closing in on producing prints with this technique that are not just fun and novel, but also have a degree of sophistication. I'm getting closer to capturing the intent of all my work, to show a deep degree of familiarity with my subject matter. There really is no substitute for doing the work.