April 25, 2016

New Work - The Longest Day

The Longest Day, by Sue Reno
The Longest Day
I am happy to share my latest work, The Longest Day. It's a celebration of the summer solstice, with an emphasis on observing it near the Susquehanna River.  It joins the other works in my ongoing series The River.

The Longest Day, detail 1,  by Sue Reno
The Longest Day, detail 1
 The center panel, which was made independently and attached to the supporting quilt, is made from luxurious silks and wools.  It is needlefelted, hand embroidered, and heavily hand beaded.  There's a lot of textural richness there that could only be achieved through textiles. I greatly enjoyed the process of stitching and beading it, slowly over a period of time.
The Longest Day, detail 2,  by Sue Reno
The Longest Day, detail 2
 The supporting quilt features cyanotype prints, from photos I took of the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Columbia, PA.  They are framed by patchwork made primarily from Mysore silks.
The Longest Day, detail 3,  by Sue Reno
The Longest Day, detail 3
 The composition is framed again by digital prints of the same bridge.  The entire piece is heavily machine stitched.
The Longest Day, detail 4,  by Sue Reno
The Longest Day, detail 4
It's a complex piece, with a lot of interplay between the various visual and textural elements. The size is 77" high by 49" wide.  I'm thrilled with how well it all came together--now the challenge is to find a good venue to display it.

You can track this work back as a work in progress by clicking on The Longest Day under Labels in the right sidebar. 

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

April 17, 2016

The White Cliffs of Conoy, Redux





White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 1
Spring is slow in arriving this year, so I had to bundle up for my bike ride on the trail to the White Cliffs of Conoy.  The "cliffs" are 60 ft. high mounds of dolomite and limestone mine tailings.  They provide spectacular views of the Susquehanna River along the Northwest River Trail in Lancaster County, PA.
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 2
I visited when the trail was first opened to the public a year and a half ago.  I took fisheye lens photos on that hike, which you can see here.
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 3
 The bright blue sky and wispy clouds were the perfect backdrop for this day's photography of the cliffs.
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 4
 The Susquehanna was a bright blue as well.
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 5
Some of the trees were just beginning to leaf out.
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 6
 There are picturesque old ruins from mining company buildings along the railroad tracks.
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 7
 These arches lend an almost classical feel to the landscape.
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 8
A reminder that nature is not always benign:
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 9

But it can be magnificent  I saw a bald eagle swoop down, pluck a fish from the river, and fly off with its meal.  I had just enough presence of mind to get a few quick iPhone shots.  In person the eagle's head and tail feathers gleamed, and it moved with incredible speed and grace:
White Cliffs of Conoy, Image 10
I chose this image as my inspiration for week 42 of my ongoing self-directed project, 52 Ways to Look at the River.  
Week 42 Image, 52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
Week 42 Image, 52 Ways to Look at the River,
 I used the image to make this wool and silk, needlefelted and stitched panel, 6" x 12":
Week 42 Panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
Week 42 Panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River,
You can follow along with each week's reveal 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

I've added a "52 Weeks" tab at the top header so you can track the project back to the beginning.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

April 14, 2016

Work in Progress - The Longest Day, update 3

Sue Reno, The Longest Day, Work in Progress Image 8
What began as a small needlefelting demo piece, one of the step outs I made when I taped a segment for Quilting Arts TV, has morphed into a large quilt.  I began to border the embellished panel with patchwork strips, then decided it would benefit from cyanotype imagery.  Plus, I really enjoy making cyanotypes.  I began with some pictures I had taken of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, which spans the Susquehanna between Columbia and Wrightsville, PA.  I enhanced the images and made them grayscale, above, and then negative, below:
Sue Reno, The Longest Day, Work in Progress Image 9
I printed the images on transparency sheets and used them to make exposures on treated cyanotype fabric.  These were layered, had a preliminary round of stitching, and then fitted into the patchwork.
Sue Reno, The Longest Day, Work in Progress Image 10
I bordered the whole works with more of my photographic imagery that I had commercially printed onto cotton sateen.  It's a complex composition, but I'm excited about how well all the elements contribute to the aesthetic of the whole. And the intensive quilting that ensued since this photo was taken has further unified the piece and added texture and movement.
Sue Reno, The Longest Day, Work in Progress Image 11
You can track "The Longest Day" back as a work-in-progress by clicking on it under Labels in the right sidebar.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

April 10, 2016

Conowingo Dam and Port Deposit, MD

Having crossed most of the local must-see Susquehanna River sites off of my list, this week I ventured a bit further afield to the Conowingo Dam and Hydroelectric Plant in Maryland.  The top of the dam is also the roadbed, and is a bit of a thrill to drive across.

Conowingo Dam, Image 1
The architecture of the dam and adjacent structures and floodgates is similar to that of the Safe Harbor Dam further upriver, which I visited back in week 16  I like the contrast of all the arches and the angles.
Conowingo Dam, Image 2
The banks are landscaped in a utilitarian fashion, and are a draw for fishermen. I saw several in waders deep in the water, despite the unseasonably cold temperatures.
Conowingo Dam, Image 3
The area is also a boon to birds, especially great blue herons and bald eagles, and I saw birdwatchers with big scopes and impressive camera setups. Drones are sensibly banished.
Conowingo Dam, Image 4
The concept in this sign was new to me, and I had to look it up.  Apparently vultures are sometimes prone to attacking the rubber and vinyl components on cars, and no one is certain of the cause behind the behavior.  I didn't see any vultures on my visit.
Conowingo Dam, Image 5
Back across the bridge and a few miles down river, I came to the historic town of Port Deposit, MD.  Their welcome sign is pretty fabulous. Beginning in colonial times, and continuing well into the 20th century, the granite quarries produced material used in all manner of buildings up and down the east coast.
Port Deposit, Image 1
Today the historic architecture of the town is contrasted with a long swath of modern town homes/condos all along the riverfront.
Port Deposit, Image 2
The Conowingo Dam is the last obstacle in the river before the Susquehanna meets the Chesapeake Bay 9 miles downstream, so these docks will soon be bustling with boats as the season gets underway.
Port Deposit, Image 3
For my inspiration image for week 41, I chose this view of the Conowingo Dam:
Week 41 Image, 52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
Week 41 Image, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Here's the corresponding fiber art panel for week 41.  The panel is 6" x 12", needlefelted with silk and wool, appliqued and stitched:
Week 41 Panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
Week 41 Panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River
You can follow along with each week's reveal 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

I've added a "52 Weeks" tab at the top header so you can track the project back to the beginning.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

April 3, 2016

52 Ways to Look at the River, Update 6

Weeks 1 - 40, 52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
Weeks 1 - 40, 52 Ways to Look at the River
  I am up to week 40 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, and occasionally beadwork. .  In the photo above they are informally pinned on a foam board; the final presentation will be different.  At this point I am leaning towards doing a triptych.

Here are the panels I have made since the last update:
Week 33, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 33, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 34, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 34, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 35, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 35, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 36, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 36, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 37, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 37, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 38, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 38, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 39, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 39, 52 Ways to Look at the River

Week 40, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Week 40, 52 Ways to Look at the River
So, what have I learned since the last update?

*Traveling for the photo shoot each week is a Big Commitment.

*Luckily, the rewards of traveling each week and making the corresponding panel are huge.  Even though I've lived near the Susquehanna for most of my life, and frequently hike nearby, I am gaining a new perspective and appreciation for its beauty.

*I continue to be very thankful for the efforts of the landowners and all the volunteers who work to ensure that the river, the trails, and the overlooks are so accessible to the public. It's a world-class resource, and it's right in my backyard.

*There's a natural arc in art making, for myself and many others, starting with the excitement of the idea, absolute panic on how to execute it, soldiering through the tricky bits, and ultimate triumph at having produced something that comes close to the vision.  It's a long arc for my larger works, but here I am cycling through it each week.  The weekly repetition of the process is honing my approach and building my confidence.

*I should treat myself to more blue silks.

This past week I traveled to Pinnacle Overlook, an iconic and very recognizable spot, and the scene of my first Lancaster County hike many decades ago.  There's a huge rock outcropping that provides a view upriver:

PInnacle Overlook, Image 1
 And shows off the graceful curve leading into Lake Aldred:
PInnacle Overlook, Image 2
 I've often clambered out onto the edge of those rocks, but this trip I was by myself, the day was damp and dreary, and there was no one around to hear me if I misstepped, so, discretion being the better part of valor,  I took my inspiration photos from the safer, fenced area:
PInnacle Overlook, Image 3
 For anyone following along intently at home, here's a snapshot of signage that shows the area.  I've been to most of the highlighted spots on my quest so far.  Pinnacle crossed one of the last "must-haves" from my list, so I'm footloose and fancy free about my next destinations.  Stay tuned!
PInnacle Overlook, Image 4
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!

March 27, 2016

Susquehannock State Park

This past week, on the equinox, we journeyed to Susquehannock State Park on a cold and grey day to take pictures for my self-directed project, 52 Ways to Look at the River.  I didn't mind the weather, because I knew from past visits that the scenery is incomparable.  The approach to the cliff edge is inviting, especially with the trees still leafless:
Susquehanna State Park, Image 1, by Sue Reno
 And the 180+ degree vista from Hawk Point Overlook is superb in any season:
Susquehanna State Park, Image 2, by Sue Reno
 There are islands and other features to draw the eye, including Mount Johnson Island, the world’s first bald eagle sanctuary:
Susquehanna State Park, Image 3, by Sue Reno
 Off in the distance downriver, one can spot the Norman Wood Bridge:
Susquehanna State Park, Image 4, by Sue Reno
 Zooming in a bit on the bridge:
Susquehanna State Park, Image 5, by Sue Reno
 Which was the subject of Week 26:
And I am always charmed by this Bausch and Lomb binocular--for 25 cents you will gain a whole new perspective:
Susquehanna State Park, Image 6, by Sue Reno
My final pick for this week's inspiration image--and it was a hard choice--is this view upriver.  Osprey often nest on the power towers seen here:
Week 39 Image, 52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
Week 39 Image, 52 Ways to Look at the River
Here is the resultant panel I made back in the studio.  The panel is 6" x 12", on a base of wool/rayon felt, needlefelted with silk and wool, stitched, and painted:
Week 39 Panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River, by Sue Reno
Week 39 Panel, 52 Ways to Look at the River
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

Many thanks to Machine Quilting Unlimited, who featured this project on their blog this week, see it here.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting!