November 4, 2009

Today's Feature: Royal Paulownia

Today's Feature is "Royal Paulownia", another large-leafed wonder. If you've ever been out and about in the eastern or midwestern U.S. and found a really big leaf, it was probably a Royal Paulownia. The tree is not a native; it's an sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental import from the orient. It self seeds rather enthusiastically, and often shows up along roadsides, recently cleared areas, and weedy gardens as a sapling that looks to be on steroids. The mature trees-and they are fast growers-sport cascades of purple flowers early in spring.
The top image is a heliographic print, and the one on the bottom is a cyanotype. The borders are pieced from silks brought back from Mysore, India, combined with handwovern Indian cottons. It was very heavily and closely stitched, except for the leaves, where the stitching for the veining is more widely spaced. I rinsed, then blocked and dried the work after the stitching, causing the wrinkling and patterning on the leaf surfaces; I then used a dry brush technique to enhance those textures with paint. The final step in the construction was handbeading with seed beads and semi-precious stones.

I am deeply honored that "Royal Paulownia" was selected to be a part of the exhibit "Connecting Colors and Cultures: First Kyrgyz-American Quilt Exhibit" which was held at the Museum of Fine Art in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. You can see it later this week in Lancaster, PA, at the Isadore Gallery.


Vivien said...

I don't recognize this quilt but I LOVE it! I'm so glad you're posting your exhibit one by one; it's really giving us a chance to enjoy each piece.

Sue Reno said...

Thanks Vivien! I'm enjoying revisiting them all.

Gerrie said...

I love how you use leaves with holes and raw edges. What a great body of work you have.

Sue Reno said...

Thanks, Gerrie, I get genuinely excited when I find a good distressed leaf. They speak of the interaction with the elements and the insects and the passage of time.

ля said...

Sue,your works are wonderful!
Could you tell when the exhibit in Bishkek will take place?
I live in Almaty and really want to visit this exhibit.


Sue Reno said...

Luda, thank you very much for reading and for your comment. The Bishek exhibit was in the past...there's some chance there will be another one someday, and if there is you can be sure I will write about it here.