December 31, 2011

York County Ramble

We had a glorious New Year’s Eve hike.  We crossed the Susquehanna River and drove on increasingly narrow roads to a spot near Cuffs Run.  The weather was mild for December, into the low 50’s (F), the wind was gusty, and the sky was blue.
Our goal was a rigorous scramble over rocks and through ravines, but the fallen leaves and wet ground made the going treacherous.  Discretion being the better part of valor, we retreated to ramble a series of dirt and paved roads through the woods and the countryside.  Wonders abounded, like this tree covered in burls:
There were many hawks, or perhaps eagles, riding the currents aloft:
We passed a vineyard in stasis:
A farm gate with a reminder of our mortality:

And a spectacular dry stone wall:
That stretched off into the horizon:
We came upon a weathered barn with cool gothic shutters:
And the road seemed to roll out before us endlessly:
When it was time to retrace our steps I spied a fallen branch sporting the dried husks of tulip poplar flowers:
On our drive home we stopped at the John Wright Restaurant in Wrightsville for a late lunch. 
The food was good and the ambiance pleasant, but best of all was the view of the river and the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge.
Just as I never tire of the river, I always admire the beautiful form and proportions of this bridge.
Several years ago I made a small art quilt depicting it:

Nearby there are some historic lime kilns:
The stonework and masonry are fabulous:
May the New Year bring us all peace, good health, and prosperity, and may our travels, near and far, take us to places of beauty and wonder.

December 7, 2011

Craft Forms 2011 Preview Party

On Friday evening I attended the Preview Party for Craft Forms 2011 at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA.  It was a first class event from start to finish, and my husband and I had a wonderful time.  Here I am by my art quilt, Watt & Shand #8.  To the left of it is Mama Rebel, by Catherine Winkler Rayroud; to the right is SemiAquatic by Clay McLaurin; on the pedestals from left to right are Serving Set by John HuckinsFolding Stools by Dan DeVos; and Platter by Fred Herbst.
Above is the  view looking into the left side of the gallery.  The artwork was of very high quality, IMO, and the buzz was that this one was of the best Craft Forms exhibits in memory.  In the foreground is a wood laminate sculpture, Mitosis_1 by David Knopp.    On the back wall (the blue section) you can see the large installation piece The Politics of Porcelain by Stephanie A. Rozene, flanked by two art quilts by Kathleen Loomis,  the large red fiber piece in the left corner, Stronger Together than Apart, by Amanda Ladymon, and a crocheted grouping, Terrain, by Donna Lish, in the right corner.  Just out of camera range on the right is another art quilt, Bluestairs, by Cynthia Friedman.  I got to meet Cindy and chat with her about art and art quilting--always so wonderful to put a face to a name!  Meeting the other artists who were in attendance and having the opportunity to learn about their inspirations and working processes was one of the high points of the evening.

Below is a view from the other direction.  In the foreground is 2368 by Lily Liu.  The circular object on the wall to the right is Implosion #3 by Beth Barron, a quilt-like construction made primarily out of band aids.  On the back wall to the left is a woven tapestry, Wind Turbine Mania, by Catherine I. Theodore.
Another view of the gallery--so many treasures!  I wish I had pictures and links for all of them for you.  These pictures were taken early in the evening, before it got crowded with throngs of art patrons who paid for the privilege of attending the Preview Party.  There’s a good article here with all the particulars of the evening and a list of the prize winners.  I want to particularly thank the juror, Elizabeth Agro, for being so open and accessible during the reception and her Juror’s Talk and the Meet the Artist event the next day.  She was very gracious about sharing her perspectives on choosing the art, the themes that developed, and the state of fine craft in general--very illuminating! 
To add to the ambiance and good mood, there was great food.  Scrumptious strolling appetizers were followed by a large buffet with a paella station, a dim sum dumpling station, and much more:
Desserts included gourmet cupcakes:
There was a wine bar and also a martini luge bar:
SueReno_CraftFormsPreviewParty7And live world music and jazz by Phylis Chapell and Siora:
In an adjoining gallery the Art Center is concurrently exhibiting Green  from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers.  It’s a stunning survey of world-class basketry with work by many of the big names in the field--really wonderful. 
And all throughout the Art Center is the exhibit Philagrafika, an invitational portfolio of printmaking, also wonderful.
At one point in the evening I did a brief 5 minute video interview for a local television channel, where I talked about my piece in the show and the inspiration behind it, and was hopefully coherent and articulate enough make the editorial cut.  I’m not certain when and where it’s airing, but will update if I find out. 

All in all, a fun evening filled with fabulous art, creative and interesting people, and superb food and libation.  My sincere appreciation to everyone who made it possible.  The exhibit is up until Jan. 21 and it is well worth your time to attend if you are in the area.

12/29/11  A few addendums--there's a well written and thoughtful article about the show from the Philadelphia Inquirer up online here, and a set of pictures up on the Craft Forms website here.  I'm in a picture on the second page; to my right in the pic is Camila Bryce, whom I struck up a conversation with because of her beautiful mud cloth coat, and on my left is Diana N’Diaye, who had beautiful work work in the show.

1/4/12  The exhibit is also featured on the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsman blog, with a handy listing of all the PA artists included. Read it here.

December 1, 2011

Publications, Exhibits, and Gratitude

By any measure I’ve had a great year, and I am both humbled and immensely grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, and for all the people in my life who make it possible for me to be living the dream.    Here’s a partial survey of where  to see my work right now, starting with the newly published book The Studio Quilt, No. 6: State of the Art  by Sandra Sider
The Studio Art Quilt Vol.6
The cover image is by Melisse Laing, Seeing the Light (2009, photo by Bill Bachhuber).I’m waiting for my copy to arrive and will post more about it once I’ve had a chance to enjoy it; based on the artists involved, I know it will be just excellent.  It’s available on Amazon.
My Groundhog and Green Bean was selected for inclusion.
Also recently released is Portfolio 18,  the latest edition from SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates)  documenting the art quilt movement.
Portfolio 18 contains 241 full-color plates of SAQA Professional Artist Members' works, with geographical and genre indexes.  I’ve had work in the last several volumes and am pleased to be a part of this one as well.   It’s available in the SAQA Bookstore.

This next publication came as a happy surprise.  International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene 2011 is an annual special edition magazine, a collaboration between Quilting Arts Magazine and Quilts, Inc.,  with  feature articles, projects, and beautiful photography celebrating the best in contemporary quilting. I was thrilled to discover that this year’s edition features my Watt & Shand #6, representing the special exhibit Tactile Architecture
The Quilt Scene _Watt & Shand #6
That’s a peek of Cynthia St. Charles’ beautiful Springtime in the City on the facing page.

In exhibit news, The Art of Fiber opened at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA last week, and I’m hearing a lot of good buzz online about it.  It includes two of my Watt & Shand works, #4 and #9.
The Art of Fiber_Workhouse Arts
Also just opened is Art Quilts XVI: Something to Say at the Chandler Center for the Arts in AZ.  This is a  highly regarded show, and I’m thrilled that Watt & Shand #3 is a part of it: 
And last but definitely not least in my embarrassment of exhibit riches is Craft Forms at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA:
Craft Forms Artists
Watt & Shand #8 is a part of this international exhibit featuring fine crafts in all media.  The opening reception is tomorrow night (12/2) and I will be attending--I am really looking forward to it as it sounds fabulous! 
Craft Forms Invitation
I will also be at the Meet the Artists event the next afternoon, and welcome the opportunity to share my work and the story and inspiration behind it.
Lest you think I’ve been resting on my laurels, assuming I had laurels and the time to rest on them, be assured that I am currently hard at work in the studio; a lot of what I’m working on needs to stay under wraps for the time being……..but stay tuned for further adventures and updates.  And as always, a huge thank you for reading and commenting!

November 7, 2011

Watt & Shand Acceptances for The Art of Fiber

Watt & Shand #4 
I’m happy to announce that two of the art quilts from my Watt & Shand series have been accepted into The Art of Fiber Exhibition at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA.  The exhibit runs from November 23 to December 31st.  The jurors are Candace Edgerley and Trudi C. Van Dyke.
Included are Watt & Shand #4, above, and Watt & Shand #9, below.
Watt & Shand #9
You can read more about the series at my website, or click on the Watt & Shand tab at the top.

November 1, 2011

Foto / Fiber Fundraiser

I’ve known Virginia Spiegel for years.  She is first and foremost an amazing artist whose work I admire, but also a charitable fundraiser par excellence who has raised over $215,000 to date for the American Cancer Society.  I have donated artwork for several of her previous Fiberart for a Cause events, and have always been impressed with her dedication and professionalism. So when Virginia invited me to participate in her newest effort, I jumped at the chance to help out.  I will be donating some bonus fiber surprises to the cause--read all about how it works below, and/or go to Virginia’s site for more information.  Mark your calendars for this opportunity to donate, receive some great art, and do some good!

Foto/Fiber 2012
90 Photos AND 90 BONUS Fiber Surprises
One Donation To Fight Cancer = Two Rewards and More!

Gold Donor Day - February 15, 2012
Make a minimum donation of $100, choose a photo by Virginia A. Spiegel,
and choose a BONUS Fiber Surprise by a specific artist from an amazing list of generous fiber artists.

Regular Foto/Fiber - February 16, 2012
Make a minimum donation of $50 and choose a photo by Virginia A. Spiegel.
Your BONUS Fiber Surprise will be chosen at random
for you from the list of generous fiber artists.

Artists donating BONUS fiber surprises include: Natalya Aikens,
Frances Holliday Alford, Pamela Allen, Sue Bleiweiss, Nancy G. Cook, Jane Davila, Vivika DeNegre, Diane Rusin Doran, Jane Dunnewold, Jamie Fingal,
Leonie Hartley Hoover, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Susan Brubaker Knapp, Lynn Krawzcyk, Jane LaFazio, Susan Lenz, Jeanelle McCall
Linda Teddlie Minton, Karen Musgrave, Gail Myrhorodsky
Karen Stiehl Osborn, BJ Parady, Cate Coulacos Prato, Yvonne Porcella
Wen Redmond, Sue Reno, Susan Schrott, Cynthia St. Charles
Lura Schwarz Smith, Sarah Ann Smith, and Terri Stegmiller

Drawings for Fiber Art throughout the event.
All patrons of Foto/Fiber 2012 will also have multiple chances throughout Foto/Fiber to win amazing fiber art donated by:
Leonie Hartley Hoover
Lyric Kinard
Lynn Krawczyk
Yvonne Porcella
Mary Ann Van Soest
More information on how Foto/Fiber 2012 works is here:
Our goal – Raise $7,000 for the American Cancer Society
in just ten hours over two days.

Fiberart For A Cause has already donated over $215,000 to the American Cancer Society through the generosity of fiber artists and their patrons.

for more information.

October 30, 2011

Ashley and Bailey Silk Mill Studies at Marietta Art House

Silk Mill Study #3
I’ve got 3 small framed textile works currently on display through December 18 at the Marietta Art House in Marietta, PA.  The exhibit is Rivertowns Reviewed ,  “unique artist interpretations of streetscapes, buildings, river views and architectural details in Bainbridge, Marietta, Columbia and Wrightsville. Artists are encouraged to visit and find inspiration in the built landscape of these historic places. Architectural details, unusual viewpoints, interesting textures and patterns, fresh 'takes' on old signage, patterns in industrial buildings, and odd angles are examples of subjects to be considered. The idea is not to do traditional 'portraits' of famous landmarks but, instead, to search out lesser-known views for visual inspiration."  There’s a very good article about it in the local paper
The Susquehanna River and environs is a constant source of inspiration for my work. For this exhibit I was prompted to unearth a project I started some time ago about the Ashley and Bailey silk mill in Columbia, PA.  I took pictures of the historic building just before a renovation project turned part of it into the Turkey Hill Experience, and blogged about it with lots of images  here, here, and here.  Finishing up my Watt & Shand project took precedence, and so on and so forth, but I hadn’t forgotten about it and am excited to be working on it again.
I turned several of my photos into thermofax screens, and had a fun afternoon making prints on a variety of fabrics, including ones I had previously hand painted:
The ultimate goal is a series of works exploring different aspects of the building, but to get familiar with the lines and angles involved I stitched up three of them as studies. 
Silk Mill Study #1
Image size is a bit over 12” sq.  I had them matted and framed by the wonderful Jenny of State of the Art, finishing out at 19” sq., and they look pretty fabulous if I do say so myself!
Silk Mill Study #2
I’m planning on being at the artist’s reception Sunday, November 13 from 2 - 5 p.m.  There will be good art, good friends, and good food in a wonderful setting, so stop by if you are in the area.

October 20, 2011

Craft Forms Acceptance - Watt & Shand #8

I’m thrilled and honored to announce that Watt & Shand #8 has been accepted into Craft Forms 2011, Dec. 2, 2011 - Jan. 21, 2012, at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA.  The juror is Elisabeth Agro of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  She reviewed almost 900 submissions, in all mediums, by applicants from around the world, and chose 126 works of art for this year’s exhibit.
Happily, the Wayne Art Center is close enough to my home that I will be able to attend the Preview Party on the evening of Dec. 2, and the Juror’s Talk / Meet the Artist event the next day from 1 - 3 p.m.  I love attending fine craft shows, as the diversity of expression and creativity on display is tremendously inspirational.  I have grown to enjoy coming out of the seclusion of my studio and putting on my extrovert hat for these types of events--it’s always so interesting to hear what viewers think about my work, and to get the chance to talk to other exhibiting artists.
This work is part of a series of 10 art quilts I created about the renovation of a historic building in Lancaster, PA into a hotel and convention center.  You can see all ten on my website, track back the entire series in progress and see where they’ve been shown by clicking on the Watt & Shand tab at the top of the page, and/or read more about #8 specifically here.

Thanks for visiting and reading!

October 18, 2011

Modern India - The Mysore Magician

I have an amazing tale to tell from my visit to Mysore, India.  Allow me to set the stage…..SueReno_MysoreMagician,Vintage
When I was studying at the University of Mysore back in the 70’s, I grew familiar with many of the street performers in the city.  This particular magician and busker was a favorite of all the foreign students, and we would often watch him do his act, chat about his family--he had 4 sons and 2 daughters he was very proud of--and give him a generous tip.  I posted this picture, and others, in my Vintage Mysore post, and in preparation for this trip I had the photographs printed out to take with me.  This turned out to be a brilliant move.

I returned to Mysore this summer on a day trip from Bangalore, travelling with my daughter Alice.  After a stop to admire Shivanasamudra Falls, our intrepid and excellent driver Ramakrishna took us to the Hotel Sandesh for an early lunch.  Afterwards we conferred with him on the agenda for the rest of our day.  We wanted to visit a few of the standard tourist attractions, but my main agenda was to revisit the University and some of the neighborhoods that were the scenes of past adventures.  At this point I pulled out my photos, to reinforce the point that I had lived here previously and show him some of the half-remembered locales.. Ramakrishna looked through them with a mix of incredulity and amusement, then pulled out of the hotel parking lot with a thoughtful mien.

He suddenly stopped, backed up, and called out to the hotel doorman; they had a conversation (in the Kannada dialect) for a few moments.  The doorman ducked around a corner of the hotel, and a minute later this man came over to our car:
SueReno_MysoreMagicianHe looked somehow familiar…..and we discovered he is the son of the magician I knew in the 70’s. He is also a street magician and busker, and one of his hangouts is the parking lot of the Hotel Sandesh. 

Ramakrishna’s grandparents were from Mysore, and he had visited as a child.  My picture sparked his remembrance of the father, from other trips shuttling tourists he knew of the son,  he made the connection, and located him at that hotel at that very moment.  The level of coincidence and serendipity that allowed all this to happen is just staggering to me.

The magician lived to a good age, but had long since passed away.  His family didn’t have any pictures of him, until I gave this one to his son:
He did his act for us, pulling out the tricks of his trade from his bag.  Astonishingly,  many of them I recognized as the exact same tricks his father had done.  It was like déjà vu.
I have some short videos that will give you an idea of his repertoire and his pleasing personality. First up, the standard ball and cup routine:

Next, a card trick. I’m still not sure what the point of this one was, but he sure was a whizz at shuffling and misdirection:

This one involves fire and a large quantity of rusty nails, and is not for the easily squeamish:

And last but not least, a performance on the fiddle.  Watch his fingers, and listen to the great tonal characteristics he pulls from his very basic instrument:
We tipped him very well!

In general I emphatically am not a magical thinker, but in my personal history Mysore has assumed  a mythical role.  A bit of searching found this definition of contagious magic:
“magic that attempts to affect a person through something once connected with him or her, as a shirt once worn by the person or a footprint left in the sand; a branch of sympathetic magic based on the belief that things once in contact are in some way permanently so, however separated physically they may subsequently become.”

Parts of that seem applicable here; I’m not sure how to apply my usual logical processing to the situation.  I’m glad that there are mysteries in the world, and that I’ve been privileged to experience a few of them.

If you are new here, you can view all of my India travel posts by clicking on the appropriate tab at the top of the page.  Thanks for sharing the journey with me!