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!

October 11, 2011

My Quilt is on a Billboard

"Fireball" on a PA Artisan Trails Billboard
How cool is this?  An image from my art quilt “Fireball” is currently on a giant billboard just outside of Gettysburg, PA.
For years I’ve been a member of a local artist’s group, The PA Arts Experience, which has provided me with exhibit opportunities (and has been a wonderful way to meet other artists, who I now count as friends).  They are part of a larger group, PA Artisan Trails, which works to promote art tourism along several “Artist Trails” in different regions of PA.  Last year I answered a call to upload pictures and information into their online database, and their marketer chose my Fireball to use on this billboard because she liked the colors and graphic appeal, and also because I had provided a high quality image.

A unique photo op like this called for a road trip.   Here I am on the shoulder, heading eastbound on Rt. 30. 
And here I am doing my best Vanna White impersonation.  There’s some glare from the sun in these photos; the quality of the image and the color reproduction was actually excellent, I was very impressed.
Thank you PA Artisan Trails!  And if your travel plans include Pennsylvania, be sure to take advantage of their extensive listings to help plan your journey.

October 3, 2011

Art Quilts XVI Acceptance - Watt & Shand #3

Watt & Shand #3
I had welcome news in my inbox today.  Watt & Shand #3 has been accepted into “Art Quilts XVI: Something to Say”, an exhibit at the Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler AZ, from November 28, 2011 through January 28, 2012.
Watt & Shand #3, detail 1
The Art Quilts exhibition program has grown from a local and regional quilt show to a respected vehicle for contemporary works. The exhibition draws entries from around the world and allows thousands of visitors each year to experience quilting as an art form.  The exhibition is juried by a panel of jurors including exhibition founder Diane Howell.
Watt & Shand #3, detail 2
For this work, I had themofax screens made from my original photographs, and screen printed the images using textile paints onto cotton and linen.  I also printed and painted the majority of the fabrics used in the patchwork portions.  I am particularly pleased with the way the color scheme worked out in this one--it’s very lively.


Here’s one of the images I made into a screen.  At this point in the construction process, the scaffolding had been removed, and the new interior was being tied into the existing façade, but the window had not yet been replaced.  I liked the way you could see intriguing bits of the process going on inside.

If you are new here, you can read all about my Watt & Shand series on my website, or track back all the blog posts, including a lot of work-in-progress reports, by clicking on the “Watt & Shand” tab at the top of the blog.

And as always, thanks for reading and commenting!