Christmas Eve saw the return of The Organic Garden from the Art In Embassies program. It’s spent the last three years gracing the dining room wall of the Ambassador’s Residence in Vientiane, Laos. I am once again simultaneously proud and humbled to have taken part in this U.S. Department of State program.
They took excellent care of it, and returned it in pristine condition.
It’s been hectic leading up to the holidays, and I haven’t had much studio time. For the sake of my mental well being I stole some time to start some new needlefelted pieces about The River. They are experimental; I’m not sure where I’m going with them. I have this one readied for some hand stitching and possibly beading. I love the texture I’ve achieved with the different wool and silk fibers.
I’m looking forward to the New Year, and creating and sharing lots of new work and exciting ventures. Best wishes to all going forward.
December 29, 2013
December 7, 2013
I am happy to announce that Skunk and Garlic Mustard has been accepted into the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum’s 35th Annual Contemporary Crafts exhibit. Highlighting the finest in contemporary crafts from across the country, Mesa Contemporary Arts’ Annual Contemporary Crafts exhibition has become a benchmark for innovation and quality. Representative of traditional craft mediums including ceramics, fibers, basketry, metals, wood, glass, jewelry, papermaking and book arts, this exhibition showcases 46 artworks by 35 artists, representing 14 states. The exhibit will run from February 14 through April 13, 2014 in the Dobson main gallery at the Museum in Mesa, AZ.
I’m always particularly thrilled when my work is included in a fine crafts venue. I feel it’s a good fit for the work that I do, which melds contemporary design with meticulous craftsmanship. Plus they are such wonderful exhibits to attend—it’s exciting to see all the interesting ways the artists find to push their various mediums.
Skunk and Garlic Mustard is part of my Flora and Fauna series, where I combine cyanotype prints of the skulls of native wildlife with vintage textiles and heliographic prints of plants. It features prints of both the skull and all the tiny and interesting skeletal bones. Garlic mustard is an obnoxious invasive plant I spend a lot of time pulling from the garden beds in the spring. Its one redeeming feature is it did make a beautiful print on a piece of silk twill!
November 7, 2013
We had a great opening reception for “Sue Reno - Recent Fiber Works” and “Karen Paust - Edge of the Meadow” at the PA Arts Experience Gallery this past Friday evening. Here I am striking a pose with my newly completed In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change, left, and In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs.
The Gallery is on the ground floor of the beautifully restored historic Marketview Arts Building in downtown York, PA.
It has good display spaces and excellent lighting, and I am very pleased with how well my work looks hanging there. Above is Ginger, left, and Silk Mill #1, right. Ginger is just glowing on this wall, thanks to all the Mysore silks I used in it--I received a lot of compliments and questions about it.
I was fortunate in being scheduled for the same month as the talented Karen Paust. Her intricate nature themed beadworks and woodland paintings were a pleasure to examine, and we received many comments on the synergy between our bodies of work. Above is Bleeding Heart and a display of Karen’s work.
Here is Karen, on the left, next to her incredible beadwork neckpiece on the dress form, and myself, posing in front of my Plume Poppy. We did not plan to coordinate our outfits! Plume Poppy looks pretty magnificent in this space--it’s a large work, and needs room to be seen at full advantage.
And here is my Columbine, with another of Karen’s neckpieces.
I hope you enjoyed this sampling of the exhibit. It will be up through December 3--hours are here. I am giving an Artist’s Talk this Saturday, November 9th at 11:00 a.m. If you are in the area I hope you consider stopping by. You can go to Central Market afterwards:
October 29, 2013
Here’s the latest work in my River series, In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs. The Susquehanna River in southern Lancaster County, PA cuts through some dramatic rocky terrain. If you climb up to the top of the cliffs you find overlooks that offer commanding views of the river and surrounding countryside.
As I did for In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change and In Dreams I Flew Over the River, I used needlefelting with silks and wools to build up the colors and textures of the center panel. I handpainted the top and bottom silk panels, and manipulated them into pleats and folds. The side panels are also textured silks, and all of it is quilted and heavily stitched.
I did some pebbled stitching on the felted portion below the river:
With all of this wonderful texture and nuanced color, this one really needs to be seen in person. In Dreams I Climbed the Cliffs will be part of my upcoming exhibit “Sue Reno--Recent Fiber Works” at the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Gallery, 37 West Philadelphia Street, York, PA, 17401. The exhibit runs November 1st through December 3rd. Also showing in the gallery will be Karen Paust, "Edge of the Meadow".
The opening reception is on Friday, November 1st from 5:30 - 9:00, and there is a members and patrons reception on Thursday, November 7th from 5:30 - 7:30. I will give an Artist’s talk on November 9th at 11:00 a.m. I hope you can stop by the gallery if you are in the area.
After finishing this work, I was struck by a strong desire to go to an actual cliff. I stole a little time on a bright and beautiful afternoon and made a quick pilgrimage to a perennial favorite, Chickies Rock. It’s a short and easy hike up to a sheer overlook with great views of the Susquehanna. You can see why this river holds such deep meaning for me.
October 27, 2013
I would like to extend an invitation to visit the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Gallery, 37 West Philadelphia St., York, PA, for the November exhibit. I will be exhibiting Recent Works, including some new pieces shown for the first time, and Karen Paust will be showing “Edge of the Meadow”.
The opening reception is this coming Friday, November 1st, from 5:30 - 9:00 p.m., in conjunction with York’s First Fridays event. If you can’t make it then, perhaps you can come for my Artist Talk on Saturday, November 9th at 11:00 a.m.
The Pennsylvania Arts Experience is a non-profit arts organization promoting the arts along the scenic river valleys of southeastern Pennsylvania, committed to establishing an internationally recognized arts destination. I’ve been a member since its inception years ago, and am very pleased to be exhibiting in our beautiful gallery space in the renovated historic Marketview Arts Building.
October 25, 2013
I’m working on another piece in my River series, similar in style to In Dreams I Flew Over the River and In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change. It’s my interpretation of the experience of hiking up the cliff faces and rock formations that line portions of the Susquehanna River. The center imagery is built up with needlefelting. This is done either by hand and by machine, using barbed needles that entangle the fibers of wool and silk textiles. I began by blocking out the basic shapes and colors of my scene, using commercial fabrics and some that I hand painted.
Above is the river portion of the work a bit further along. The patterned strips have been integrated into the wool base, and I’ve added bits of wood roving and silk threads.
Above is the the woolen cliffs with some silk highlights, and the trees and woods in in progress. The underlying tree fabric is a sort of crinkled silk that I painted--the texture is fabulous.
Once again I am being very generous and extravagant in my use of silk. Above is a section that will represent the sky in the finished work. I started with a white silk with woven circles, painted it a sky blue with wispy grey fog highlights, and manipulated it into folds and curves.
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.
October 23, 2013
I’m excited to share one of my latest works, In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change.
As part of my River series, it follows my recent In Dreams I Flew Over the River. This one highlights, obviously, the autumnal color changes in the woods and fields that line the banks of the mighty Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania.
I’ve lived near the river most of my life, and its ebb and flow has been a constant presence and inspiration.
This piece incorporates needlefelted elements in silks and wools, along with scrunched silks and intensive quilting. The textures on it are really quite amazing.
In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change will be part of my upcoming exhibit “Sue Reno--Recent Fiber Works” at the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Gallery, 37 West Philadelphia Street, York, PA, 17401. The exhibit opens November 1st with a reception from 5:30 - 9:00 p.m., and runs through December 3rd. I will give an Artist’s talk on November 9th at 11:00 a.m. Also showing in the gallery will be Karen Paust, "Edge of the Meadow". I hope that those who live locally, or are travelling nearby, can join me at the gallery.
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.
October 22, 2013
As part of their coverage of the New Legacies - Contemporary Art Quilts exhibit earlier this year in Ft. Collins, CO, my Silk Mill #1 is shown in the current November/December edition of Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine. (The image at the top of the page is “Forest Treasures” by Kathleen Malvern.) You can read more about this quilt, and the other two quilts in the series, by clicking on the Ashley and Bailey Silk Mill tab in the sidebar, or clicking here.
It’s always a pleasure and an honor to have my work featured in MQU. It’s a great blend of inspiration and practical knowledge, and one of my favorite magazines. This issue is available online here.
October 20, 2013
Sometimes the internet works just like it should, enabling connections between like-minded individuals. Several months ago I was contacted by Liz Barraclough, a textile student in the UK. For her course work she was to profile some fiber (fibre) artists. She asked permission to use a few photos of my work, which I readily granted. She has posted her finished assignments on her blog, Lizzy’s Learning Blog, and you can read her astute observations regarding my work here.
I’m really quite flattered--she is very generous with her assessment--and fascinated with how interesting and thorough her course of study is. I will look forward to seeing how her own work develops as she moves forward.
October 13, 2013
We recently went on a great ramble along the Steinman Run trail, in southern Lancaster County, PA. The property is part of the Lancaster County Conservancy.
This preserved 245 acre tract of land has huge mature trees, marshy areas, and a sparkling clean stream that supports brook trout. The slanting early autumn sunlight gave my pictures a pointillistic effect.
I’ve been hiking the Pennsylvania woodlands all my life, but still find surprises almost every time I go out. This time I spotted some new-to-me tiny fungi. A lot of googling tentatively identifies these as Calestoma cinnabarium. They were growing under a stand of chestnut oak trees.
The center structure in the picture is a bit smaller than an acorn.
It arises from a surround of gelatinous smaller structures.
As it matures, it splits open at the apex.
Nearby was a similar fungus I believe is the related Calestoma lutescens. It is paler in color, and arises from a webbed structure.
A macro view of the spongy web:
And a macro view of the globule:
Also in the new-to-me category was an area of partridge berry, a small, delicate looking ground cover.
It’s unusual in its reproductive strategy. In the spring, two flowers bloom side by side, and after fertilization their ovaries fuse, forming a single berry with two calyxes (the pointed tips at the end of the berry).
Here’s another macro view of the double calyx.
It was a good day for noticing small, beautiful things. I hope wherever you are, you can find the time to get out and look around at your environment.
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.
October 2, 2013
SAQA, Studio Art Quilts Associates, revealed their newly revamped website today, and it’s wonderful. It has a clean look, is comprehensive, easy to navigate, and does a great job of featuring the art, exhibits and publications of its members. My thanks and congratulations to all involved in updating the site. I’ve been a Studio Artist Member of SAQA for many years, and the benefits just keep increasing.
I was interviewed earlier this year by Clairan Ferrono, and I’m honored and delighted that the interview is now up on the blog that is integrated into the site. It was great working with Clairan, and I’m very happy with how well the interview turned out. Take a few minutes to read and enjoy; you can access it directly here.
September 30, 2013
I have several new works in progress for my River series, in the same theme as my recently completed In Dreams I Flew Over the River. This one, In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change, is making me very happy as I work on it.
It’s all silks and wools, with needlfelting and piecing. I am being just completely extravagant with my use of materials and it’s very liberating and exciting. I am folding and crimping and letting the silk go where it will, falling into pleats and creases. I am using a lot of wool roving and silk snippets to build up layers of color and texture, and as these teaser details shots show, it’s very textural and inviting.
Really good silk, the only kind I use, is difficult to come by. Many of these pieces were purchased on my trips to India, or brought back by family members (thanks!). When I buy it here in the States, it’s expensive. So while I use it often in my work, it’s usually in a measured fashion. (A recent exception would be Ginger, where I also went a little crazy with the silk.) But here I’m throwing caution to the wind and just reveling in the beauty of the materials, and the impact it has on the story I’m telling.
In Dreams I Saw the Colors Change will be part of my upcoming show in November at the PAE Gallery at Marketview Arts in York, PA. More details on that exhibit are pending.
If you are a regular reader and it seems to you like I have a lot of works in progress, that’s because I do. I’ve had a great year so far for ideation and creativity, and am churning out the quilt tops at a record pace. Soon enough I will settle down, light the coal stove, and spend the colder months quilting and finishing. At least that’s the plan. Stay tuned!