January 24, 2016

Limestone Kiln and Breezyview

We went out last week to a newly opened section of the Northwest River Trial, starting in Columbia PA. The first bit skirts an industrial section of the city, but it soon opens up into the woods. A gorgeous old limestone kiln provides plenty of photo opportunities.

Here's the fisheye view from the interior looking up:
More fisheye views:

The newly opened section joins up with the existing trail system at the old Point Rock Railroad tunnel.
A detail shot of the wall face, with lichen and heuchera:
This section of the trail is separated from the river by the railroad tracks, and doesn't offer any good direct views.  We considered climbing up to the Breezyview Overlook, but it had started snowing and the the hillside was very slippery, so we backtracked and drove up to it.
The Susquehanna was particularly beautiful seen through the light veil of snow.
I chose this shot as the weekly image for my 52 Ways to Look at the River project.
Here's the panel for week 30. I loved working with the monochrome palette:
Read more about the project by clicking the 52 Ways tab at the top, and follow along with me each week on your platform of choice:
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January 22, 2016

Cyanotype article in Quilting Arts Magazine

Quilting Arts, Cyanotype Article by Sue Reno, Image 1

I'm pleased to share that I have an article in the current issue of  Quilting Arts Magazine, Issue 79, Feb.-Mar. 2016.  

Quilting Arts, Cyanotype Article by Sue Reno, Image 2
I was asked to review Jacquard's new line of cyanotype products, including pre-cut and pre-treated fabric sheets, and a kit for treating your own fabric  In the review I walk you through the steps involved in making a successful cyanotype print on fabric. One of the reasons I love the process so much is that it's relatively easy for a beginner to pick up, but holds endless possibilities for the experienced artist.  

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno

I made a lot of test prints with what was currently blooming in my garden, and I had such good results that I was inspired to make an art quilt with them.  Japanese Anemone features prints on both silk and cotton, made directly from the plant and from digital images. 

Sue Reno selfie

Since the focus of this issue is on portrait quilts, editor Vivika Hansen DeNegre asked if I could print a selfie as a cyanotype.  What a fun assignment!  I stepped outside on a warm fall day and snapped this. I tried to exaggerate my features a bit so the details wouldn't get lost in the print.
Sue Reno selfie negative
 I turned the image into a greyscale negative, and printed it out onto a acetate transparency sheet.

Sue Reno selfie cyanotype
 I laid the transparency on a piece of treated fabric, did a timed exposure, and voila!

You can learn how to do this, and more, with the tips I share in the article.  And of course, the entire issue is filed with both eye candy and great information.

And don't forget I have a Quilting Arts Workshop Video available as a DVD or download, where I show you in detail the cyanotype process and other surface design essentials.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting!

January 16, 2016

Work accepted for AQS Lancaster Quiltweek

I am excited to announce that both of my entries were accepted for this year's AQS Lancaster Quiltweek event.

In Dreams I Learned to Swim, by Sue Reno
In Dreams I Learned to Swim
In Dreams I Learned to Swim is a homage to my beloved Susquehanna River.  It's a large quilt, at 60"high by 80" wide, and features a needlefelted and stitched panel centered on a background quilt made from my hand printed and painted fabrics.  It spent last summer at the State Museum of Pennsylvania as part of the Art of the State exhibit.  If any of my local friends missed it there, or want to revisit it, here's your chance.

In Dreams I Learned to Swim, by Sue Reno, detail

Japanese Anemone is my latest work, just revealed on my last blog post. It features cyanotype prints, vintage embroidery, and hand painted and commercial fabrics.  It's 40"h x 46"w.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno
Japanese Anemone
The AQS Quiltweek event will be held at the Lancaster County Convention Center from March 16 - 19, 2016.  It's my hometown show, so I am thrilled and honored to once again have the opportunity to be a part of it.  Perhaps I'll see you there!

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail
Fun fact--The Convention Center and Marriott Hotel were built on the site of the former Watt & Shand department store in center city Lancaster, PA, and the gorgeous facade of that building was painstakingly preserved and incorporated into the new complex.  I spent several years obsessively taking photos of the construction project and turning them into a series of 10 art quilts. You can view them on my website in my Structures gallery, and read all about the works in progress and their subsequent travels by clicking on the Watt & Shand tab in the top header.

Watt & Shand #1, by Sue Reno
Watt & Shand #1

January 15, 2016

New Work - Japanese Anemone

I am happy to share my latest work, Japanese Anemone.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno

It's built around cyanotype prints I made of the flowers and leaves last autumn. One of the wonderful things about this long-lived perennial is its habit of blooming late in the year, when the delicate pink or white flowers are especially appreciated. Everywhere else in the garden, things are beginning to brown and break down for their winter dormancy, so that's the dynamic I worked on capturing for this artquilt.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 1

The above print was made directly from the leaves and flowers, onto silk noil that I treated with cyanotype chemicals.  The silk has an appealing nubby texture. The other cyanotype prints are from my digital photos of the flowers, turned into transparencies. After printing I hand tinted them.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 2
The patchwork is made from my own hand painted fabrics, combined with commercial silks and cottons. The bluebirds of happiness are vintage embroideries from my collection.

Japanese Anemone, by Sue Reno, detail 3
This piece is 40" high by 46" wide.

Enjoy! And as always, thanks for reading and commenting.

January 14, 2016

Work in Progress - Magnolia, Update 3

I know that many of you are interested in process, so here's some photos of how my Magnolia artquilt is progressing 

 I finished the needlefelting on the panel, then added batting and a white cotton backing to prepare it for quilting. This back will be covered by a facing, then layered onto a supporting quilt, so the knots and loose ends will all be covered. Even so, you can see that I am a intrinsically neat and methodical quilter.

The strips that I showed in the last update were cut and reassembled to into what will be a supporting quilt for the needlefelted panel. That luscious burgundy and pink panel is a piece of cotton sateen I hand painted.

 I also hand painted another piece of sateen for the backing of the supporting quilt. The weather was extraordinarily mild for early winter, so I was able to drape it outside to dry. The metal mesh of the garden furniture adds extra patterning as the fabric dries. This will be an artquilt/wall piece, so in theory no one sees the back when it is hanging, but I see it quite a bit as I'm working on it, and it makes me happy to make it look good.

At the last minute I decided that the needlefelted panel needed more definition, so I took the time to add some hand beadwork to it. There's really no rushing these things....

I'm working on the quilting of the supporting quilt now and hope to have the whole thing finished soon.  Stay tuned!

To track this work back, and see it's inception in the PA Governor's garden, click on "Magnolia" in the right sidebar, or go here.