March 31, 2017

In Dreams I Drifted Away - New Work in Progress

In Dreams I Drifted Away, WIP, Image 1
I really do dream about these pieces in The River series. I look at and think about the river a lot, I always have, so themes and ideas about it float up from my unconscious when I'm just about to wake. If I'm lucky, I catch them. This title, and the general sense of it, came to me last summer and I got to work immediately on it. I pulled a vibrant piece of turquoise felt for the centerpiece, and auditioned fabrics to accompany it. Not all of them made the final cut, but they helped to set the tone.

In Dreams I Drifted Away, WIP, Image 2
 I laid out the riverbank/border fabrics, a variety of silks with different patterns and textures, and needlefelted them onto the felt base. Next I laid slivers of wool and silk on the river and arranged them to show movement.
In Dreams I Drifted Away, WIP, Image 3
 A layer of wool roving and lots of sparkly mylar fibers came next, and were also needlefelted into place.
In Dreams I Drifted Away, WIP, Image 4

 I was happy with the work so far, and the title and general direction, but was still not entirely clear on the conceptual underpinnings. To give me more opportunity to reflect, I began hand stitching on the piece. Embroidery, like beadwork, is a very meditative process.  I worked on it, off and on in the odd spare hour, just enjoy the feel of the textiles and the repetitive motion of the needle.
With the embroidery complete, I added a layer of batting and a backing and quilted it improvisationally.  
In Dreams I Drifted Away, WIP, Image 6
 I hate forcing a work, and I'm OK with having a variety of works in progress, so I pinned this one up on a design board where I could look it over and ruminate on it from time to time.

Up next, the fog begins to lift!

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

March 12, 2017

JWST: Art + Science Opening Reception

Luminosity, by Sue Reno, at NASA Goddard Visitor Center
Luminosity.  Image credit Jolearra Tishiteya
FURTHER UPDATE: The exhibit was extended again, the last day is July 2nd.
UPDATE: Due to popular demand, the exhibit has been extended into May!
What a great experience! Here's my chronicle of attending The James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 opening reception. It's open, and free, at the NASA Goddard Visitor Center through April 16. This is my work in the show, Luminosity. If you are new here, you can track back the project and my part in it by clicking on the James Webb in the top header, or clicking here.
Luminosity, detail, by Sue Reno
Luminosity, detail.  Image credit Jolearra Tishiteya
Because the Center had been undergoing renovations, mounting the exhibit happened on a quick timeline. I decided to deliver my artwork in person the day before, and I was very glad I did.

Building a support for Luminosity at NASA Goddard Visitor Center
I had previously expressed my concerns on displaying my work in a way that made it obvious that it shouldn't be handled. It's been my experience that textile art in general, and my work in particular, is so tactile and inviting that people who wouldn't dream of touching a painting will almost unconsciously reach out to touch a quilt.  When I arrived, the staff was busy building a structure to accomplish that goal and simultaneously show it off to the best advantage. I got to help design and screw together what was basically a giant erector set. You can see how happy I am with the results!
Luminosity, with Sue Reno, being installed at NASA Goddard Visitor Center
I also had a bit of time to look around the rest of the renovated Center and appreciate the interactive science exhibits.
NASA Goddard Visitor Center
The next afternoon, I was back for a scheduled media event. This also gave me a lot of time to talk with the other artists, admire their work, and talk shop about motivation and process.  Once again, very happy!
Sue Reno with Luminosity, at media event
Luminosity, as befits its name, looks different in all the changing light conditions in the center. (The glass is UV protected, so no worries there.) Just outside the window is this cool rocket model.
Rocket model at NASA Goddard Visitor Center

Finally the big night arrived!
Sue Reno with Luminosity at NASA Goddard Visitor Center
Sue Reno with Luminosity.  Image credit Ophelia Chambliss
Everyone looked great--there was a lot of gold/space themed attire.
Artists at opening of JWST: Art + Science 2017
L-R Sue Reno, Joanna Barnum, Brandi Smart, Maggie Masetti, Lauren Emeritz  Credit: Ophelia Chambliss
Here's some snapshots of the artwork.  For better, and accredited, images, along with detail shots and artist's statements, visit this NASA site.

James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Exhibit

James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Exhibit

James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Exhibit

James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Exhibit

James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Exhibit

James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Exhibit

James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Exhibit

James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Exhibit
Even the cupcakes were appropriate to the theme.
Cupcakes, James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Opening Reception

It was both gratifying and humbling to see how many of the people who have worked on the James Webb Space Telescope came out in support for the opening. I had conversations with scientists, engineers, and administrators whose involvement spanned the long term. It truly was a meeting of Art + Science.
James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Opening Reception
Part way into the evening several people spoke, including Maggie Masetti. The art event was her brainchild, and she deserves many accolades for its design and execution. She has been a grand cheerleader and an advocate for the artists, and always accessible as we worked on our art and had questions.  Thanks Maggie!
Maggie Masetti, James Webb Space Telescope: Art + Science 2017 Opening Reception
As you can tell from the artwork, one of the strengths of the project was the diversity of the artists invited.  Hannah Larrabee wrote three poems. which she had  letterpress printed.
Hannah Larrabee, poem/letterpress

Here's Hanna reading The Three Body Problem. (Edit--this may be too long for viewing on some mobile devices/connections.)

John Garvey performed his very catchy song about the Telescope.  You can view his video on You Tube:

While everyone was gathered there was a call for a group photo. That's photographer Jolearra Tishiteya, who did a great job of herding us all together.
Organizing group artist photo, NASA Goddard Visitor Center
I'm glad so many artists were able to attend--we missed those who couldn't.
Artist Group photo, credit Jolearra Tishiteya

Some more  links for your enjoyment:
The official NASA article about the exhibit opening:

I was interviewed for this excellent article about space art::

Ashley Zelinskie was featured in this one:

John Garvey put together a cut of his live performance at the event:

Joanna Barnum and Maggie Masetti did a live news interview:

 WJC 13 in Baltimore did a nice spot that they have on rotation.

Luminosity, artist Sue Reno, NASA Goddard Visitor Center
Sue Reno, Luminosity, photo credit Ophelia Chambliss
I am so glad I took a leap and applied for this opportunity. Personally, it stretched my skills, and gave me a new lens on the world that will be impacting my work for a long time. Professionally, I enjoyed meeting artists from many different disciplines and talking about our similarities and differences.  As a citizen and a patriot, I am inordinately proud to have done my small bit to promote  awareness of the JWST, and by extension, the science and technology that comprise the basis of my worldview and which I am happy to help support with my tax dollars.
Luminosity by Sue Reno. NASA Goddard Visitor Center
Luminosity at NASA Goddard Visitor Center

March 4, 2017

New Work - Late Summer Roses

Late Summer Roses, by Sue Reno
Late Summer Roses
 I'm pleased to share with you another newly completed work, Late Summer Roses.
Late Summer Roses, by Sue Reno, detail 1
Late Summer Roses, detail 1
 It was begun plein air in the garden of the Governor's Residence in Harrisburg, PA. At the previous year's event, I focused on the wonderful Magnolia tree. This time, I was enticed by the prolific late summer blooms on the rose bushes, and the way they complemented the mellow brick of the walkways.
Late Summer Roses, by Sue Reno, detail 2
Late Summer Roses, detail 2
 The center panel is needlefelted with wool and silk, heavily stitched, and has a sparkly seed bead sewn onto on each individual rose. The supporting quilt is made of cotton and silk patchwork, including my own hand painted fabrics.  It measures 54"h x 47"w. You can track back the creation of this work by clicking here, or on Late Summer Roses in the right sidebar.
Late Summer Roses, by Sue Reno, detail 3
Late Summer Roses, detail 3
Late Summer Roses and its companion piece Magnolia made their exhibit debut at Life Along the River: Narrative art quilts depicting the Susquehanna River and its environs, at the Pennsylvania Arts Experience Gallery, Marketview Arts, York, PA, March 3 – 31, 2017.   I will be giving an artist talk on Saturday, March 25th at 11:00 a.m.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting.