June 14, 2017

Lectures, and painting quilt backs

Sue Reno lecturing
 Did you know I give lectures? It's a fun part of my job. I encourage people to find and follow their unique creative paths. I start with a digital presentation about inspirations, techniques, and working methods, followed by a trunk show. I bring a big stack of my exhibition quilts, and volunteers walk them around the room so everyone can see the details.
The Longest Day, at Sue Reno lecture
 In April I was honored to be the guest speaker for the Q.U.I.LT., Inc. Guild for their quilt show in Troy, NY. They put on a terrific show, with hundreds of beautiful quilts, and great vendors. They saw to every detail, and treated me extremely well.  As part of their programming I gave my lecture on two consecutive days. Both times, the backs of my quilts caught people's eyes and interest.

My quilts are made to display on a wall, so ordinarily the backs are not visible. But I spend a lot of time working on the quilting, and it makes me happy if the back is custom made to match the imagery on the front. So for several years now I have been painting the cloth for the back side of the quilt.
The Longest Day, quilt back, at Sue Reno lecture
 Here's how I do it. I start with a length of cotton sateen that's pfd--prepared for dying-- meaning that it doesn't have any finishes that would prevent the cotton from taking up dyes or paints. I like sateen because it has a bit more heft than a flat weave, without being too bulky. I buy it in 60" wide bolts, but it it's a large quilt I may need to piece it to size.
In Dreams I Drifted Away, by Sue Reno_WIP_Image 11
 I sweep off the driveway on a nice sunny day and lay out the fabric, weighing it at the corners in case of a breeze.  I use textile paints in colors that seem appropriate for the quilt, and dilute them with water.  I don't measure, but eyeball it at about a 1:4 ratio.  I drip and/or swirl the paint on the fabric. In this instance I started with dry fabric, let the paint sit for a few minutes, then misted it with the hose.
In Dreams I Drifted Away, by Sue Reno_WIP_Image 12
 I let that partially dry, then came back with another round of dripping and swirling, this time with a complementary color.  Again, I misted with the hose.
In Dreams I Drifted Away, by Sue Reno_WIP_Image 13
 Then I let the fabric dry in the sun,  As it dries, the paint wicks across the fabric and forms patterns.  My driveway is old and really should be replaced, but I've been hesitating because the cracks in it cause the most wonderful designs:
In Dreams I Drifted Away, by Sue Reno_WIP_Image 14
 Once it's dry, I heat set the paint, then rinse the cloth to remove any bits of outdoor dirt. This particular back is for one of my current works in progress, In Dreams I Drifted Away.  More on that quilt to follow.
In Dreams I Drifted Away, by Sue Reno_WIP_Image 15
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

With special thanks to Q.U.I.L.T., Inc. for inviting me, and to Peggy Rinella for the pictures.


Allison Aller said...

So simple and effective---thanks!

Franki Kohler said...

Nice touch Sue.