February 7, 2024

New Work - Greenhouse Effect

Greenhouse Effect by Sue Reno
Greenhouse Effect

I am delighted to share my latest work, Greenhouse Effect. It combines large wet process cyanotype prints of leaves gathered in my local woods with elaborate patchwork borders.


Greenhouse Effect by Sue Reno, detail 1
Greenhouse Effect, detail 1

It measures 62"h x 48"w

Greenhouse Effect by Sue Reno, detail 2
Greenhouse Effect, detail 2

It's very heavily stitched to add lots of detail and texture.

Greenhouse Effect by Sue Reno, detail 3
Greenhouse Effect, detail 3

I am equally delighted, and honored, to share that Greenhouse Effect has been selected for the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh's upcoming Exhibit at the Erie Art Museum. It will be on display from April 4 through January 19, 2025, with an opening reception on the 4th.

Greenhouse Effect by Sue Reno, detail 4
Greenhouse Effect, detail 4

This is another of my artquilts where the imagery can go only so far to capture the interplay of all the elements. I hope some of you can visit the Erie Art Museum at some point during this long run to see my work and the work of the other talented Guild Artists.

Greenhouse Effect by Sue Reno, detail 5
Greenhouse Effect, detail 5

My statement for this artwork: 

Alarmed by global climate change and frequent dramatic
weather events, I’ve been working on a series of weather-related quilts. The
greenhouse effect is a process that occurs when gases in the Earth's atmosphere
trap the Sun's heat. This makes Earth much warmer and contributes to extreme
weather, wildfires, droughts, and agricultural disruptions. For this quilt I
made prints of leaves from species native to my micro-environment in
Pennsylvania, as many are showing stress related to these changes.

For decades I’ve been experimenting with cyanotype
printing on fabric as a surface design technique. These prints have become the
basis of my artistic practice.

Combined with the print imagery, I use traditional quilt
making techniques to assemble a patchwork of fabrics. The work is then layered
and heavily stitched.

Materials: artist painted and commercial cotton, silk,
wool fabrics

Techniques: wet process cyanotype and solar dye prints,
monoprints, patchwork, stitching



Greenhouse Effect by Sue Reno, detail 6
Greenhouse Effect, detail 6
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December 21, 2023

2023 Winter Solstice Pinhole Camera Pics

Sue Reno, 2023 Winter Solstice Pinhole image 1
Happy Solstice! From here on in it gets better, with a few minutes more light each day.
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Here's the best of this season's winter solstice pinhole camera pictures. The tech behind these could not be any simpler. A piece of Foma black and white photographic paper is rolled up, inserted, and sealed inside a clean beer can. A single pinhole is poked in the can to admit light, the whole works is attached to a hopeful vantage point, and then I wait. These cans were put out on the summer solstice, so each swooping line on the horizon represents a single day's journey of the sun across the horizon.
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It's best to aim it towards the south, but it's also fun to experiment. This one above was off the the side, on top of a garden trellis, so you can see some of the sun paths but also a nice assortment of trees.
Sue Reno, 2023 Winter Solstice Pinhole image 4
I do the above view every year, it's looking out from the front of my suburban home near Pittsburgh, PA, USA. This year a shrub grew up and partially obscured the view for a while in the summer; you can see a few branches and a leaf. 

I do these because they are fun, and because when everything is instant it's nice to have something to wait for. I hope you enjoy them!
 

December 4, 2023

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 88

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I did one last round of wet cyan prints, using fresh leaves before the first frost hit. Up first is a print on cotton fabric using sensitive fern, Onoclea sensibilis, and eastern redbud leaves, Cercis canadensis. The redbud is a sport variety, Rising Sun, I had my eye on all summer at my favorite nursery, and when it went on sale in the fall I brought it home. The leaves emerge orangey-red, then turn chartreuse, which sounds sort of gimmicky but looks really lovely. 

The sensitive fern was the focus of a large quilt I did back in 2007, which I titled Mystery Fern. This was pre-google image search, when I had to rely on what was in my head or in my field guides, and at first I couldn't do a positive ID, hence the "mystery". It remains one of my all-time favorites, for its imagery and it's cool, woodsy vibe.

Sue Reno_Mystery Fern
Mystery Fern

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Along with the big fabric print, I did four variations of redbud leaves on mineral paper.
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All of these prints are primarily cyanotype chemicals, with just a smidge of Solarfast solar dye in yellow.
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Here they all are after exposure, but before rinsing.

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There's lots of good swirly stuff happening on the mineral paper.
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And here are the rinsed and finished prints.

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That's probably the last printmaking session for the year, although I do have bunch of pressed leaves, so I might get inspired on a cold and snowy day. 

As always, thanks for reading! A reminder that this blog is packed full of all kinds of good info, so have some fun exploring the tabs in the top header. Also an admin note-- I have left the dumpster fire that was once twitter, and am now posting on Threads. Pick your platform to find and follow my content: 

November 3, 2023

Experiments in wet caynotype - part 87

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Time to share some wet cyan/solarfast goodness from earlier in the fall, when we had a bit of warm weather. First up is a trio of spikenard leaves on cotton.
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Next is a branch from a hawthorn tree. It's a medium sized tree at the edge of our property; I don't think I ever noticed it before. Perhaps this is the first time in my tenure that it's fruited this heavily, or perhaps this year I noticed it just before the birds.
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Then, on to fig leaves! I planted figs for the first time this year, and this late in the season felt empowered to harvest a few leaves for printmaking. First is a set of three on cotton, then a solitare on mineral paper.
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Next a trio of nasturtium leaves on mineral paper.
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And finally, some more spikenard.
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Here they all are after exposure but before rinsing. I always observe at this time of year that I can get good prints on a warm sunny day, but they lack the extreme patterning and color morphing of a hot and humid summer day.
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Those greenish tones in the unexposed areas always rinse out.
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For such a simple leaf shape, the nasturtiums are printing up surprisingly complex.
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 Here are the finished prints. Again, the ones on fabric have a mellow, uncomplicated autumnal vibe.
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I'm quite happy with the mineral paper prints. There's lots of circular patterning going on in the background.
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As always, thanks for reading! A reminder that this blog is packed full of all kinds of good info, so have some fun exploring the tabs in the top header. Also an admin note-- I have left the dumpster fire that was once twitter, and am now posting on Threads. Pick your platform to find and follow my content: 


October 9, 2023

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 86

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More of this summer's adventures in wet cyanotype with a big batch of prints on mineral paper.
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Mineral paper is made from calcium carbonate, with an added binder. The surface is very slick, and it absorbs water slowly, which makes it ideal for my purposes - the cyanotype chemicals move about freely at the beginning of the exposure, making for some very cool effects.
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This set starts with 3 calla leaves, then 3 different fern fronds.
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I consider callas and ferns some of the staples of my perennial shade gardens, both for their reliability and for their printmaking potential. I never tire of them in either capacity.
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If memory serves, I added a few drops of Solarfast chemicals into the cyanotype mix.
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Above are the panels before exposure: below is after a long exposure in the strong September sun.
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I let them dry and cure overnight before rinsing them out. Unlike fabric, it only takes a light touch to process them.
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Often they are so beautiful at this stage that I can hardly bear it. 

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Here are the finished prints.

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There's a strong focal point in each, and a whole lot going on in the background.
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Just like wet cyan on fabric, there's a lot about the process that is beyond control, but I am learning how to manage parts of it. These prints just keep getting better and better.
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As always, thanks for reading! A reminder that this blog is packed full of all kinds of good info, so have some fun exploring the tabs in the top header. Also an admin note-- I have left the dumpster fire that was once twitter, and am now posting on Threads. Pick your platform to find and follow my content: