January 21, 2023

Under the Pink Moon included in Soft Associations Exhibit


I am thrilled to announce that my newest art quilt, Under the Pink Moon, will be part of the invitational exhibit Soft Associations.

Fiber artists Meredith Grimsley and Paula Swett have curated this special fiber art exhibition. Artists in this show explore the meaning of soft associations: defined as the moment of awe in our relationship with nature - the moments that take our breath away. Soft Associations will be on display in the Olewine Gallery of the Ned Smith Center for Art and Culture in Millersburg, PA, from February 28th to May 20th. A free reception and gallery talk with drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be held on April 22nd from 2-5pm.

 Particpating artists include Beth Carney, Cathy Stechschulte, Linda Colsh, Rachel Dorr, Sue Reno, Betty Busby, Andrea Finch, Merrill Cormeau, Elena Stokes, Petra Fallaux, Daphne Taylor, Libby Cerullo, Sarah Dugger, Meredith Grimsley, Paula Swett, Arle Sklar-Weinsten and Elizabeth Bennett.  To learn more about the artists, click HERE

I am honored to be invited to exhibit with this roster of exceptional artists. 

Under the Pink Moon by Sue Reno
Under the Pink Moon

I had a solo show in the Olewine gallery in the fall of 2017, and can testify that it's a fabulous space to display art, located in a beautiful nature preserve. I am tickled that my quilt about April's full moon will be on display in the month of April.

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January 12, 2023

New Work - Under the Pink Moon


I am delighted to share my newest work, Under the Pink Moon.
Under the Pink Moon, by Sue Reno
Under the Pink Moon

The second in an emerging new series about the folkloric names ascribed to full moons throughout the year. Under the Pink Moon represents April, when the full moon shines down on the tender emerging foliage and flowers of spring. The center panels are direct solar dye prints of garlic mustard, Virginia creeper, and dock leaves, all very prevalent in the woodlands of Pennsylvania.

Under the Pink Moon, by Sue Reno, detail 1
Under the Pink Moon, detail 1

The vintage hexagon blocks, pieced from feedsack cottons, are bordered with vivid silks. I had a tremendous amount of fun designing and stitching this one together. I love vintage blocks-- these had been neatly, if not entirely accurately, handstitched, and as I worked I thought of the anonymous woman who had made them, and wondered what her hopes and dreams and plans had been.

Under the Pink Moon, by Sue Reno, detail 2
Under the Pink Moon, detail 2

I realized when I finished that this is an extremely rare quilt for me; there are no cyanotype blues in it! They would have distracted from the glorious extreme pinkness.  

Under the Pink Moon, by Sue Reno, detail 3
Under the Pink Moon, detail 3

The size is 49" high by 34"wide.

This quilt will be included in an invitational exhibit this spring--more on that in the next blog post.

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January 9, 2023

Beyond the Blue exhibit at BRCC

 I am excited to announce that my exhibit Beyond the Blue: Contemporary Narrative Quilts is now open in the Fine Arts Center Gallery at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia. The exhibit runs from January 3 - February 23, 2023.

 I will be there for an artist talk on February 2nd at 11:30, with a reception to follow at 12:30. In the event of inclement weather the lecture will be moved to Zoom. 

UPDATE 2/1/2023: The talk has been moved to Zoom, reception will follow in the gallery. Please see FB or Instagram for updates and details. 

This opportunity came about because the Gallery Director saw the exhibit at the Virginia Quilt Museum and initiated a request to have it travel to the BRCC. It's been a pleasure working with both institutions in making this happen so seamlessly. 

These pictures are from the installation and I am delighted with the clean aesthetic of the gallery space. They were able to include 9 of the 10 quilts from the original exhibit (no room for my huge In Dreams I Slept in a Cabin), so if you missed it last fall, here's your chance to see it!

Quilts included are: Sanctuary, In Dreams I Saw the Rift, Tropical Depression, In Dreams I Went Fishing, In Dreams I Found Utopia, Under the Thunder Moon, Fever Dream, On the Verge, and Partly Cloudy.

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December 30, 2022

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 82

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This is the last of my 2022 catch up posts for botanical printmaking. It's a single panel I fit in on a sunny day in autumn, with the last of the Joe Pye weed blossoms. 
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It's on a cotton sateen panel, roughly 2 ft. x 4 ft. I used a mix of cyanotype and solarfast chemicals. 
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 I love the nuanced way the color fades around the edges. It will make a magnificent centerpiece for an art quilt and has joined the queue awaiting my time and attention.

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December 27, 2022

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 81


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They are all special, but this one has some extra panache. Take a look with me as I continue to wrap up my year in botanical printmaking.
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It's been a long standing unfulfilled desire of mine to grow a fig tree outdoors; various practical factors have prevented it. So when I spotted a beautiful specimen in a friend's garden, asked to harvest a few leaves for printmaking, and she graciously agreed, it was a red letter day for me.
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I brought the leaves home, lightly pressed them, and prepared my most chaotic set up to date for wet printing with cyanotype and solarfast chemicals on cotton sateen. Above are the prints before exposure, below shows them after exposure and before rinsing.
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I didn't take detailed notes on how I laid them out, I was in a bit of a frenzy, so even more so then most this is one-of-a-kind.
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I absolutely love the fine leaf veining detail that's showing up here. This is due to how I applied the chemicals, the weather conditions, and the various saps and physical conditions of the leaves themselves.
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Here are the finished prints. The large panel is roughly 2 ft. x 4 ft. I am going to have spend some time with it, deciding how to use it in a quilt. I am over the moon with the detail and complexity of it.
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The smaller individual prints retained that fine structure even after rinsing out. 
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December 23, 2022

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 80


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More autumn printmaking goodness as I work on wrapping up the year in printmaking.
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This batches features that large and luscious native wildflower, Joe Pye weed, Eutrochium fistulosum. I was never able to grow it to its full potential before moving to this property 3 years ago and finally situating it to its liking. 
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It gets very tall, and the flower heads in late summer attract all sorts of large and small pollinators and assorted insects.
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I set up some prints using Solarfast solar dye products on cotton sateen. 
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Then I made a few straight cyanotype prints. I often work with wet fabric, where I have just applied the chemicals, but for these I used previously treated and dried panels, and misted them after adding the leaves. It's a fine distinction but it does make a difference in the way the print develops.
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Here all are the panels after exposure but before rinsing.
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That yellow color, because it was an area of the panel that was masked by the leaves, will mostly rinse out.
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The same goes for that greenish color on the straight cyanotype panels. The orange markings were made by sprinkling the panel with grains of washing soda, sodium carbonate, before exposure. It changes the pH and thus the reaction of the chemicals.
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And here are the results! This panel is about 2ft. x 4ft., and is just perfect for showing off the majesty of the stalk of Joe Pye weed. 
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These panels of individual leaves show off the minor insect damage they have accumulated by autumn.
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The patterning on these reminds me of fireworks, or stars in the night sky. 
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I'm writing this in the midst of a polar vortex, with the temperature at 1F, and a wind chill of minus 20F something. It's a good day to remind myself that the garden will grow lush again in a while.

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December 12, 2022

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 79

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I'm doing a year end catch-up of printmaking sessions that haven't made it onto the blog previously. 
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These prints were done on mineral paper in September, on a hot, sunny day. The first two are black locust leaves from wild trees, the kind with the wicked thorns.
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The next two are calla lily leaves, a perennial favorite of mine.
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This next one is a large, roughly 2 ft. x 4 ft., print on cotton sateen, using both cyanotype chemicals and Solarfast colors, with box elder and dock leaves. I would like to point out that this is image number 1000 of the images I have shared over the years in this series of posts about my experiments in wet cyanotype printing. It's been a true labor of love to document and post these! As a group they have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and from time to time someone writes to acknowledge their usefulness. I have been active online for a long time, and part of me still clings to the ethos that this is a vehicle for disseminating  knowledge freely, to add joy and value to other people's lives.
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Here are the prints after exposure and before rinsing. 
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Mineral paper is a tricky beast to work with as it's not really porous. Cooking the print under glass serves to adhere the chemicals, but some of what is seen in this stage will rinse off. 
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The large cotton print is looking very promising at this stage.
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Here are the finished prints.
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I am very happy with all of these, there's good contrast, definitive outlines, and good color variations.
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I am especially pleased with how this one turned out. Again, good definition, good contrast, and such a lovely turquoise/teal color palette! I already have plans for an art quilt based around this print.
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