August 2, 2018

Ice Jam accepted for Eye of the Needle

Ice Jam, by Sue Reno
Ice Jam
 I am pleased and excited to announce that Ice Jam has been accepted for the SAQA Regional Exhibit, Eye of the Needle. It will be on display at the Bottleworks, Johnstown, PA, from October 18 through November 30th. The Juror is Andra Stanton.
Ice Jam, by Sue Reno, detail 1
Ice Jam, detail 1
 Ice Jam is part of my ongoing series The River about the magnificent Susquehanna. The inspiration was a set of photos I took in a harsh winter, when alternating freeze and thaw cycles created giant slabs of ice that were thrust up onto the banks in a surreal fashion.

Ice Jam, by Sue Reno, detail 2
Ice Jam, detail 2
The center panel is needlefelted with wool and silk fibers, the supporting quilt is made from collograph prints, and it's heavily quilted. I added couched threads and lots of hand beadwork with seed beads and semi-precious stones. Size is 43"h x 52"w.
Ice Jam, by Sue Reno, detail 3
Ice Jam, detail 3
I do the best I can with images, but like a lot of fiber works it really needs to be seen in person to appreciate the textures. Many thanks to SAQA Penn and the Bottleworks for providing this opportunity to exhibit.
Ice Jam, by Sue Reno, detail 4
Ice Jam, detail 4

July 31, 2018

Storm Watch accepted for Inspired! Exhibit

Storm Watch, by Sue Reno
Storm Watch
I am very pleased to announce that Storm Watch has been accepted for Inspired!, the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh Member Exhibit.
Storm Watch, by Sue Reno, detail 1
Storm Watch, detail 1
Inspired! will be held from September 23 - October 18, 2018 at the Harlan Gallery, Seton Hill University, in Greensburg, PA. The juror is Jeanne Beck.
Storm Watch, by Sue Reno, detail 2
Storm Watch, detail 2
Storm Watch is the first art quilt I made using the wet process cyanotype prints I've been experimenting with for over a year now. The sashings are all various weights and textures of silk, and everything is very heavily stitched and textural. Size is 49" x 49".
Storm Watch, by Sue Reno, detail 3
Storm Watch, detail 3
Storm Watch was featured earlier this year in an MQU magazine article; this is its first outing to a physical show. I'm excited to be able to share my work, and appreciate this opportunity provided by the Guild.
Storm Watch, by Sue Reno, detail 4
Storm Watch, detail 4

July 30, 2018

Experiments in SolarFast printing - part 5

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 For this batch of experimental prints, I wanted to focus on trying to preserve brush stroke lines, and on working towards a watercolor feel. I began with a stargazer lily blossom and a hosta leaf.
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 As before, these are all on cotton sateen. I'm working with a combination of SolarFast solar dyes and DyeNaFlow textiles paints. After applying the paints and adding the plants, I misted them with additional water, covered them with glass, and set them in the sun for exposure. For this batch the weather was in the mid 80s F, with moderate humidity.
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 Above is a cluster of Japanese Anemone leaves, below is a branch from a ninebark shrub, and I finished out the batch with a plume poppy leaf.
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 I let them expose for about three hours. Again, having learned how to work with these products according to the manufacturer's instructions, I'm playing around with the possibilities.
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 With the last batch of these, I let them dry overnight, then ironed them to heat set the DyeNaFlow before washing them out. This time I decided I wanted a degree of washout, so they went into the washer with hot water and textile detergent right after exposure. Here's the damp, un-washed prints:
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 And here are the final prints. There's lots of good detail in the stargazer blossom.
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 Just the right amount of washout in this hosta print.
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 The leaf spaces in the Japanese Anemone print are a bit too open at this point, but once I add the leaf veining with stitching they will be perfect.
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 I don't think I've worked with nine bark before, but it turned out well and I will use it again.
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 I'm especially happy with the way the brush strokes and water color feel came through on this plume poppy print. I feel like I am capturing the essence of July in the garden with this batch of prints.
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July 24, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 27

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Welcome to part 27 of my experiments in wet cyanotype. This time I was once again all about the heat and humidity, as we had plenty of both. Temperatures in the high 90s F are not ideal, but I had the time and wanted to try. I went with a stargazer lily again, as they are plentiful in bloom this year, and their moment is fleeting. They are a substantial, thick petaled flower which helps. I also picked some Shasta daisies; they had been suffering in the drought and were on the small side.
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For the rest I went with my old reliables, Japanese anemone leaves, along with a hosta and a wood poppy leaf.
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As expected, conditions in the blazing sun made the the cyanotype chemicals, and the moisture from the plants, move around rapidly and chaotically. I left them out for about 5 hours in the mid day sun, at which point there were obviously cooked enough. Here are the finished, un-rinsed prints. The images are a bit foggy from condensation on my lens--it was extremely humid!
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The stargazer held up well. The shastas are looking a bit blobby.
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I spritzed a bit of heavily diluted red textile paint on a few of these, and it wicked around in hard lines this time.
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The hot sun cooked some of the sap from the wood poppy leaves into a partial eco-print.
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Here are the finished prints. There's some wonderful photographic detail on the stargazer.
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The shasta daisies turned out better than expected. I can easily detail the petals later.
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The stem of the right anemone leaf bled out in a cool pattern, and I like what's going on the top of this one.
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I've never had this hard edged paint line happen before, so I'm pleased with this one!
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Hosta leaves are always such great subjects for this method.
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And the wood poppy print has a lot going on as well. All in all, a good batch! These were done in a dry spell, in advance of the current rain deluge, so conditions will have changed dramatically when I am ready to print again. I really like the way these prints have an immediacy about them, a moment in time and space captured in the garden that endures.
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July 19, 2018

Experiments in wet cyanotype - part 26

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Welcome to part 26 of my experiments in making wet process cyanotype prints, where I continue to chase the dream of making flower prints with this method.
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The difficulty lies in that wet cyan prints with the qualities I like--marked patterning and separation of colors--require lengthy exposures in the hot sun. That same hot sun, working on flower petals under glass, tends to shrivel or cook the flower petals quickly, which can lead to interesting results but not always the ones I'd prefer.
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So for this batch, I gathered a stargazer lily, a hydrangea flower, and double daylily stem, and a coneflower blossom, and set them up on treated cotton sateen. The twist was that I set them out to expose late in the afternoon, around 4, in partial shade, then left them out overnight. I collected them after the first of the morning sun rays hit them. Daytime temperatures were in the 80s F, with high humidity.
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I was successful in avoiding the worst of the flower petal meltdown. Here are the prints after exposure but before rinsing out. That cool green in the leaves almost always rinses out.
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After a very wet spring, we are in a dry spell. I water the flower beds but there's only so much I can compensate for. My poor hydrangea is just limping along, which accounts for the paltry nature of the flower head.
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Here are the finished prints. The stargazer lily turned out very well.
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And I'm pleased with the other as well.
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Obviously, by preserving the integrity of the flowers, I missed out on the more extreme colors and patterns in the backgrounds. The prints have a soft, dreamy feel, which objectively can be a fine thing. I can always harden up the lines and the edges with stitching if I so choose.
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But it's good to know that after all this experimentation, I have some fundamental grasp of what is going on in this wonderful, unpredictable process!
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