September 27, 2011

Ginger in Progress

Remember “Ginger”?  All those luscious silks?  I started it earlier in the year, before my trip to India, and got the top pieced together before I left.  I’m back at work on it now, and am enjoying the process greatly.  I’ve got it all basted:
SueReno_Ginger in Progress 5
Yes, that’s hand basting, and a lot of it.  Did you know there is such a thing as basting thread?  It’s made from short staple cotton.  “Staple” is a measure of the length of the individual fibers.  Long staple cotton, like Pima, or Egyptian types, commands a premium because it is smooth and luxurious and holds up well over time.  Basting thread is just the opposite.  It holds up well enough for the time it takes to do the quilting, but when it’s time to remove it, the short fibers break readily and pull out of the quilt without a lot of resistance, making the job much easier.
SueReno_Ginger in Progress 6
I’m trying something new and using a wool batt.  I want to maximize the amount of reflection I can get from the silks, so I want each stitch to make a good sized dimple in the quilt.  Wool batting has more loft than cotton--the fibers are springier.  And so far, it’s been quite pleasant to work with, with a nice feel and a good response under the needle.
SueReno_Ginger in Progress 7
I’m making good progress on quilting the leaf image in the center panel.  I’ve got a lot of projects on my metaphorical plate all of a sudden, so by necessity I am skipping around a bit, but this one is such a pleasure I’m doing my best to find time to work on it. 

September 21, 2011

New Work - Clematis ‘Will Goodwin’ - IQA Silent Auction

Clematis 'Will Goodwin'
I’ve just finished a new small art quilt, “Clematis ‘Will Goodwin’”.  It’s my contribution to the International Quilt Association’s Celebrity Mini Quilt Silent Auction.  This is an invitational event and I was honored to be asked to participate.  If you are attending the Festival in Houston this November, be sure to check it out along with all the other Auction quilts, and perhaps bid on your favorites.  (Also while you are at the Festival, be sure to view my “Watt & Shand #6” and “Watt & Shand #10” in the Tactile Architecture Exhibit.)
Clematis 'Will Goodwin' - detail
It’s based on a photograph of said clematis, which grows up my mailbox post.  I used the image to make a cyanotype print on cotton for the center panel.  The size is 18” high by 17” wide, and it features hand embroidery, hand beadwork, machine quilting, and couched yarn.  The fabrics are silks and textured cottons.  It was fun to make--I always enjoy the meditative qualities of hand beading--and I hope it brings the high bidder a lot of pleasure.

September 19, 2011

“Seasonal Palette” Exhibit Acceptance

I am thrilled to announce that I am one of the accepted artists for SAQA’s “Seasonal Palette” Exhibit.  It’s a unique and interesting concept--32 artists will create a large art quilt, each depicting a season of the year.  The artists will document their creative process, including photos, sketches, fabric swatches, etc., which will be displayed in booklet format along with the work. 
The exhibit will debut in a special exhibit space at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX, in 2012, and then travel to additional venues.  The list of accepted artists is online at the SAQA site here.  I am in amazing company!

This concept is right up my creative alley.   From Day 1 as a quilter I have extensively documented my work in progress, and I have rows of binders stuffed with notes about threads, fabric swatches and bead samples, pictures, and the external ephemeral (travel postcards, invitations, announcements, etc.) of my life that pertains to each quilt I make. I document for my own personal pleasure--probably some sort of mild and hopefully harmless obsession--as reference for future projects, and because it seems somehow to be relevant in a broader sense.  For this exhibit it actually IS relevant, and should be a lot of fun.

I don’t have any pictures of the work, obviously, since at present it exists only in my imagination, but I don’t like to post without images, so I will share some photos of the late summer palette I found in my garden this afternoon.  All pictures enlarge when you click on them--enjoy!

Japanese Anemone



Sedum Autumn Joy



Coleus and Sedum

Lily of the Valley Berries

Tall Red Canna

September 15, 2011

New Work - Flood Stage

I’ve got some new work, in a new (to me) medium, and I’m tremendously excited about it.
Flood Stage #1
It’s been an incredibly wet and rainy spring and summer here in Pennsylvania, and I’ve been looking for a means of expressing my reaction to my damp and dripping environment.
Flood Stage #2
A request from my friend, artist Janette Toth, was the catalyst for this new direction and series of works.
Flood Stage #3
She asked if I had some small works to hang at the Fresco Green Scene, for their involvement in Lancaster Art Walk in October.
Flood Stage #4
I’ve been Working Large for the past several years, and didn’t have anything on hand, but apparently I’ve been nurturing a pent up demand for small scale intimate work.  I sat down at my needle felting machine with an assortment of wool and silk scraps and wool and alpaca roving, and the floodgates opened, as it were.
Flood Stage #5
I’ve lived near the Susquehanna River most of my life; my childhood home was on a hill with a spectacular view of it.  I’ve hiked near it, sailed on it, swam in it, and was in Harrisburg, PA during the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Agnes.  I’ve also spent a lot of quality time with the streams that feed into the river, and have witnessed floods caused by rains in the summer and ice jams in the winter. 
Flood Stage #6
So with all of that experience and imagery crammed in my head,  on the heels of Hurricane Irene, and in the midst of the lashings of Hurricane Lee, these small works came tumbling out all in a rush. 

Flood Stage #7
I’m calling them “Flood Stage” and numbering them sequentially. They are all 8” high by 6” wide, and are mounted on mat board.  They are at my framer’s right now--I work with Jenny at State of the Art, and she does an amazing job with her level of craftsmanship, but especially with collaborating in picking out the perfect mats and frames.  My work is always transformed in her hands, and I’m looking forward to getting it back, and then seeing it hanging.
My artistic project plate is very full right now, but I hope to make time to expand on this theme and this new series. It is tremendously fun to work on, always a good sign!