November 9, 2012

Squirrel and Locust wins Best of Show

I’m still floating on air a week after receiving the news that my Squirrel and Locust was awarded Best in Show by juror Adriene Buffington at Art Quilts XVII: Integrating a Paradox, at the Chandler Center for the Arts.
It’s been a long and convoluted voyage, from being gifted with a few small mammal skulls to winning recognition for the resultant artwork.   Along the way I took my initial enthusiasm for the intricacies of the structures of the skulls and developed it into a concept, followed by a spreadsheet, followed by the quest to gather more skulls. (I have interesting friends, and you can buy pretty much anything on the internet.)
The concept was spun around my deep and abiding love for my environment here in the beautiful suburban wilds of Lancaster County, PA, coupled with my observations of and interactions with the small mammals that also live here.  To bring it to fruition involved macro photography, digital image editing, and cyanotype printing.  There was the gathering of botanical specimens and more printmaking.  There was rummaging through collected vintage embroideries for the perfect visual commentary.

There was a lot of rearranging things on the design wall, followed by staring and contemplation, followed by stitching.  Lots and lots of stitching.  And lots of and lots of sewing on tiny beads by hand.

All of the act  of creation was its own reward.   Sending the artwork out into the world and seeing it gain recognition and validation, knowing that others people see what I am saying and/or bring their own interpretation to the work, is incredibly wonderful, somewhat  humbling, and extremely motivating.   So, a pause to say thank you, to those involved with this show and to the fiber arts community at large, and then back to work.  I have some raccoon skull cyanotypes looking out at me from the design wall.  Rumor has it that there is also an apple tree involved.

November 5, 2012

New Work - The Organic Landscape

Now that the Seasonal Palette exhibit has debuted at the International Quilt Festival in Houston this past week, I am delighted to be able to share the images of The Organic Landscape here on my blog and on my website as part of my Garden series.
I truly enjoyed every part of the process of creating this art quilt, from design through construction, and I think my joy shines through in the finished work.
Seasonal Palette is an invitational SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibit, where each artist was asked to produce work to a standard size, 78”h x 32”w, and  relating to one of the four seasons of the year.  I was asked to interpret summer, and I chose my palette of colors from the warm and rich tones of the landscape in the height of the season.  I have gardened organically at this property for decades, and am always working to become more closely attuned to the rhythms and fluctuations  in the life cycles of the plants, animals, and insects --the flora and fauna--of the bit of earth I have stewardship over.  It’s the visual artist’s variation of the writer’s dictum, “write what you know”.  My work stems from deep rather than casual observation. SueReno_TheOrganicLandscapeDetail3
I began by making cyanotype prints of some favorite and reliable plants; painted ferns, big root perennial geraniums, japanese anemones, plume poppies, and two varieties of ornamental sweet potato vines.  Most of these have figured in previous works, and are always welcome subjects for new interpretations of their forms and presence in the landscape.  I began by making cyanotype prints and heliographic prints of the leaves.  I also hand painted cottons in the colors I needed, and combined them with silks I brought back from India, as well as commercial fabrics, for Seminole piecework. You can track back the the work in progress here, or by clicking the Seasonal Palette tab at the top of the blog.
One of the requirements for the exhibit was the documentation of the creative process.  This is my normal studio practice, to keep samples and make notes as I go along, so I expanded on it to produce the material for a portfolio book which is being shown along with the quilt.  Early reports from Houston indicate that these portfolios were an terrific enhancement to the experience.  There is also a catalogue for the exhibit, available in the SAQA store.  I don’t have my copy yet but I can’t wait to see it! The entire exhibit is now online, it is absolutely fabulous, and I am once again deeply honored to be a part of it.  Most of the quilts are also available for purchase--the link to mine is here.

The exhibit will now travel to:
The International Quilt Festival - Cincinnati, April 11-12, 2013
The International Quilt Festival - Long Beach, August 2-4, 2013
The National Quilt Museum, Paducah, Kentucky, September 12 - December 2, 2013 with possible further venues to be announced.   If you saw the exhibit in Houston I would love to hear your reaction.

As always, thank you for reading and commenting.