Sue Reno is an award winning fiber artist who lives and works in Lancaster County, PA. Her rich and intricate art quilts reflect her local environment and incorporate imagery drawn from her studies of botany, wildlife, historic architecture, and the Susquehanna River.
She employs surface design techniques including cyanotype, mono printing, digital image transfer, and needle felting as the basis for works that also incorporate hand painted fabrics, hand and machine stitching, and beadwork.
Sue’s work was selected for the U.S. State Department Art in Embassies program in Vientiane, Laos. Her “Silk Mill #3” was added to the permanent fine art collection of the Pennsylvania State Museum. Her work has been featured in publications including American Quilter, Quilting Arts Magazine, Machine Quilting Unlimited, The Quilt Life Magazine, Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, Seasonal Palette, The Studio Quilt and 1000 Artisan Textiles, and in an episode of “Simply Quilts” on HGTV. Sue is featured in several episodes of Quilting Arts TV, currently airing on PBS stations nationwide. Her Quilting Arts TV Workshop Video, Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt, is now available as a DVD/download.
Sue has exhibited in solo shows as well as participating in numerous art and fine craft exhibits at venues including The Pennsylvania State Museum, the Robeson gallery at Penn State, the Wayne Art Center, the Wolf Gallery at York College, and the Bellefonte Museum, all in PA; the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY, the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, TX, the Greater Denton Art Council, TX, the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, NY, The Vision Gallery in Chandler, AZ, the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, NJ, and the Museum of Fine Art in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She regularly contributes to quilt exhibits across the US. Her career includes lecturing on the creative process and serving as a juror for fine craft and quilt exhibitions.
I’ve spent my life wandering the woods, wild places, and ruins of Pennsylvania. Increasingly I feel a sense of urgency to document what I observe. The beauty is intense, yet so transitory and fragile, and I am driven to record and preserve what I can.
Textiles are the ideal medium for this work. Fabric is flexible and adaptable, seemingly delicate but surprising strong and enduring. Pulling textiles from their familiar domestic usage and utilizing them in an artistic context is a powerful form of expression.
I use a variety of surface design techniques to put imagery onto the fabric, often working directly with plant materials. I capture a moment in the life cycle with cyanotype or monoprints, working outdoors at the tender mercies of the environment. I also work with screen printing and digital printing from my extensive collection of photographs, including macro photos of native mammal skulls. Lately I have added felting and fabric manipulation to my repertoire in order to capture the ever-changing moods of my beloved Susquehanna River.
Combined with the imagery, I use traditional quilt making techniques to assemble a patchwork of fabrics from a wide variety of sources, both commercial and hand crafted. I often incorporate vintage needlework elements, as homage to previous generations of women whose avenues for self-expression were more constrained than mine. The work is then layered and heavily stitched, to add elements of line and texture.
I work on several pieces from my ongoing series concurrently. My depictions of plants, animals, historic architecture and river landscapes all play off each other to form a cohesive whole, a body of work that highlights the splendor of my local environment and the urgent need for conservation.