Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sue Reno’s new Quilting Arts Workshop

I’ve admired Sue Reno’s work in exhibitions for years, wondered about her techniques and swooned over her fabulous echo quilting, but I first got to know her when she came to Quilting Arts TV to shoot several several segments for Series 1400. In Episode 1404, “Inspired by Nature,” she shows how plants, animal skeletons and photography inspires her work. In episode 1410, “Quilting Medley,” she demonstrates her trademark echo quilting. 

Me, with Sue on the set of Quilting Arts TV

While she was on set in March 2014, she also shot a Quilting Arts Workshop, “Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt.” It is now available as both a DVD ($24.99) or a digital download ($19.99) from the Quilting Daily Shop. I watched it yesterday, and now I can barely contain my excitement. I want to run out right now and buy a few supplies, and get started. I want to make cyanotype prints, heliographic sun prints, Thermofax®, and collagraph prints. I want to play!

These are techniques I’ve been wanting to try forever, so why haven’t I? Maybe because I didn’t know exactly what to do. Maybe I was a bit intimidated. But not anymore! Sue’s patient, concise explanations and demonstrations make everything perfectly clear, and very easy to understand. I think I’ll be trying all of these techniques, and incorporating them in my future work.

Sue’s heliographic sun printing
Sue with me, in front of one of her larger pieces.
Sue places animal bones before a segment of QATV

Sue covers a different technique in four of the “chapters” in her Workshop. She shows how to make cyanotypes, gorgeous blue-and-white prints, using plant materials (I’m eager to try both plants and objects to print!) and pre-prepared, purchased cyanotype fabric. Then she covers heliographic prints, using watered-down transparent textile paint and the power of the sun; and collographs using a reusable Gelli Plate. Last, she explains how to prepare original photographs, and have them made into Thermofax® screens, and shows how to screen print from them.

Along the way, she shares her knowledge about good design, and practical tips for making the techniques easier. At the end of the Workshop, she shows examples of her work that she made from fabrics using these techniques, while explaining her composition, design and quilting decisions. 

If you are like me – curious about these techniques, but not knowing how to get started, this is the Workshop for you! I highly recommend it if you want to work with these surface design materials.  

Several other artists are participating in a blog hop to launch Sue’s workshop. You can read their posts by following the links below!

Blog hop!
11/5/14: Sue Reno
11/6/14: Susan Brubaker Knapp
11/7/14: Allie Aller
11/8/14: Diane Doran
11/9/14: Vivien Zepf
11/10/14: Virginia Spiegel
11/11/14: Cynthia St. Charles
11/12/14: Natalya Aikens
11/13/14: Lyric Kinard

and oh!… a giveaway! Leave a comment after this post, telling me about a handmade gift you made, or about a surface design technique you’d like to try. At 6 p.m. EST on Nov. 14, I’ll draw one name at random. The winner will receive a copy of my latest Quilting Arts Workshop, “Fabulous Finishes.” Make sure you leave me your e-mail address, or some way to reach you.

Note: If your comment does not show up right away, please don’t freak out. Please post only one comment. I now have to moderate/approve all comments, because I was getting a ton of Japanese porn spammers leaving comments on my blog!

We have a winner! Juliefeldhaus has won. Thanks for reading, everyone!


  1. Hi Sue, I just discovered your blog, and what luck, you're having a giveaway!! I enjoyed your article in Machine Quilting Unlimited August 2014 issue.
    I've made lots of gifts over the years, mostly quilts because that's what I love the most so it seems like a special gift to give. The largest of these was a Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt that I made in a king size for a special man in my life. He loves it and brags about it all the time. I made a baby quilt for my nephew about 30 years ago, he still has it. Quilts are a lot of work but I'm glad that my friends and family have a little piece of me with them always.

  2. Thank you for the fabulous review, Susan!

  3. I love to make thread painted pictures of dogs for people----truly a labor of love.....I would so love to win this prize...incredible CD...

  4. I am just getting into trying surface design and am anxious to try some sun printing. Thanks for the chance to win a prize!

  5. I swooned when I saw your thread-painting works at the Capital Quilters' Guild meeting this year. THAT's the technique I want to learn!

  6. Sounds very interesting, but seriously bones? The 3D aspect seems like a difficult challenge, but the photo makes it look great.

    I'm currently painting on gossimer type fabric snowflakes using Liquitex Pearl. It is a child's cape to go into a charity fundraiser gift basket that has a theme of "Frozen". Fun to make, although I'm confident you'd have done a better job. Still, you and Quilting Arts inspired me to do this. :) Thank you.


    1. I bet it will be great, SewCalGal! Sue takes photos of the bones, then makes them into a transparency that she places on top of the fabric when she puts the cyanotype out in the sun. Very cool.

  7. Thanks for a great review - I'd love to try thread painting!

  8. I have made heliographic prints before, but would like to try cyanotype printing someday.

  9. I would like to try to work with Tsukineko Inks. Very intimidating!

  10. I'd like to do some printing on fabric using a gel pad. I saw it demo-ed at a quilt show and it looked very effective and hopefully easy!

  11. I love making hand made journals and covers. anything from paint to felting nothing off limits.
    Thanks for the give away

  12. I would like to try my hand at printing a photo on fabric and then quilting that - bought the book and fabric years ago, but haven't pushed it to the top of my list.

  13. I enjoy making quilts. Thanks for the giveaway.

  14. I've been making cosmetic pouches lately. Thanks for the chance to win!

  15. I'm some what of a newbie sewer, but I made my daughter a tablet case. Thanks for the chance to win. Have a wonderful day! (dawnm1993 at gmail dot com)

  16. Thank you Susan. I've quilted a lunch tote w/many fabric scraps for my friend that I volunteer w/each week. She always brings me a treat, AKA Choclate, or a home baked goodie. So now she shows off her special handmade lunch tote and her baking skills.

  17. I am interested in any type of surface design as I'm always wanting to try something new (more reason to scope out new supplies!). My latest project is a Christmas tree skirt for my son. I really loved the last one I made him, but his ex-girlfriend liked it too and took it with her when she left. I am trying a whole different pattern with this one!

  18. I want to try heliographic prints! it's book looks so great and fun and informative!

  19. I'm new to this so would love to learn more!! Thanks

  20. Yesterday I finished a birthday present for my daughters' friend who loves stuffed animals. I made her a pet carrier, a little pet outfit with shoes, hat and "coat", a pillow and blanket (my daughters sewed these), and 3 different pet snacks; a carrot, a bone and a fish. She loved it!

  21. Hi
    Love to learn how to use artist transfer papers...looks easy but have not taken the plunge yet!

  22. I love making wall quilts so your cd would be so appropriate! I have wanted to learn how to face a quilt since I heard of it and to learn what else there is to do to make my work look their best. Usually if I have any time at all for making gifts, it's a bag but each time I make it I refine it so it gets better and better.

  23. I really, really want to try making my own thermofax screens..I ask everywhere I go if anyone knows of a machine for sale, always hoping some small town school or hospital will have one sitting in their storage locker, not knowing what a gem they have! I have even been exploring using a tattoo stencil machine because they are more accessible. The most recent handmade gifts I have made (as unglamorous as they are) are “draft dodgers” for my Dad’s doors as he prepares for the cold winter heading toward PEI, Canada!

  24. Oh Susan I have always admired cyanotypes and had no idea how they were would be neat to see how Sue does that.

    Hand made gifts...I love making coin purses, the ones with the stitched on handles and giving those as gifts. They are handy for all sorts of things and they are so much fun to make.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  25. After meeting Sue in Ohio at the taping for the segments, I SO look forward to seeing her workshop, and would love to have one. I've been playing with thermofax screens lately, so more knowledge is good!

  26. I think my comment got lost in cyberspace before I could add my email address, so I'll try again! I want to learn more about thread painting. What kind of quilts are most suitable for this technique, what are the best threads to use, what motifs are the easiest for a beginner to learn? I really want to learn more about TP in 2015! Bonnie at

  27. Love the look of thread painting.

  28. Replies
    1. Sorry, Donna! I just drew a name. And sorry, it wasn't yours. :-( I completely forgot; thanks for the reminder!


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