Impressions of leaves

I love making art with leaves.  I’ve done bleaching on fabrics, used them in my pottery, put them into my resin pendants and this past week, I have the pleasure of doing a workshop this past April with Nicola Brown from Ireland and did some steaming and leaf printing onto silk, wool and cellulose fabrics.   It was great fun not only to see what we made, but learning from Nicola and hanging out with some great ladies!

But I began to realize that I seem to have this leaf obsession as it is coming up repeatedly across my various art forms.   Seems like an odd coincidence.

ROOTS and leaves themselves alone are these,
Scents brought to men and women from the wild woods and pond-side,

Breast-sorrel and pinks of love, fingers that wind around
tighter than vines,

Gushes from the throats of birds hid in the foliage of

trees as the sun is risen,

Breezes of land and love set from living shores to you on

the living sea, to you, O sailors!

Frost-mellow’d berries and Third-month twigs offer’d

fresh to young persons wandering out in the fields
when the winter breaks up,  (Walt Whitman)

I grew up surrounded by trees living in a small town in Paulinskill Lake, New Jersey.    Our house was one of about 5 on our street and it was a dirt road where we could ride bikes, walk to the lake and wander in the trees.   It could be that I have a desire to reconnect with these leaves since I am now living in the desert.  When I remember those days, I think about the dirt road and taking walks with cat, riding bikes around the block, and standing in the forest that surrounded the house with all those lovely trees.

IMG_0069  IMG_0072

What I learned from this workshop is how clear some of these images can be and also that you can use all parts of the tree, such as the bark.   And learning about what leaves we have in the desert that will work.

new tag display

I was inspired to make up new tags for my jewelry for the Bead and Button show that I just went to in Milwaukee.

I cut out paper into the tag shape, then I eco dyed them using some onion skins, eucalyptus and some of the mesquite trees.   They turned out great.  I even had a discussion with someone at the show at the Meet the Teacher night about how to do it.

The technique is rather simple.  IMG_0068

Take paper, dip in vinegar, layer on the leaves, bind the papers together into a unit either with string, rubber bands, binder clips, whatever works to make it tight and then I put them into a vegetable steamer for about 40 minutes.    IMG_0071

Then you have pretty tags.   This would work nicely for any card you might want to make up or even doing pages for a new book.   The ideas of endless.

By the way, I am enjoying the retirement life!


3 thoughts on “Impressions of leaves

  1. Merry, I can see you are enjoying the retired life and doing all kinds of printing I also love leafs and I grew up in the Adirondack Mts. and also miss them. We did have a great workshop with Nicola didn’t we? Really well worth it .

    • It was so worth have Nicola here. I’m looking forward to having more time to do some more printing. And collecting more leaves! I’ve got some more silk scarves on order from the Hands in the Hills folks which I hope he remembers them for the September Gem Show.

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