I was recently given a book on the “Art of Pressed Flowers and leaves” by Jennie Ashmore, which aims to re-energise and re-imagine this very traditional craft. It might be a very good time to have a go at this fascinating hobby!
People have collected and pressed plants from the earliest times, when explorers returned from faraway places laden with Botanical specimens. During the Victorian era, pressing became a genteel art and pressed plants were used to create pictures and decorate all manner of objects.
Jennie’s art uses every sort of leaf as a background, to set off the more delicate pressed flowers. This one uses Sycamore leaves (at last, a use for Sycamores!) and Fennel:
This hobby is refreshingly low cost – Jennie uses old telephone directories for her pressing, with a brick weight on top. Inexpensive photocopying paper can be used, or blotting paper if you can get hold of it. All material is pressed for a month or two, depending on how thick the leaves are. Check after a month to see.
Jennie suggests experimenting, but says she always cuts off the woody and the fleshy parts of plants for best results. Most shiny leaves (Laurel, rhododendron) are not suitable. You should cut the fleshy middle out of Hosta leaves, otherwise they go mouldy, but they make wonderful colours.
Jennie’s leafworks are mounted on paper or thin card, and she uses Copydex or a rubber-based adhesive that can be easily removed if there is excess. Don’t use much – a dot on a matchstick works – especially when sticking delicate petals. Make a template and use a cutting knife to make backgrounds:
Here’s what you can end up with:
I love this idea too – this is a picture of a walk, and then the pressed picture that Jennie made using material collected on the walk. What a great idea for your daily exercise walk! Have fun.