Botanigrafika Art Blog
This leaf of the Rice Paper Plant grew in the Lyman ________"hot house_________ of the Smith College Botanic Garden in Northampton, MA. It was in perfect condition, measuring 42 in width. It had on its underside fine hairs akin to fiber-glass and thick veins. This required that the leaf be pre-pressed under even pressure for two month. During this phase I monitored the layers of paper and cloths which supported the leaf, to assure that the leaf dry evenly. I had purchased three distinct fabrics, 54 ____________" wide: A) White polyester that looks like hand-spun silk; B) cognac brown crinkle polyester; C) off-white silk.
Having never printed with foliage of this type or size, this leaf challenged all my previous know-how of nature printing, and then some... The first imprint one receives from foliage is usually the weakest; I inked the leaf with water soluble oil ink in blue color and impressed it on white polyester. The cloth has little texture and would interact with the leaf on first try. the result is good. The image reminds me of a blue design on white porcelain. For the second imprint I chose the same ink and the textured polyester. This very different fabric yielded as good an impression - or shall I say ____________"the leaf yielded it?_____________ . I realized that the third imprint would be the last, because repeated inking and pressing and the sheer size of the leaf weakened it. I applied for the third impression thickened silk dyes in three colors on the leaf. This was another ____________"first_____________ because the interaction of leaf, ink, fabric, my hand pressure and other subtle factors were unknown to me. The experiment was successful: Three distinct imprints on first try are the result of intuitive, hard work, and luck. Each panel is over 2.5 yrds long to facilitate customized suspension and installation.