Follow Jennie Ashmore’s simple step-by-step guide and make your own nature-inspired masterpiece using just flowers and leaves, a sharp knife, glue, paper and an old telephone directory or two.
You Will Need
- Flowers and leaves
- A sharp knife
- An old telephone directory
Pick a small selection of flowers and leaves with your hands or a pair of scissors, and place in a small box, where they won’t get bruised. As soon as you get home, start pressing them.
Place all your samples on a clean, dry worktop. You can dry leaves and flowers in a purpose-made press (simple ones can be bought online for less than £40). Alternatively…
Place specimens in a large book, such as a phone directory or encyclopaedia. Jennie says this makes it quicker and easier to find samples, as there are no bolts to undo as with purpose-made presses.
Jennie preserves her samples between two sheets of white paper, gently turns a few pages of the directory over, and repeats the process. Place more heavy books on top to create the required pressure.
Label to help you find samples more easily. Leave for about eight weeks in a fairly cool environment, away from direct light. Sketch out your design on paper, and use stiff card to make your templates.
Once dried, select the specimens you want to use in your artwork, comparing colours and textures. Cut shapes using a cutting mat, a sharp art knife and your prepared templates.
Work on watercolour paper or mounted card (not cartridge paper), arranging the samples with your moistened fingertip (not tweezers – this is fiddly and can damage delicate samples).
Attach samples using a tiny blob of glue and a matchstick. A latex-based glue such as Copydex is best because you can rub it off easily if you make a mistake.
Finish the design to your chosen pattern, and leave it for a day or two to allow the glue to dry completely. When your artwork is finished, you can mount and frame it.