I have gathered and pressed leaves for many years now and have always marvelled at their pleasing array of colours, patterns and shapes. As is often the case with things that have been collected over long periods of time, I was left wondering what to do with all the carefully preserved piles of leaves precariously fluttering out from between the pages of heavy books! But I began to find more and more artists on Instagram doing fantastic things with leaves, inspiring me to try to create my own pieces of ‘leaf art’. I began my experimentation by screen-printing onto my own pressed leaves, some from the dramatically coloured Smokebush and the pointier, cat-face shaped one, plucked from the Tulip tree at the top of my road. It turns out to be much harder than it first appeared – the leaves are impossible to pin down, fragile and never entirely flat meaning they’re prone to shifting around under the screen and smudging the pigment. So yes – certainly a work in progress but if you skip ahead you can see some of my favourite leaf-art-instagrammers who are slightly further along with their creative journey!
Now – onto my favourite leaf-grammars! Instagram is such a constant source of inspiration for me. There’s such a sense of community on there and I love finding new artists and creaters to follow myself, so thought it would be nice to share some of my favourites with you.
1. @helenahpornsiri (Helen Ahpornsiri)
Helen’s flower and leaf pressing is second to none. It’s so clever the way she seems to see the leaves as figurative shapes, transformed into the bigger picture without the need to cut or manipulate their natural form. Also – check out the videos, it’s mesmerising to watch.
2. @bicocacolors (Elena Nuez)
Elena is based in Spain and among lots of other creative pursuits paints these lovely intricate leaves. I think the aboriginal feel of the patterns and colours is so much fun – I had my husband buy me some of these for Christmas and framed them!
3. @susanna_bauer (Susanna Bauer)
I find it incredible that these crocheted leaves don’t break when Susanna is working on them! The work is so delicate and I love the natural hues which compliment the leaves. It looks as if nature has done the work itself, as if some kind of leaf fairy has come in the night and constructed them all!
4. @janine_mackintosh_artist (Janine Mackintosh)
Janine creates these sophisticated pieces of art made from gathered eucalyptus leaves found on Kangaroo Island. I love the geometry and patterns that she’s created with the natural forms of insect-nibbled leaves.
5. @ninapearsepaperartist (Nina Pearse)
Not much to say, except these intricate leaf cut-outs are really pretty.
6. @woodlucker (Ann Wood & Dean Lucker)
Now I’ve slipped these guys in as they’re AMAZING and creating some of my all-time favourite leaf-based art… except it isn’t made from leaves! It’s hard to pinpoint what it is that I like so much about their paper constructions of leaves, butterflies, flowers and feathers. In one sense they’re just copying nature, but by adding their own quirky style to it and brilliant photography and styling, they’ve really emphasised the natural beauty of their subjects.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little browse through my Instagram feed. Keep your eyes peeled for future developments on my own leaf art!