"Animals come from nature. They were not designed. All my inspiration comes from nature, whether it's an animal or the layout of bark or of a leaf. Sometimes my patterns are very bold, and you can barely see where they come from, but all the textures and all the prints come out of nature."
(The image is not owned by the author. Credits to First Cry Parenting. To see their leaf artworks, visit this source)
Collecting leaves is a satisfying hobby. It gives you a way to remember your journeys and holidays, and you will soon learn 'who's who' among the plants. The leaves that you pick will last for many years if you press them and paste them on sheets of paper. Indeed, many leaves will seem more beautiful when they are pressed and mounted than what they were crowded together in trees, especially if they have been carefully selected.
PREPARING YOUR SPECIMENS
(The image is not owned by the author. Credits to Joan Magcongey, the owner via SlideShare).
Leaves will fade and will become crumpled after you pick them unless you wrap them quickly in grease-proof paper. If they have dried before you got home, freshen them in water. You can, however, start pressing and drying leaves and small plants as soon as you have picked them. The easiest way is simply to slip them between the pages of a newspaper, magazine, or a large book that has rough paper. Smooth paper should not be used because it does not soak up the water very quickly. Write the name of the plant, if you know it, in the margin of the page. You should also put the date and place where you collected it.
Do not collect too much in one day. A few good specimens are worth more than a basketful of withered remains.
This is the cassava leaf I collected. It has only midrib and veins. It's small veins are invisible.
The Origano leaf rots faster. It must be dipped to the water. It is cottony. Veins are not sharp.
These tree leaves are dead but can't be rotten faster. The above left is a Talisay leaf, the above right is a Jackfruit leaf and the below left. The parallel below at the right is the mango leaf. Their small veins are invisible but the the visible skeletons are sharp.
Keeping your Collection
If you do not want to mount the dried leaves in a book, they can be kept in a very simple way by placing them in books or magazines. Like specimens that you mount on paper, it is important to keep them flat. Any leaf that has been pressed for a long time can become so brittle that it may turn to powder if you crush it.
Cellophane covers are excellent for protecting mounted collections. You can also keep yourself pressed leaves in cellophane envelopes. This will allow you to look at them from both sides.
(The image is not owned by the author. Credits to DIY to Make. To visit see their artworks, visit this source.)
Dried flowers make nice pictures if the flowers are mounted on dark paper and put into a picture-frame. You may want to fasten the stems on to the paper with tiny sewing stitches. This will be a much neater way than using sticky tape. You can also glue the flowers carefully on to the paper.
Collecting Leaves Entices Famous Personalities
Few of the known personalities have loved this hobby. One of them is the famous actor Sunder Ramu, a notable photographer. For him, there is a deep relationship between leaves and human form. From a stage actor, he chose a forte to take pictures of it rather than working with models and advertisements. He was also a professional dancer.
(The image is the art exhibit of Sandur Ramu. The image is not owned by the author. Credits to this source: The New Indian Express Indulge )
"I've never seen anything die as beautifully as a leaf in autumn. I wanted to explore human relationship through leaves, and the life of a leaf through a human form.
I was tired of shooting celebrities to sell fairness creams and soft drinks. I felt that I wasn't telling the right stories of my art. So, I wrote to all the 22 magazine I had been working with and I told them I was done."
Sunder says that collecting leaf photography started when he was depressed as he traveled in Europe. Suddenly, he realized how beautiful life could be when he saw the leaves fell to the ground.
"Fifteen years ago, I was really going through a dark period in my life and had nearly given up. I then decided to take a break and go backpacking across Europe, but I was still miserable. One day, I sat on a bench in Montmartre looking at a windmill on a distant hill, I felt a cool breeze blowing. Suddenly, there was a splash color as leaves in yellow, orange, red and brown started to fall to the ground. When I saw their last dance before they fell to the ground, I fell that I was also in that place between the branch and the ground. And I realized that this experience could be beautiful too."
Sunder takes leaf pictures for 15 years. Read more of his story in this source: The News Minute
HOW TO MAKE AND KEEP A LEAF COLLECTION
(The image is not owned by the author. Credits to Etsy)
- Once you have identified a plant. carefully pick a perfect leaf for your collection. (Be sure to find our whether you need permission to pick the leaves.) Green leaves soon curl up and turn brown. If you want to keep them in a scrapbook, you must press them. For this you will need old newspapers and something heavy for pressing such as books, bricks, and weights.
- (The image is not owned by the author. Credits to Etsy.)
- First, put several sheets of old newspapers in a layer on the table or shelf. Arrange the leaves on the paper so that they do not touch one another.
- Then cover the leaves with more newpapers. Put a board on top and weight it down with some heavy object.
- Change the newspaper everyday. Depending on the weather and the kind of plants, the leaves should be thoroughly dry in about a week.
- Carefully mount the dried leaves on sheets of heavy paper. Arrange each leaf neatly on a separate sheet and fasten down the tip and the petiole with tape. These sheets may be bound in a loose-leaf scrapbook or placed folders.
A good collection can be made a leaf skeletons. These are leaves in which everything has been eaten away except the margin, the midrib and other veins. Some insects prefer the soft tissue of the leaves, so you can often gather hundreds of skeleton leaves after the insects have done their works.
You can make your own skeleton leaves, too. But the results are not likely to be as good as those formed by the work of insects and fungi in damp woods. Take a leaf, such as an oak leaf, with tough veins which stand out. After the leaf has been flattened and dried, place it on a piece of cloth. Take a tooth-brush or other fairly stiff brush and tap the bristles against the leaf. Keep taping until the fleshly part of the leaf has been picked away. This will leave a beautiful network of veins.
In winter when leaves are scarce, you can grow your own leaves either by planting seeds or by standing the cut-off tops of carrots, beetroot and turnips in water. Plant some bean or green pea seeds in a window box. They will grow delicate climbing stems with many leaves.
HOW TO LEAF PRINT USING ACRYLIC PAINT
In the video above, we use acrylic paint and brush. Because my paint brush was lost, I used the makeup brush. Using brushes is necessary for a soft leaf because the skeletons aren't obvious on a sheet. If we don't use a brush, it would look messy and it is just the paper who can benefit as it absorbs the liquid.
For a hard type of a leaf that can be pressed, they usually have sharp and big skeletons. Using brush isn't necessary for we can just dip it in paint. .
LEAF PRINT THROUGH PENCIL
We used a pencil on the 2nd video. Simply pick any type of paper and place the leaf under the sheet. Kids enjoyed it last night. Yes, even kids can do it! You can also print the leaf by using a colored pencil to be more artsy.
The two videos above are originally owned by the author @jackwilliams (ilaganshy on Youtube).
SOME EASY WAYS HOW TO LEAF PRINT
You can make leaf prints in several ways. One of the simplest ways is to make a rubbing of each leaf, as you would as coin.
Place the leaf, bottom side up, on a smooth hard surface. Put a sheet of strong white paper over the leaf. Rub the paper with a soft dark-green or black crayon until you have a good print, showing the veins and margins of the leaf.
Label the sheet and put the rubbing on your scrapbook.
(The image above is not owned by the author. The image above is an artwork of Sandra Pearce. Credits to her. To find out more of her leaf artwork, visit this link source: Sandra Pearce)
Here is another way to make a leaf print. Though it is somewhat more difficult, you will get a very good print with practice.
Fill a smooth round bottle, such as a pickle jar, with cold water, and screw the lid on tightly. Smear the sides of both bottle over the candle flame until it is thickly covered with soot.
Now place a leaf bottom side up on a piece of newspaper. Roll the sooty bottle slowly over the leaf. Be sure the leaf is evenly covered with soot.
Gently pick up the leaf and place it sooty side up on a clean newspaper. Cover the leaf with a sheet of paper. Take a rolling pin or clean round bottle, and roll it over the paper and leaf. You will have a print of the underside of the leaf.
The images above are originally captured by Jack Williams (Shane), the author, unless credited. The author would like to to give credits to some of used pictures from: Etsy, SlideShare, Sandra Pearce, The New Express Indian Indulge, First Cry Parenting, DIY to Make.
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Wikipedia, Thenewminutes, Wikihow, BBC Good Food.