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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A leaf in the hand.... Printmaking in Spain

 Every autumn, I see the leaves all afresh, the decay, the colours, the shapes and it always makes me feel like gathering a whole bunch and go home and get printing.
 I always start by rolling up a piece of pvc to use as a backing, not that I want the leaves set on a coloured background, but because when running the leaves, that have also been inked up, through the press, the leaves take on the colour of the background, great results can be had with making the background striped for example.... ah, is this a bit of a messy way of describing it, how about I do a step by step?
 One piece of pvc: roll up in oilbased inks, you can have fun here, you can make stripes, squares, bit of the pvc that are not rolled up, ie, will print as only relief etc.... but for a starter, let's go with a solid background.
next, roll up your leaves in colour or colours you want them, and place them on top of the pvc, put paper, either print size or card size on top, and pad with a bit of newspaper, so you don't get a mess on your blankets...... pull through the press -
1) remove the paper, and see what you got
2) very gently remove the leaves, turn them over, and place them on a clean piece of pvc, very gently, - you are going to print from them.
3) the rolled up pvc, now has impressions of the leaves in the ink, you can take several prints from this, increasing the pressure on the press as you go along, I have had up to 5 prints from the piece of pvc, always go for one more than you think, sometimes the most etheral, fragile prints come last.....
and if you don't like it, turn the paper over and print on the back!! That keeps you from getting to paper frugal......
4) Print the leaves you have turned over and placed on the clean pvc


Once I am done taking the prints I want from the leaves I go on to printing a whole gang of cards, I roll up the leaves again, on both sides, and place them on top of cardpapers, I the add a second lot of cardpapers......   

.........on top of that, as I rolled up the leaves on both sides, I can print 2 sets in one go......

 when I am done with printing the first 2 sets, I gently take the leaves and do it again........
getting all in all 4 sets of cards out of one roll up...... I might add more leaves, I might change the position, I sometimes add other objects..... a bit of lace rolled up etc...... to get some more fun... who want a bunch of cards that are all the same?? not me.......
You can also use bookpages..... material like cotton to make sewn cards..... or why not make bookmarks and gift tags as well..
A little tip..... when you are done with the leaves, place them on a piece of newspaper and let them dry, they make super decorations around candles etc,,, especially if you have used metallic inks!!

Enjoy, and feel free to share any discoveries or other ways of printing with natural things!!
:o) mariann


  1. Oh what fun! I so want a little press of my own... saving up...
    I could do hand-pressed leaf-prints though - I have water-based inks, I have paper, I have a roller, I have hands... I even have leaves, if I just walk outside and pick them up!
    Love your cards and prints. Thanks for the inspiration!

    This is Inspiration No. 2 by the way, as I have already been inspired to start a new Printmaking Ideas sketchbook, ahead of January's lino-cutting courses. About time I kept a sketchbook again!

  2. Ok Mariann, you've got me inspired. I do love leaf printing too and I do it every fall. I've already got my paper stretched and ready to go. Here's the technique I generally use:

    but I'll be trying yours out too!

  3. I am adding you to my favorites in my personal inspiration folder along with Marthe Armitage and Angie Lewin! Your work is so lovely. I wish your workshops were here in the US. I may have to travel to Spain! I have just bookmarked your blog so I can follow you and your beautiful work. Your Etsy store is more than awesome.

  4. What a lovely set of comments, thank you so much for making m y day!!

  5. I remembered that I have also done this leaf texture painting in my school time. This art work is full of fun.

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