textiles · exploration · misadventure

Beauty Flies Away


Mystery leaf on watercolor paper painted with bronze enamel.

Mystery leaf on watercolor paper painted with bronze enamel.

05 mission euc
04 stoneman euc
12 mission stoneman eucs
Recently, on Threadborne, I came across a blog post on printing leaves on paper, which was inspired by yet another set of blog posts by Cassandra Tondro.

Since this is an as-yet unfollowed avenue, you know I instantaneously started salivating. And then I started thinking.

I’ve been scavenging plant life whenever I sight something with dye potential, and have amassed a small collection I keep pressed inside my dictionary .

In early Feb, whilst housesitting with Otis again, I purchased several pages of drawing, sketching, and watercolor paper at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. Several remnants of sketchpads, some with only one piece of paper, cost me maybe one dollar.

In the compost at my friend’s house (OK, I’m just going to tell you her name; I’ve been calling her “my friend” for a year now, and I’m getting sick of it. Lasell. Her name is Lasell.) Anyway. At Lasell’s house, I noticed the most brilliant leaves just tossed aside in the compost. Ten seconds later I was digging, and after a dirty time with rain-wet mulch—barefoot in the wind no less, how awesome—I dug up a healthy serving. You see why Otis looks at me like I’m crazy?

I pressed the leaves under wood blocks and bricks, mordanted the papers with alum, and dried and painted some of them with enamel and acrylic paint, also from the Depot. At home I followed the instructions I found here, and migod.

06 lasell leaf results_back of 07 euc and apple_detail 1

13 castenada euc_shotwell seeds results_detail


small lasell leaf collage

Stoneman euc Collage

lasell leaf collage 2

Castenada euc collage

lasell leaf collage

15 giant lasell leaf, Stoneman euc behind  results





The tragedy? The damn shame? The colors are fugitive. It’s been about a week, and the colors are fading.

But I know there’s something here. Something to be found, of stability, of beauty, if I try again.

Leaf print and photograph by India Flint. Used with permission.

Leaf print and photograph by India Flint. Used with permission.

4 thoughts on “Beauty Flies Away

  1. Oh Robbee!!! These are stunning!!! Please please please may I have one or two to frame? Maybe if you tried them on acid fast paper they wouldn’t fade. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course you can have some to frame! The colors are pretty faded, but the outlines and impressions have remained. I could try some on acid fast paper…I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for some. I still have a good trove of leaves, including the mystery ones, which Lasell has informed me are oak-leaved hydrangea.


  2. I know your leaf dying’s are beautiful but when ⁉ are
    you going to get back to knitting, I’m still waiting for my car cozy.🍁 🍃 🍂 🚗👵💐 luv ya