Printing from leaves

I'm sure printing from leaves is something that you probably associate with childhood!  But I've had some really great results printing directly from 'real life' leaves using my printing press.  This leaf fabric is made up of a design of sun-dried leaves I took back from the beach in Turkey.  Let me take you through the process step by step, and if you have access to a printing press, you can try it for yourself.  

Inking plexi glass for collograph

Start with dampened paper (this is always Estelle's job).  Dip a piece of paper quickly into water and then spread it somewhere flat - the mirror above the sink is ideal.  Ink up a piece of plexi glass with a thin film of ink of your choice.

Taking print of leaves on printing press

Lay your leaves on top of the piece of inked plexi glass and transfer this over to the press.  Lay the dampened piece of paper on top.  You will see that you get an embossed print of the leaves.

Taking ghost prints of leaves

You can get some really interesting effects with the 'ghost' print which is left behind.  I took all the leaves off, and then took a print of the plexi glass again - as you can see, the paper picked up the detail left by the leaves - I was surprised how much detail was transferred onto the ink and paper. I then inked up the plexi glass again in a light blue and arranged some more smaller leaves on it.  Taking this print, you can see I obtained a mix of the leaf silhouette and a blue green leaf pattern on the ink.

Leaf design fabrics

Here you can see the two fabrics in which I use the leaf prints I created.  The first is my hummingbird fabric, which uses the blue green and leaf silhouette print.  The other is my leaf fabric, which uses the 'ghost print' tinted with blue waterbased inks.  


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