Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Make Simply Natural Cards

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natural cardsMake Simply Natural Cards

By Anna Saterstrom

In recent years I’ve been incorporating gifts of nature in my art, particularly in my greeting cards. By utilizing the colors and textures that occur in the natural world, I find that my work is calmer and more restful. A single pressed leaf, a bit of fern, or a simple blossom invites the eye to examine the intricacy of the veining, the alternation of tiny leaves or the layering of delicate petals.

Gathering the materials, however, does require some time and forethought, but very little expense. While the simple structure and intense color of blossoms such as Sweet William, verbena, hydrangea, and pansy press beautifully, there are also delicate details to be discovered and appreciated in the overlooked wildflower, fern, or pod.

Materials

  • Blossoms and leaves
  • Phone book
  • Press, or heavy object
  • Handmade paper
  • Glue stick
  • Cardstock
  • Blank greeting card

Optional:

  • Sewing machine and thread

flower pressTo make your own press

The best tool available for pressing leaves and flowers is a large phone book. The paper absorbs the moisture quickly, and the book itself is easier to press than individual sheets of paper. My press is made of two 12" squares of 1" pine with holes drilled in each corner for long bolts and wing nuts.

Once I’ve gathered material, I arrange it carefully on a page, starting at the back of the book and leaving at least fifteen empty pages between each filled page. When I’ve filled two phone books I insert them between the pinewood squares and tighten the bolts. I tighten the bolts more each day, as the plant material dries and is flattened by the increasing pressure.

The material is generally ready to use in two weeks, depending on humidity. or the time can be spent outdoors joyfully exploring and discovering more treasures among the weeds.

natural greetingTo make the cards

Dried blossoms and leaves blend beautifully with the texture of handmade paper, which is available in art shops or easily made at home. I work out an arrangement of layered torn squares of my own handmade paper and machine stitch the final composition onto a piece of cardstock the size of my blank greeting card. After securing the ends of threads on the back of the cardstock I stitch the card front to the card itself.

Delicate dried leaves and petals invite a gentle touch when attaching them to paper; very little adhesive and only slight pressure is necessary to hold a fragile blossom or leaf. I find that a minimum of glue stick applied to the surface of the paper is a simple way to secure the final embellishment, a gift from the natural world.

 

If it’s too difficult to make your own press or your flowers have not blossomed head over to Paper Imagery Designs and get some Floral Collage Sheets

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