Sunday, February 26, 2012

Leaf Skeletons

I have recently been working with some new artworks that replicate leaf skeletons in embroidery. I have been collecting leaf skeletons for years and have always found these little treasures to be delicate, intricate and hugely inspirational objects. I have spent many an afternoon drawing the intricate lacework of a leaf skeleton but I have never taken them further and used them in my embroideries ... until now.

Leaf skeletons are traditionally the result of a hungry grub eating all of the green matter from a leaf leaving only the skeletal vein system behind. They are a hard to find out and about in nature and it is even harder to find a good example of a whole leaf skeleton without lots of broken bits or holes. So it is very exciting when you find a good specimen and I am proud to say that my collection is slowly growing. I have heard that you can make your own leaf skeletons by soaking leaves in bleach and water for days and rubbing the green matter away. I haven't tried this process myself as I feel like it is cheating. I feel that the ones you find in nature are that much more special due to their rarity.

I am not sure why I have held off using leaf skeletons as a basis for my art work for so long but I am now very glad to have taken that step. This piece is the first (or what I hope will be many) leaf skeleton artworks. It is made from very dense stitching and is quite large (65cm wide and 50cm tall) and has taken me the better part of the last few weeks to complete. The colour gradation on this piece was a bit tricky as I used 7 different tread colours in various combinations to get the variety of tone and colour ranges in the piece. This one is currently off at the framers being put safely behind glass like any good specimen and the final framed work should be around 95cm x 75cm.


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