|Begonia leaf #1 (2016), embroidery thread and pins on paper|
It's no secret that I like leaves.
In fact I like leaves more than that I like flowers, which probably makes me a bit weird because I am sure it is the other way around for most people. Leaves have inspired my work for the last few years and I can't look at a leaf without zooming straight into its vein structure and tracking this delicate system.
It probably comes as no great surprise then that I am revisiting leaf venation in my new solo exhibition 'Natural Networks' at Timeless Textiles gallery this April. Aside from leaf venation I have focused on leaf colour in this new series of leaves. Exploring the colour of both fresh and dried/dying leaves.
The two Begonia Leaf works were the first that I created for the exhibition. They were inspired by my visit to the Ballarat Begonia Festival last year at the Ballarat Botanic Gardens. I was in the area teaching a workshop and accidentally came across the annual festival while exploring the gardens on my afternoon off. The festival was centred around a glorious greenhouse, exploding with colour and showcased a huge collection of begonia varieties. Although the flowers were striking, it was the leaves that I was most drawn to. There is huge variety in the shape, patterning and colouration of begonia leaves. I personally love the asymmetrical leaf varieties with bands of purple and green - which you can plainly see in my two pieces inspired by this plant.
|The conservatory at the Ballarat Begonia Festival 2015|
|Some of the begonia flower varieties found at the Ballarat Begonia festival 2015|
|Some of the leaf varieties found at the Ballarat Begonia festival 2015|
|Begonia Leaf #2 (2016), embroidery thread and pins on paper|
Following on from the theme set by the begonia leaves I was drawn to caladium leaves. Beautifully patterned and vividly coloured this is another example of a plant that is loved for its decorative foliage. The design for this piece was based on the cultivated caladium bicolour - 'Thai beauty', a stunning plant with heart shaped leaves with bright colouration. I don't think my little design does the plant justice, but I had a lot of fun making it and it also made the cut for the exhibition invite.
|Caladium Leaf (2016), embroidery thread and pins on paper|
My Mauve Eucalyptus Leaf is inspired by the subtle colour changes a eucalyptus leaf goes through as it dries and dies. Whenever I go for bushwalks I find myself collecting pockets full of coloured gum leaves, marvelling at the huge range of hues that can be found among the fallen leaves from a single plant. Reds, greens, purples, yellows, oranges and greys - there is a rainbow to be found on the ground, all year round.
|Mauve Eucalyptus Leaf (2016), embroidery thread and pins on paper|
Many disiduous plants put on a spectacular display in autumn, and this is one of the reasons that it is my favourite time of year. In the house where I grew up we had a Japanese maple tree which transformed our front yard with it's sunset coloured leaves every autumn. I have tried to capture the deep bright red of the tiny maple leaves in this piece.
|Japanese Maple Branch (2015), embroidery thread and pins on paper|