Thursday, March 17, 2016

Celebrating colour in leaves

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


  1. looking forward to seeing these in person!

  2. Me encantó... bellos trabajos! me gustaría ver un tutorial... gracias

  3. Contact by Email

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