Garden Art forum: Hammered Botanical Print Tutorial

Page 1 of 6 • 1 2 3 4 5 6
Views: 5068, Replies: 112 » Jump to the end
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 17, 2011 12:43 PM CST
Flower pounding as a craft has been around for a long time. It's used mainly to decorate fabric. Now and again you'll find a paper pounding but, again, mostly as a decorative craft. My goal was to raise this process to a legitimate art form. To my great delight, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art agreed that my prints were art and invited me to submit some for permanent display and for sale. I also have an exhibit at an art gallery in Mount Vernon (Iowa, not Washington's home!)

I began my efforts by experimenting with different kinds of paper, to see which ones produced the kind of image I was after. One of the interesting things I discovered was that chemicals in the paper react with plant pigments, sometimes in interesting ways. I once did a print of a yellow rose, and the petals came out pink! The paper that seemed to work best was a 400 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper made by Arches of France. And, wouldn't you know it, it was the most expensive of all the papers I tried. Arches has been in the paper business--incredibly--for over 500 years!

The process begins with the selection of live plant material from our gardens. Before it's incorporated into a print, I create a proof of each piece of material to determine its water content. This step is absolutely essential. If the material contains too much moisture, the result is generally a nondescript, unusable blob of color on the paper. If it contains too little moisture, there is little or no transfer of color from the material to the paper. The water content of the same piece of material may vary from day to day, so that it may work for you one day, but not the next.

Both proofing and actually creating a finished work involve the same process. I select my material and position it on the watercolor paper. Then I tape it down with masking tape. I've found that the cheapest tape works the best. It tends to be almost transparent, so that I can see what's going on under the tape. The cheaper tape also comes off the paper easier, so there is less risk of tearing it when you pull it off. I keep several widths of tape on hand and use them according to the size of the material I want to hammer.

Using a small tack hammer, I begin hammering the tape-covered material to release its color and create an image on the paper. Proofing also helps determine how hard I need to pound to produce the desired image.

Then I carefully remove the tape and, with it, the plant material, being careful not to smear the image nor to create inadvertent blotches from dripping or falling debris. If, while removing the tape, I discover that transfer is not complete, I simply put the tape back down on the paper and hammer the area in question some more. After allowing the paper to dry for a few minutes, I hammer more material into the paper until the desired image is complete. When the paper is dry, I spray it with an acrylic fixative to protect the print and to make sure that any desired plant residue will adhere to the paper permanently.

The Final Step
All natural plant pigments will eventually fade. The speed of this process is determined by the nature of the color and by how much light the print is exposed to. In order to preclude the possibility of any fading, I now render all my prints in a colorfast ink, using an Epson Artisan 725 printer.

Here is a sampling of some of my prints (all of which are copyrighted):


Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/922f9b

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/538c7d

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/13a664

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/f158fb

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/90da8a

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/e662e4

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/523093

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/f7ff8a

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/406a39

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/e66844

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/1201a9

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/9db98a

Thumb of 2011-09-17/LarryR/b745e3

Edited to correct a typo
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
[Last edited by LarryR - Sep 17, 2011 7:55 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #151477 (1)
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 17, 2011 12:52 PM CST
I've given just a broad overview of the process. If you'd like more detail or have other questions, please feel free to ask.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Image
SongofJoy
Sep 17, 2011 1:02 PM CST
Those are lovely, Larry. Looks like a fun project too and not terribly costly. Thanks for the tutorial. Much appreciated. I tip my hat to you.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
Image
Sharon
Sep 17, 2011 1:05 PM CST
Thanks Larry!
Visit my cubit Blue Gardens
Check out my Blog
Read my Articles and Ideas
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Sep 17, 2011 1:18 PM CST
Larry: Your prints are really beautiful! Thank you so much for this tutorial and for the offer of more details and suggestions if we need it. The next few months are going to be extremely busy for me but I really do hope to give this a try in the near future. I'm bookmarking this thread to make it easier to find my way back!

Lin

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
finding joy one day at a time!
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Art Purslane Garden Ideas: Master Level
Region: Southwest Gardening Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: United States of America Birds Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
Boopaints
Sep 17, 2011 1:37 PM CST

Moderator

I agree I can't wait to try this, Larry!! I bought a journal in Aspen Colorado that has preserved flowers and I've always loved it. Now I am looking forward to trying the pounding but after my first try, no doubt I'll be back with questions!

My favorite is the last one but they are all beautiful.

Thanks so much for showing us the hows! Big Grin
ALL THINGS PLANTS ~ Garden Art ~ Purslane & Portulaca ~
MY CUBITS ~ Trust in the Lord ~
MY WEB SITE ~ Joyful Times Today
[Last edited by Boopaints - Sep 17, 2011 8:41 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #151504 (6)
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
Image
Ridesredmule
Sep 17, 2011 2:39 PM CST
Was a wonderful Articial, Thanks for letting us know how to do it.
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 17, 2011 2:43 PM CST
I tip my hat to you. Thank you, all. I'm open for questions anytime you want to ask.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
vic
Sep 17, 2011 2:56 PM CST

Moderator

Stunning! Gorgeous! Awesome! Beautiful!

Thank you so much! Hurray! Thumbs up
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 17, 2011 2:59 PM CST
Many thanks, Vicki. I tip my hat to you.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
Image
Sharon
Sep 17, 2011 4:16 PM CST
OK, I've done this a few times before so I didn't read the instructions because I was in my usual hurry to do just one more thing so I went outside and grabbed a couple leaves off my JM, and a teeny tiny one of its seed thingies and grabbed up one of my blank note cards made of w/c paper and pounded away. Whew.

But normally I wait till later in the fall to use the JM because the leaves turn a gorgeous red. So anyway, I tried it with green. I also didn't tape the leaves down. My bad, Larry. Anyway. I used as my top paper over the leaves, so I didn't get hammer marks all over the card, a very cheap but all purpose art paper. Actually the back side of the leaves shows up much better on that cheap paper. I guess because it was smooth and porous and the w/c card is very thick and textural.

Here are both of them. I've also done this on fabric, very neat, but I can't for the life of me find the fabric or the picture of it. It's for sure somewhere around here.

Fun to do, fast and very easy. But the pounding hammer on the block of wood scared the daylights outta my cats. Too bad. They just aren't used to me running around with a hammer in my hand.

Thumb of 2011-09-17/Sharon/2245e1 Thumb of 2011-09-17/Sharon/ab0512
Visit my cubit Blue Gardens
Check out my Blog
Read my Articles and Ideas
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I sent a postcard to Randy! Region: United States of America
Purslane Garden Art Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: North Carolina Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
vic
Sep 17, 2011 4:51 PM CST

Moderator

Just beautiful Sharon Lovey dubby Thumbs up
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
Image
Sharon
Sep 17, 2011 5:07 PM CST
Thanks Vic. Now I'm anxious to do them when they turn red.
Sweet gum trees have sort of variegated leaves in fall, one leaf will have red/green/yellow in it. I'm going to try some of them now that I've read through Larry's tutorial.
Visit my cubit Blue Gardens
Check out my Blog
Read my Articles and Ideas
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
finding joy one day at a time!
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Art Purslane Garden Ideas: Master Level
Region: Southwest Gardening Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: United States of America Birds Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
Boopaints
Sep 17, 2011 5:12 PM CST

Moderator

Hurray! Beautiful Sharon...and the lettering too! I think I will try some coleus leaves tomorrow!
ALL THINGS PLANTS ~ Garden Art ~ Purslane & Portulaca ~
MY CUBITS ~ Trust in the Lord ~
MY WEB SITE ~ Joyful Times Today
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Image
SongofJoy
Sep 17, 2011 5:16 PM CST
Hurray! Big Grin Big Grin
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Sep 17, 2011 5:17 PM CST
Those are all lovely. Does the plant material stay on the paper when you are done?
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Sep 17, 2011 5:31 PM CST
Sharon: Those are so pretty ... and your handwriting as well! Gee, I've got to find the time to try this!! I'd love to make note cards!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
Image
Sharon
Sep 17, 2011 5:36 PM CST
Nope, Lynn. The plant comes right off. Larry uses masking tape and his comes off with it. I didn't use anything but actually the plants stuck to the top paper that I had put over them. The second image. Then I peeled them off.
Visit my cubit Blue Gardens
Check out my Blog
Read my Articles and Ideas
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
Image
Sharon
Sep 17, 2011 5:37 PM CST
Oh wow. Great idea, Boo. I have that Christmas coleus out front now.
That might be tomorrow's project.
Visit my cubit Blue Gardens
Check out my Blog
Read my Articles and Ideas
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
Image
LarryR
Sep 18, 2011 5:04 PM CST
Great work, Sharon, even if you ignored the master's tutorial! Smiling
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!

Page 1 of 6 • 1 2 3 4 5 6

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Garden Art forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by sunnyvalley and is called "Hair-raising"