a few birds and plants

Relationship between people and plants – In particular plants that are growing in the 'wrong place' according to us.

fresh plant imprints

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I have done several photographic & print experiments with raw plant material to get an image on paper over time; such as Photograms, Cyanotype, Van Dijk, Gum Bichromate, Nature printing and Collograph.

There are several that I had not tried until recently such as:

Anthotype; recently tried this with several different plant species from my garden, with mixed results.

Fresh plant imprints; Using fresh plant material and putting this through the press with damp paper. The results from this has been encouraging.


Corylus spp – Hazulnut

The resulting images I am getting on paper are a mix of embossing & patterning relevant to the plant. The patterning is a result of the plant juices getting extracted by the pressure of the press.

In some cases this extraction stays local – resulting in a drawn/printed image of the leaf veination.

mandevilla suaveolens


Mandevilla suaveolens fresh plant imprint

In other cases the juice extracted is so much that it runs through parts of the image.

This juice has the colouration of the plant part itself:

purple-red was extracted from purple barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea) – a purple leaved plant,

berberis thunbergii

while a purple-green came from the stem of the black taro (Colocasia spp).

In some cases the plant part was to thick, even though for several I had already reduced the number of leaves or florets, creating a look of ‘road kill’:


Echinops sp – fresh imprint that resembles ‘road kill’

The trials that I did started on small (14x19cm) pieces of Fabriano rosapina paper:

Moving up to 26x25cm sizes

These 2 smaller sizes created good results:

  • Embossing
  • Some local juice extraction
  • Some spread extraction
  • and No paper creasing


Finally I tried s a couple at A2 size

The larger pieces created some problems for me, mainly with paper creasing.

There are a couple of reasons for this to happen:

  • paper was not wet enough
  • pressure of the rollers set too high
  • plant material used was too thick for the pressure used (interestingly I used this same pressure in the 26×25 pieces, with no creasing)

These images are very much a collection/documentation of plants found/discovered.As I am reading more about those early plant hunters, collectors and the way they documented their discoveries I am realizing that much of this work fits into this realm.

The results of these experiment have me thinking of how I can use these images I have created.

There are some concerns and questions I have with these images, they are:

  • How colour fast is the plant juice extracted?
  • Will this juice fade or change colour?
  • To make these images archival I would have to scan them and print them out, but this then losses the embossing of the original image.
  • How can I retain this embossing still?


Hopefully answers I will resolve over time

Author: elle

My journey in the arts world, while my fascination with the plant world continues to grow, expand and being challenged.

One thought on “fresh plant imprints

  1. I like these! Even Ed Ruscha used to screenprint with vegetable juices (among other things). I think if they aren’t colour fast, that they needn’t be regarded as failures. Their ephemeral quality is what makes them precious.

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