Saturday, 19 September 2015

Trees trees trees trees...

... and yet more trees...

We were a small group last time, between flu season and travel season! But, perhaps inspire by spring in the air, we all had trees to share in our journals.

Maz was inspired to investigate leaf shapes this month. A lot of Australian trees look very similar to one another at a casual glance, so finding the small details that distinguish them can be quite important, especially for those of us interested in dyeing with them!

 
 
First she had words for the different shapes. Isn't "oblanceolate" a wonderful word?
 
Then she drew pictures of the shapes. So now we know what oblanceolate leaves look like!
 

 
Her next pages looked at the shapes of the tips of leaves and the way they're arranged on the stem.  Specific Australian trees species are mentioned, which is really handy if they happen to be good for dyeing!



 
Then we have a specific kind of leaf cluster called compound palmate leaves, like you get on Umbrella Trees.

Last of all, she looked at the veins in the leaves, which can have distinctive patterns, and at structures in the leaf called domatia. A lot of Australian trees have specific domatia, such as bumps, hollows or bristles on the surface of the leaves. The kind of domatia and their location can be an identifying characteristic.
 
So now you know! With your leaf guide in one hand and a tree twig in the other, you're well on the way to identifying the tree species, and that will tell you whether it's likely to give you wonderful colour in your dye pot.

Meanwhile, Helen was continuing with her fantasy trees. She's inspired by the gorgeous trees you find in medieval tapestries. This one is a Tree of Life, which she drew with Aquarelle pencils. These trees are fascinating because they always had many different fruits on them, something even the most ardent grafter couldn't achieve!


Nola's trees showed more of her experimentation with techniques. This month, she was working with  different kinds of collagraphs. Her first tree was a print from a craft foam plate stitched with embroidery thread and printed with Permaset printing inks.

Her next prints were leaf prints, made by impressing a leaf into a piece of foam meat tray, using a marble rolling pin. This is what she got when she printed the plate.

Then she created an impression plate by putting objects on a piece of foam core sheet and running it through a press. These plates are all very low relief. 



While she was printing , she accidentally over-inked the plate. She took a very wet print to clean the plate and then took a monotype from the wet print.
She liked this one much better than the prints she'd been getting, as the wet inks gave interesting patterns that were very natural. She also liked the second print she took from the wet plate.

Sometimes these accidental prints are the best!

Cindy didn't create anything in her journal this month but she did bring a tree to show us.

Isn't it gorgeous? It's called "Can't see the wood for the trees" and she made it for the untethered exhibition out of hand, in November this year. The background is made from her prints, many from gelliplates. The canvas on which its mounted is also printed with white textural media. The tree itself is beautifully three-dimensional, made from couched yarn.



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