Saturday, 30 September 2006

How to preserve leaves

Speaking to Tonniece about the beautiful colours of the Autumn (Fall) leaves reminded me that when I was doing my City & Guilds Part 2 course my Research work was based on Trees. I took photographs of every tree imaginable, the trunks, the lichen that grows on them you name it I photographed it. However one other thing I did was when I was on my travels around the world I kept leaves from the places I visited. In order to preserve them I "painted" each side of the leaf with PVA glue. No special glue is required any cheap and cheerful PVA glue will do - as long as it dries clear.

The quilt you see above includes some of those leaves. I made this quilt back in 2001 and the leaves are as lovely now as they were then! The background fabric is a piece of my early attempts at fabric dyeing, actually my very first attempts come to think of it.

This was made as part of my recycling project. The fabric was old white hospital sheets I hand dyed. The leaves as I said are real leaves painted with PVA glue and left to dry. I laid the leaves on each panel and on top I added some old overhead transparencies.

Because I was limited to the size of the transparencies I just joined them together with a zigzag stitch.
It's difficult to photograph the quilt because of the glare from the transparencies. However you can see the rich colour of this leaf that came all the way from Wakefield, Massachusetts, USA (my most favourite place I have visited).

Although it was easy enough, with care, to stitch through the transparencies by machine I decided to use another stitch we learned at college - Big stitch attributed to Joe Walters.

Here is what the stitch looks like on the back of the quilt (it's the same on the front but I can show it more clearly on the back). I used a perle cotton thread.

6 comments:

Tonniece said...

Hi carol

Those leaves are preserved beautifully with the glue.
Now I know I will be picking some of these leave here. What a great idea.
And what a good idea of picking some from everywhere you've been. All you have to do is look at them to remember all the great times you had.
As for that material being your first dyeing attempt, noone would have known if you had'nt said so.
The pictures are clear enough to see how great they are. Love them.
They are all beautiful.

Have a good weekend
Tonniece

Dianne said...

Beautiful quilt, I never even thought to put PVA on the . well I'll be doing it all the time now.
I doooo love leaves..
Thanks my dear...

platitudinal said...

I'm amazed that the leaves didn't become brittle and crumbled. It's a beautiful way to preserve nature's beauty. (how many "beauty" can I use to describe your work?) ;)

Carol said...

Hi Ladies,

If you try this technique then don't put too much glue on the leaves.

The PVA keeps them nice and supple. Actuslly when I looked closer at the quilt I noticed I had actually stitched through them by machine when I quilted it. You can see the machine stitching in the picture. I quilted both by hand and machine on this piece.

Carol

Zoe Guest said...

Hi, do you know what time it takes for the leaves to darken? Just wondering if I preserve some now for my wedding next october,... Will they still look good? Any idea? Cheers Zoe

Zoe Guest said...

Hi, do you know what time it takes for the leaves to darken? Just wondering if I preserve some now for my wedding next october,... Will they still look good? Any idea? Cheers Zoe