We just gave our second of four workshops here in Kitakagaya as part of our REALtimeFOOD project — actually we just gave the third, but I’m behind on blog posting — and as an introduction, I’d like to open this post by sharing Suhee’s inspiring story of how she came to work with flowers in this way.
From an early age, Suhee enjoyed collecting leaves and flowers. It was just a small hobby she kept for herself until a few years ago while visiting a family in Turkey. The father of the family happened to show Suhee a diary full of leaves one day, some of them collected a decade or more ago, and offered them as simple gift to her.
Suhee didn’t know how to accept them. “They are so precious! I don’t think I can take them.” Suhee said to him, letting him know that she also has collected leaves in the same manner for some time. “Are you sure you want to give something like these away?”
The father insisted, and Suhee thought that such a kind gesture could not end simply with her keeping the leaves for herself. Upon returning to Korea, she decided to share them with friends. It was a practice that brought unexpected joy, nearly everyone who received the leaves was able to take time to slow down and remark at the beauty of these small pieces of nature from far away in Turkey.
This process slowly developed into saving leaves and flower petals nearly everywhere she goes, and creating small flower post cards, book marks, and other works to share with friends and people she meets.
One of the great things is that this is a task that almost anyone can do to share the simple beauty of nature from the places they visit. We think it can tell the story of a place in a different and often more intimate way than a photo postcard.
To start, all you need is a book or diary to keep the leaves and petals in!
The basics of making a Flower Card go like so:
1) Carry with you, a book or diary with a good absorbent paper (not too thin, and not too shiny) everywhere you go.
2) Carefully and respectfully pick small leaves or flower petals… part of our philosophy is to sincerely thank the plant from which you are harvesting, understand that it is a living thing and pledge to share its beauty with others through your art.
3) After harvesting a leaf or flower petal, carefully place it near the spine of the book so it is flat when the book is closed. Wait for a few days (sometimes up to 1 week) for them to dry.
4) Carefully pick your leaves and petals out with tweezers, and use any type of acid-free adhesive to stick them on a card or other thick paper. We have taken to using watercolor paper, but any thick card-like paper will do!
5) Be creative and expressive with it! Keep it simple at first and feel out your arrangements, observing how the colors and shapes interact with each other.
Our final workshop on (Saturday, 18 July in the Kitakagaya neighborhood in Osaka, Japan) will focus on arrangement and innovation in what you can do with simple flower petals and leaves. Participants of the first flower workshop can bring their dried and pressed materials from last time, or for new participants, we’ll have some on hand for you to use.
You can contact suhee [at] finalstraw.org if you have any questions about the flower art workshop!
For now, I’ll leave you with some images from our first Flower Art workshop in Osaka, Japan…