Friday, 25 April 2014

The Art of Pressing Flowers

The Art of Pressing Flowers

(& other crafts my mother taught me)

Recently my mother and I have been tackling the foreboding wasteland that is her craft room. Once many years ago my childhood bedroom, now a mountain of (I am sure there was a floor somewhere) clutter.

Today as she worked her way through more boxes, bins and bags, and I poked my head in hoping to spy some lost treasures to glean for my own towering collection of crafty supplies. We uncovered the last remnants of her pressed flower collection.

Pressed Flowers: Lasting reminders of many hours spent together

Crafts my mum taught me

My mum wasn't really into conventional crafts, she sewed on occasion in times of desperation, she never crocheted, her knitting pile was much higher on the started but not finished side and her card making mostly consisted of recycling old cards as often as possible.

To be fair, she grew up in a village in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, so the closest craft store was at least a 4 mile hike, several river crossings, a small single prop aeroplane flight and several month boat ride away. So she learnt to make do, and appreciate the beauty of what was around her, and she thoughtfully passed this onto our family.

When it came to corn husk dolls, acorn people, turtles made from sea shells, anything involving sticks, flowers or pinecones she was in her element.

Pressed flower arranging, all the rage in the 90's

Lessons learnt from pressing flowers

Though my passion for sewing was obviously not passed down to me by my mum, the heart of crafting, thrifting and seeing beauty in the simple things was, and it's one of her greatest legacies.

Do you know how long it takes to press flowers?

It starts with hours of slow methodical work.. then months to see your results.

The process of pressing flowers

  1. Wander your garden (or your neighbours) spotting flowers. - Seeing the potential in everyday things
  2. Carefully pick the flowers, and carry them back home.  - Handle that which is fragile with love and care.
  3. Remove the lumpy bits you don't want to keep. - Evaluating and discarding that which is not worth keeping.
  4. Lay out the flowers, so that none are touching, on some tissue paper, sandwiched in a heavy book. - Some things take time and pressure to reach their potential
  5. Store away somewhere safe and wait a few months. - Patience is always a virtue
  6. Remember that a few months ago you pressed some flowers and find them! - Don't give up on or forget about that which is stored away, waiting for it's moment to shine.
  7. Admire your pressed flowers, though they might not be as vibrant and soft as the ones you started with. - True beauty is not just in youth, or lost over time.
  8. Create something new and beautiful with your flowers. - Creating new from something old

Pressing rose petals
My mother, my sister and I spent countless hours in this way, sharing stories, tears, laughter and creativity. So maybe the result was something most people wouldn't hang on their wall. (at least not since the year 2000) But the true value is in the making, and the time spent together and the lessons learnt.

Seeing potential. Valuing beauty. Patiently hoping. Creating with love

As the countdown to Mother's Day begins, I am grateful for the crafts that my mother taught me, and the time she took to do so.

Helena Dinnissen

1 comment:

  1. We would love to hear about what crafts your mother has taught you too, so please share!