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Working with the Natural World;

The uniqueness of these pictures is fairly unquestionable in as much as each leaf and flower produced in nature is unique. Although I am lucky enough to live in a place which offers a selection of specimens available for me to collect, the qualities, colour and textures of each tree and plant vary from year to year for reasons too numerous to be aware of, let alone to list here. As an example; if the ladybird population has a particularly successful year, the result in that area is fewer aphids, which to most gardeners can only be a good thing… however it is those aphids who produce the black spots on the surface of sycamore leaves during the later summer months, so some years I can search far and wide to find an unblemished leaf for a smart jacket without success because the aphids have been doing their own creating amongst the leaves, and this often unseen world has determined that the spotted sycamore dress is the only ‘print’ to be en-vogue on the faerie catwalks! Other years, no matter how much we love the spots and textures, we are only offered the rich green shimmers of untouched sycamore and maybe have to dress them up with delicate cow-parsley flowers, or rowan leaves saved from the autumn time in their rich shades of orange and red.

A word on longevity…

One of the main concerns when dealing with flowers and leaves is how long the pictures will last, and the potential for fading.  Although it is essential to keep the picture out of direct sunlight- where they would bleach to gentle mixture of buffs, creams and browns in a matter of weeks, and away from damp- where there is a good chance of the picture changing from a beautiful dress to a rather fabulous display of different types of fungus... If these potential hazards are avoided there is no reason why the faerie dresses should not stand the test of time and remain a colourful and delicate addition to any home for decades to come.  There is a note on the back of each picture outlining the need to protect it from sunlight and damp.

There is something of an exact science in pressing and preserving plant matter: I have found some species, even some varieties within a species, retain their colour much better than others; indeed some of the examples I have used were pressed by my Grandmother before I was born some 30 odd years ago (and they have been some odd years!!!) and are still as vibrant as any you’d see growing in the fields today... Others simply do not dry well and are discarded in the second phase of the pressing process.  The papers I use for mounting are all acid free and the glues are not solvent based so I have confidence that the pictures as a whole will remain as you see them for many, many years