Nature Printing: 30 Projects for Creating Beautiful Prints, Wearables, and Home Furnishings

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9781580173766: Nature Printing: 30 Projects for Creating Beautiful Prints, Wearables, and Home Furnishings

Nature printing, or recreating images from the natural world, is a direct, inexpensive process with possibilities as varied as nature itself. Apply ink or paint to leaves, flowers, herbs, or fruit and print life-sized images onto paper, fabric, and other surfaces to create captivating works of art.

In full-color, simple instructions, NATURE PRINTING covers tools, techniques, and tips for dozens of beautiful projects, including printed fabric for curtains, pillows, linens, quilts, and clothing; stationery, cards, and invitations; nature journals; and more. The book includes instructions for decorative finishes and frames, and it offers nature printing projects for children.


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Since ancient times, humans have sought ways to preserve the ephemeral beauty of nature. The centuries-old technique of nature printing yields some of the most exquisite results, appearing something like a cross between pressed-flower pictures and rubber-stamped designs. And the process itself somewhat resembles a hybrid of the two crafts: plant materials are gathered and pressed for a few minutes, then inked and covered with a sheet of paper or fabric to transfer the image. Unlike pressed-flower pictures, which require relatively flat blossoms, nature prints can utilize more extravagant blooms like roses and carnations, which can be printed without pressing. Other natural materials also work: fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, leaves, seashells, feathers, even fish and spiderwebs.

Laura Donnelly Bethmann provides solid background on the basics of the technique, as well as an interesting history of the craft. She explains how to gather and prepare specimens, offers a variety of printing methods, and discusses design principles. The final chapter comprises about a dozen simple projects, including gift-wrap, notecards, and T-shirts. Bethmann's own nature prints as well as those of several other artists are scattered throughout the pages; one wishes that more of these lovely, delicate artworks were more prominently featured in this otherwise worthwhile book. --Amy Handy

From the Inside Flap:

Praise for Nature Printing

" Stuff you usually compost or toss out with nary a second thought could actually be transformed into things of beauty. [Nature printing is] simple and you don't have to have much in the way of esoteric or expensive materials to make frame-worthy prints, handmade stationery, or gift wrap." (Newsday)

" I mastered [one project] after a five minute flip through [the] book. The photos and drawings are wonderfully easy to follow. I proceeded to decorate every envelope in the house. I couldn't stop! My daughter and I stamped through the entire house." (Darragh Doiron in the Port Arthur (TX) News)

"Just looking at [this book] makes you want to collect supplies and get to work. This is one of the most beautiful books I have seen." (The Chagrin Falls (OH) Valley Times

"Author Laura Donnelly Bethmann has done a wonderful job of revealing the methods behind a centuries-old craft that still appeals to the young and old, regardless of artistic ability." (Akron (OH) Beacon Journal)

"Bethmann has discovered the real connection between the creative self-expression evident in both gardening and painting, and has recognized how nature printing links them both." (Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer)

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