LIFE

Artist Uses Pressed Flora To Create Stunning Works Of Art

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

The art of pressing leaves and flowers to preserve their beauty is nothing new.

Scientists, artists, and hobbyists have been doing it for centuries, and it’s even helped us classify and learn about different plant species!

Maybe you’ve even done it yourself in a dictionary or another heavy book.

Artist and illustrator Helen Ahpornsiri is someone who lives this tradition, and uses pressed leaves, ferns, flowers, and even algae in her illustrations, taking pressed plants in a completely new direction. She uses them to create intricate colleges in the shapes of animals and even some favorite pop culture figures.

Many artists take inspiration from nature, like the artist who uses fresh flowers and plants to create beautiful but temporary works of art.

Ahpornsiri’s art, however, lasts a bit longer thanks to being pressed and dried, then mounted on paper with exacting care and precision.

Using the natural shapes of the plants, Ahpornsiri creates detailed images of her subjects, and the result is a dense pattern that almost looks like a fabric pattern than a collection of pressed plants.

Check out some of her work for yourself, and you might get inspired to collect some specimens of your own come spring!

[H/T: Colossal, Instagram Blog]

Using nothing but pressed plants and a very steady hand, Ahpornsiri creates these incredibly detailed, patterned images by mounting the plants onto paper.

She carefully composes the images by selecting plants by size, shape, and color, to give her creatures details and dimension. This bird, for example, gets its wing thanks to a long, dark-colored fern.

She also uses empty space as part of her designs. The open places in this insect’s wings give us the feeling of lightness and airiness.

And the designs that are more densely filled in look like gorgeous tapestries.

Even without seeing the final shape, the incredible, interlocking patterns she’s able to create are beautiful!

Lately, Ahpornsiri has also been applying gold leaf to some of her plants, giving them a rich, glittering look.

Just like real leaves, gold leaf is very lightweight and flaky, meaning that the slightest breeze can send it all scattering. So slow, steady movements are a must when Ahpornsiri makes her art!

“I have to be careful not to sneeze or move too quickly,” she explains. “The leaves go everywhere.”

But when you see the beauty of the end results, it’s fair to say that careful patience has certainly paid off.

Even her smaller pieces — which can get very tiny — are so perfectly put together, they don’t need any gold additions. These wee nautical pieces are nothing short of adorable.

Ahpornsiri’s pieces typically contain between 50 and 100 individual pieces of ferns and plants, as well as feature about 20 different species.

She collects her specimens from her own garden in East Sussex, England, and presses them in a wooden flower press that she’s had since childhood.

Ahpornsiri has always loved her flower press, especially when she would open it up and see what she’d collected from warmer months. “I used to love opening it and finding pieces of summer in the winter,” she says.

Since then, she’s developed her love of collecting flora and turned it into a stunning method of making art.

And check out how cute her pop culture characters, like this Kirby, are!

You can see much more of her work on her website, as well as on Instagram. If you enjoy what you see, stop by and get some prints of her work on her Etsy shop. You can even see how she puts her pieces together on YouTube.

And be sure to SHARE this incredible and unique artwork with anyone you know who has fond memories of pressing flowers!