This Blog will be a place dedicated to interview the Wonderful Flower Pressers and Artists
around the world that use 'Pressed Flowers" as part of their medium .
Let the world see What kind of " Art" can be made from it!
Please let me know if You would
to do an interview too or know someone ?
Come back often and Peace and Keep on Pressing...

This is the poem that reminded me to do this.

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy,
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." Marcel Proust

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vasantha Mukthavaram , Author and WWPFG member

Hello everyone sorry for being so slow getting this next blog posted. Truthfully I have been extra busy lately trying to keep my yard and gardens growing and pressed . We are having a drought this year and it is a challenge to keep the perennials from last year to hang on while still planting more to. As I told some friends this morning I haven't created a thing for a while now just hoping all this yard work will be future pictures! 

I am very proud to share this interview with You from Vasantha ! She has a very unique style, that appealed to me the very first time I saw her works! It is truly ECO-Friendly Art. 
I was thrilled to find out she had gotten her book finished and I am proud to say I have a copy already . I am thinking about buying more for gifts too. 

        Vasantha. This is how I look :) My picture  at my website : http://mvkgreenart.com/about/

 Where are you from?
         I am from  South Indian city called Hyderabad. I was born and brought up in  a near by village . I was a stay at home mom all through my life and I raised two boys in the same city. My kids moved to US  and have settled there.  

I have been visiting US from last 10 years and enjoy dividing my time between India and US. 
I still have a lot of my siblings and Mom in India , so I shuttle between  two countries.

 How long you have been with the guild?

     I started this art work 7 years ago . I did not learn from anyone. 
It was spontaneous inspiration from the Fall leaves. After years of doing, I have found the website through search. I have joined the Guild 4 years ago. I enjoy seeing others works in the guild and gaining some inspiration, I think the Guild is the best audience who appreciate the work behind it. I strongly feel that sharing artistic views and works with people in the same field is very important.
Rama and Sita are one of the most revered gods in India

  Do you remember the first thing you pressed?
        In 2002 when I was first inspired by the fall colors, I collected leaves and took them with me to India and made my first Bouquet. 

My philosophy of this artwork? Please feel free to tell us about your work or inspiration?

        My name in my language means Spring. From childhood, I always enjoyed creating something new from waste materials or scrap stuff.
        My eye for this inclination inspired me to look into a fallen leaf to see if I can put them together in a form. In 2002, when I first took trip to CT to visit my son, the fall colors inspired me .
        From the day one, I somehow strongly felt that I should not alter /cut the leaf. That was the first rule that I made for myself. As a famous contemporary artist said " The only way  you can be free from external rules is to create your own ...rules that are even more rigid, but because they are your own, you feel completely free"

        There is no right or wrong thing in an art. Following the rules I have chosen, My art looks very rustic  at times, but I always tell myself,that's how the leaf existed in its life time, so I want to preserve the leaf as it is. I really enjoy the challenging rule I have put for myself, Because it gives me great appreciation to appreciate the shape of the leaf.
Example: One of the tree flower buds  in front of my son's house are in the shapes of legs, so I use them to make portraits.  So every season, I literally wait for those buds to appear and when I find them, I am like a kid with a candy. And also you will also find my work cannot resemble other  works as I can't find the exact shapes all the time.

         I made an Indian Inspired artwork called "Sankranthi hela" in 2004 and it was selected as cover page for a State level Magazine and was published. My work took the cover page of several magazines subsequently in India in the following years. I started doing exhibitions in small form. I did few exhibitions in the US
(Fairfield ,CT , Schaumburg,IL and Borders).
I did exhibitions in Hyderabad, India's State art gallery which brought in lot of recognition to my work.

  While I was enjoying my time with my grandchildren, I had an idea of making Animals with my leaves.  That inspired me in creating my first children's book. Creating Animals and Birds was hard task including human beings. Without modifying the leaf, doing it took me several years.  I always enjoyed Aesop's fables, So I picked 9 classic stories and completed my book. I have self published my book and I hope I can sell them in the US and India. Here's the link for one of the stories on my website .

click picture for larger image

Please pass the message about this book to your friends and families. to see more and order click below .

        Regarding my experience with the Guild, World Wide Pressed Flower Guild has been very inspiring for me. I have made a few friends on the Guild ( Kate Chu , Terica , Rebekah S , Pat Smith, Denyse Rattan-Diem ), I read every email carefully from the Guild, However due to language barrier, I dont write lot of comments or replies. I would specially thank Terica and Rebekah for providing suggestions. I hope I can meet you all at the CT conference this Fall if things work out for me.

    Whats your favorite medium or materials?
        I use leaves a lot.I collected at least 100's of leaves before making one work. I do not alter or cut the leaves. I  use the leaves, 

I also use the peeled thin bark of few trees specially in the spring.
My favorite leaves.1. neem 2. eucalyptus leaves.

  Whats your favorite glue?
    I use multipurpose glue in India. In US I use Elmers glue.

Whats your favorite flower press and how do You do it?
  I do not use any particular press. I have tried different processes like silica gel etc, but Most of the time, I use books to press the leaves and flowers.

Where can we find your work?
      My new website is mvk green art 

Please feel free to browse and write your comments. 
I could use some advice from experienced people like you.

I do hope you enjoyed  this interview and leave comments.
I am still needing new people for interviews . 
If you do pressing or just use pressed flowers for your crafts or arts ,please consider telling your story too.
Peace and Happy Spring

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Elaine McMahon , WWPFG Heirloom

 Hello everyone I am proud to introduce Elaine ,she is a very talented award winning artist. 
She is also an heirloom of WWPFG . She has been a great support to the guild . She too has wore many hats to make the guild what it is today. She has taught many classes there, was Treasurer while helping make the guild a Non-profit , and now is Hosting the 2011 WWPFG Conference this year . for more info check here.
Thanks Elaine for doing the interview .

Elaine McMahon

Where are you from?
Manchester, Ct

How Long have You been doing Pressed Flower Art and/or using Pressed Plant material in your art and crafts as a medium   ?
I began pressing by accident…literally! A pool supply company in my town had a massive chemical explosion in the summer of 2001. This caused a cloud of chlorine ash to travel many miles and a lot of plants and trees were affected.
In my own yard for example, the front half of my peony bush died overnight. My herb garden was ruined. The insurance adjuster claimed that if I cut down the herbs, the ash would neutralize to lime over the winter and the herbs would be fine the following year. I cut them down and within a month they were growing beautifully though inedible. I pondered what to do with them as I hate to waste anything. I thought, maybe I could press them and make greeting cards. Then I looked around my yard at all my flowers and thought I would try pressing them too.
My daughter-in-law introduced me to the Guild website and I joined immediately! It was the most life-changing event of my life.

Do you remember the first thing you pressed ?

What’s your favorite mediums /materials?
I prefer the look of pressed flowers on mat board but since I now vacuum seal my work, I use heavy weight drawing paper or fabric as a base. I usually use chalk pastel if I need a non-flower background.
I love working with my special blue hydrangeas! I also love working with leaves and bark.

What is your favorite glues ? 
I usually use plain old Elmer’s glue…very sparingly. I also use Botanical glue and I use a lot of double-sided tape for glue-sensitive flowers.

Do You use sealers on your pressed flowers.

What is your favorite Flower to Press and How do you do it?
Blue hydrangea. I use desiccant paper exclusively when pressing. I have home-made presses consisting of plywood, desiccant, air conditioning foam, Viva paper towel. For Hydrangeas, I also use a sheet of blank newsprint on top of the paper towel for perfectly smooth petals.

Please Feel free to tell us about your work, inspiration, and thoughts with us too.
Most of my work in the last couple of years has been for competition or as a classroom exercise through the Guild.
Any leaf or petal seems to activate my imagination. I can look at a sooty looking piece of birch bark and think, “Ah…that would make a great piece of statuary!”

Where  can we find your work ? web ,blog , shops ,etc 
In my dining room, my living room, etc. I used to do a lot of shows and fairs but found that I wasn’t selling enough to cover the time and expense involved. Now I just sell pictures occasionally to clients. I do a few bridal pieces as well.

Please share tips ?
Always use only fresh, dry plant material without spots or tears.

Tell stories that You want people to know about working with pressed flowers and plants .
Being a member of WWPFG has been the most rewarding aspect of my life. Though I have done many different types of crafts over the years, I had never done an actual piece of artwork before. After about two years of learning, I took several pieces of my artwork to the beauty salon that I shared with another hairdresser and hung them on the wall. I stood there looking at them and got kind of choked up and thought, “Oh my gosh, I am an artist!”
I am very grateful to the Guild for everything I have learned and all the friends I have made and cherish.

Please leave comments and click the share and other buttons too.
Come back next week for an interview with an wonderful artist and author Vansantha Mukthavaram 
Peace and Happy Pressing
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