Volume 2014, Issue 10

Pressing matters:
Preserving
flowers in books

 

As it came time to write about gardening, we started thinking of all the ways that books and botany can be combined. And that took us back to our childhoods when we would gather up flowers and press them between the pages of books—drying , flattening, and preserving them. At least one precious family heirloom might have been ruined in the process, though—it turns out that using paper to protect the pages is a pretty good idea.

So we were particularly delighted to see this whole idea come full circle with the book _pressed by Roeland Schumacher. The self-described “eternal tinkerer and pressed flower photographer extraordinaire” has created an elegant volume of his pressed flower photography. Each pressed flower is presented on simple black background, highlighting the fragile and timeless beauty of the blooms. And while Schumacher is kind of an expert on the subject, it’s something anyone can do.

Pressing matters - Flower book

Got an old dictionary, encyclopedia, or other hefty book? Press some floral specimens between the pages and see what you come up with (and remember our point about using protective sheets). If you don’t have a large, heavy book, you can always use a stack of books with the one of the flowers in the volume at the bottom. The process can take a few weeks, but a slow-paced activity like flower pressing can be the perfect way to balance the hectic speed of our daily lives. You can check your Facebook page in the meantime (or ours).

Pressing flowers—or even just the petals—together with photos and ink can also create some very interesting combinations, like this example from the notebook of a member of our Creative Team.

Pressing matters - Garden book

Once you have a few good specimens, pull out your camera and snap away. We suggest using the Macro mode (indicated on most cameras by the flower icon) and a tripod for the best effect. Shoot against a blank background using soft, natural light (try an overcast day). A desktop scanner will also do the job—we recommend an old one so you don’t risk scratching the glass with the stems or coating the glass with pollen and broken petals.

When you have enough shots, fire up one of our book-making tools and put the images into your own custom book. And if you want to get really “meta” about it all, press a new set of flowers in this book.

 

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