Spontaneous printing

For me, one of the many rewards of teaching is learning from the students. In June, while demonstrating nature printing at my local library in south Minneapolis, a woman selected a wild anemone (Anemone canadensis) from the specimens I’d brought along. She applied the rolled-out ink to the leaves and blossom, placed the dampened Sumi-E paper over the print, placed a newspaper guard sheet on top of the printing paper, and pressed mightily. This is the resulting print! Isn’t it splendid?

Student print of wild anemone.

What I particularly appreciated about learning from this nature-printing enthusiast was her spontaneity; her daring. With this type of specimen, I had been using a more painstaking, complicated method to record the plant. I learned from this student that my efforts weren’t necessary.

I recalled this valuable lesson last week as I prepared to print a Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera). Instead of setting up my usual involved method, I flattened the specimen slightly in a phone book while preparing my workspace and the paper. Then, I rolled out Akua water-soluble fluid inks with a soft-rubber brayer, gently rolled the ink onto the specimen, and printed. I’m pleased with the result. What do you think?

A spontaneous print of Christmas cactus.

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