Sunday, June 06, 2010
As some who read my blog may know, I am a herbalist as well as an artist. Although my medicinal herb garden isn't as big as it once, there are still many of the more common and useful herbs in it that I use regularly. Comfrey is one of them.
Comfrey grows to about 4 feet high, and has large leaves with visible white hairs on them, especially on young leaves, like peach fuzz. Comfrey grows like a weed and it is hard to get rid of once it has taken hold. It has drooping flowers, in colors ranging from purple to pink to blue to white. You can pick the leaves in spring and summer, they are best before the comfrey flowers. The flowers come in late spring and summer. And the roots are usually collected in fall and winter.
With the comfrey in the garden in full growth now, I picked some of the young leaves for relief printing. Comfrey leaves and quite sturdy and hairy but that doesn't affect the print that you get with them. I left the leaves to wilt a little overnight before printing.
Using 12 x 16 inch Okawara paper and a water based block printer ink, I inked the leaf on the reverse side, then turned it onto my print surface. I burnished it using a baren and the resulting prints look almost like surreal trees.
I played around with some tiny prints using a hand made Indian paper, as well as used newsprint as above for some test prints. There are lots of ideas in my head for more print options for plants and especially herbs as I have a garden full of them. A few grape leaves from the greenhouse work well too.
Why the initial image won't show as horizontal, I don't know. Blogger has its moments I guess, so you have to use your imagination. I will conquer it and this print will be available for sale on Etsy soon.