Sunday, July 07, 2013

Recent adventures in art : Flower Pounding with Magpie's Nest

It's been a month since I posted anything here, but that doesn't mean my hands have been idle. Today, for instance, I made my way over to Britannia Community Centre for a Flower Pounding free pop-up art workshop hosted by the Magpie's Nest Community Art Space.

I've never done flower pounding before, but the concept is almost as simple as it sounds ... put a layer of flower blossoms, leaves, etc., between a sheet of watercolour paper and a piece of fabric, and then whack at it with a small hammer in a determined sort of way. My favourite method was using the rounded head of a ball peen hammer, and work my way pointilistically over the surface of the bloom or leaf.

I decided to create a sort of "impossible botanical sampler" ~ a plant with a variety of blooms and leaves. I wanted to see what kind of result I'd get from each blossom. I began with whole flowers and leaves at the top, but by the time I reached the bottom I'd learned that placing each petal individually gave me more satisfactory results. On the left-hand side is the muslin "print" of the flowers, with the paper "print" on the right. The magpies had brought a massive amount of flowers and leaves to choose from, as well as a big stack of prepared fabrics and paper, but I thought I better keep my project small and manageable.

I'm not sure how permanent the colours will be, but they're very lovely and soft at the moment. I found it interesting how the colours changed even while I worked on it. The three-petaled brown-yellow flower on center outside edge was actually three petals from a large orange lily. The yellow inner edges very not much different in colour from the petals initially, but retain their yellowness even now. But while pounding the outer edge of the petals, each strike of the hammer would result in a vivid orange dot on the fabric, but it quickly (within seconds) changed to purple/brown you see above. Oddly beautiful transition that only the person pounding would ever see.

This was Day 2 of the flower pounding workshop, and (judging by the noise level) well attended! Some people who'd been in on Saturday for Day 1 came back with friends, so it was a bit deafening at some points ~ probably one of their noisier workshops. But as someone across the table said to me today: "Funny how the noise doesn't bother you when it's you doing the hammering!". Perhaps this act of creativity would be a good form of stress relief as well ...

Big thanks to all the lovely Magpies at Magpie's Nest Community Art Space. Their events are always well organized and welcoming, and fully stocked for whatever diverse art activity they have planned. If you live in Vancouver (or nearby), I highly encourage you to sign up for one of their meetups. Their events are creative, free and kid-friendly. As a person who's usually on the organizing end of this sort of thing, it's a real treat for me to just drop in and enjoy the atmosphere when these talented and dedicated people bring their unique events to the community. Well done!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for coming Penelope and what wonderful flower print you made! Gorgeous!

I just posted a nice pic of you hammering away at the workshop on our Facebook page!