Thursday, May 19, 2016

Direct-Printing Lesson

[Note: Celeste Johnston gave our group a fun, interesting and informative "hands-on" lesson about nature printing during our April meeting, and here are her thoughts]:

                            About Nature-printing, Direct Printing/Monoprinting
                                                   By Celeste Johnston
I would like to start with a quote by Henry Bradbury when he addressed The Royal Institution of Great Britain in 1856:
He exclaimed "How powerful are the results direct from Nature herself", during the lecture
entitled 'Nature Printing: Its Origin and Objects.' He stated that nature printing had  "come to the 
aid of science".  Despite its decline as a scientific tool, nature printing  has stood the test of time and there has been a revival of this ancient art form.  The Nature Printing Society was formed in 1976 by a group of dedicated professionals employing nature printing as an extension of their scientific work.
The Nature Printing Society, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, is an international organization devoted to the artistic and educational pursuit of nature printing.

Artists and scientists have been inspired by nature printing. Leonardo da Vinci, in his manuscript Codex Atlantis, includes the first know written record of nature printing.  
It is accompanied by a printed impression of a sage leaf. In the later half of the 1600's when the science of botany was born, nature printing was found to be extremely helpful to botanists who had no artistic talent. The first female botanist  in this country compiled a major volume describing the plants of New York and illustrated it with 340 nature printed specimens. Her name was Jane Colden 

Later techniques evolved and over a thousand impressions from one plant could be cast in soft metal. Out of this evolved the imprinting of plants on a copper plate coated with a soft ground. Nature printing will continue to evolve and I am glad to know  about this  important part of our botanical history. 

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