Pressed Flower Art Using Pressed Flowers & Darning Stitch
Darning this piece of pressed flower art has kept me absorbed in creativity these past few evenings. Traditionally used to mend and repair worn-out clothes, using darning as an embroidery technique for embellishment feels almost dishonest. Can the darning method be elevated to a technique to create fine artwork?'
I've captured images of my pressed flowers in their optimum dried state, printed them on museum-quality paper, and stitched them into them to make my pressed flower wall art. This video demonstrates how I made my paper wall art using a darning needle, wool, and the darning stitch.
Pressed Flower Artist
I’m Leah Nikolaou, a pressed flower artist honing my craft through experimentation in flower growing and traditional flower pressing. If you are interested in learning more about pressing flowers, read my ultimate flower pressing guide, The The Easiest Flowers To Press. It's the result of lots of trial and error in my garden and has given me a plethora of floral inspiration to use in my art.
Each year I focus on perfecting one flower type; this year, it was the humble poppy. Poppies are incredibly delicate and fragile to press, but luckily I grew plenty of willowy specimens to perfect my pressing and drying techniques.
Pressed Flower Art
The one thing I find challenging about flower pressing is that I can't freeze my flowers when they are at their most beautiful. For poppies, it's when they have been in the flower press for about 4 to 5 weeks. They are flat, dry, and slightly translucent but still rich in colour. There is no getting away from the fact that pressed flowers do fade as they are subject to time and changing light conditions, even behind the best archival glass frame.
For this pressed flower art piece, I wanted to capture this optimum state of beauty and preserve it. To do this, I used photography to capture its exquisite detail and then had it professionally printed using the giclee method of printing archival fine art paper.
Darning is the best repair for worn-out fabrics like holes in jumpers and socks. 'Darning' comes from the French word 'darner,' which translates as 'to mend.' I wanted to challenge the humble darning stitch and see it elevated to a fine art stitch/ technique to rival the beauty of the poppy.
You strengthen the fabric worn or torn in darning clothes with a build-up of threads. In the same way, I intended the threads to strengthen my design. I worked each section of my jug as if darning a hole. I worked vertical threads first. Then I weaved under and over them with horizontal threads mimicking the darning process. As in mending, I worked by eye and a faint pencil line letting the shapes construct semi-organically.
The darning wool I choose to use is a Rowan, kid silk haze, lace weight yarn. I wanted to use a darning thread with qualities as beautiful and delicate as the pressed poppies themselves. My usual choice of chunkier wool felt like it needed to be more refined for its beauty. The fluffy quality of the woven wool creates an uneven yet soft silhouette which brings balance between the two subjects.
Shop Pressed Flower art collections to browse more of my designs.