It's been a really long time since I've written about any artwork I've been working on, mostly because I haven't been doing much - the usual complaints. I have been experimenting with fusing leaves in glass, so I thought I'd share my results (so far) with you.
I read somewhere that it was possible to fuse leaves between two layers of glass and get a carbon imprint left behind after the leaf burned out. I've been wanting to try it with some magnolia leaves I picked up in Bellingham, WA two years ago. The leaves had fallen off the tree the previous fall, I presume, so by the time I picked them up in the spring everything but the veins had rotted away. They were very lacey and beautiful, so I picked up several and pressed them. I thought the carbon imprint they'd leave behind would be fascinating.
Unfortunately, it appears that there wasn't enough organic material left in the leaf to get the effect I wanted. You can see in the center of the piece a bit of the vein image, but most of the leaf was lost.
I thought I'd try again with whole leaves, so I stepped out my front door and picked some alder and unidentified wildflower leaves. I pressed them between layers of paper towel for about 24 hours before I tried fusing them.
Two of the leaves (originally in the opposing empty corners of the glass) burned away completely. The remainder are still present and developed an interesting metallic appearance, but they have large bubbles over them. I suspected the problem was that the leaves weren't quite dry and that the moisture caused the excessive bubbling.
My third attempt was with the same kind of leaves, but this time completely dry. Here's a photo of the leaves between the glass layers before firing.
I'm not sure if I haven't discovered the secret to this process or if I'm tryng to achieve the impossible. I've had fun experimenting, however. I think the next attempt will be with dry leaves this fall, or maybe some that are starting to rot away, but aren't as far gone as the magnolia leaves were. We'll just have to see what happens.