We bought a field
The story of an 11.4 acre field in South West Shropshire
One of the joys of owning a meadow is the opportunities - and inspiration - it gives you for other creativity.
Every summer I pick a a handful of grasses, leaves and flowers from our meadow in the summer months, press them in a home-made (very long!) flower press for about 3 weeks, then use them in a printmaking process called nature monoprinting in my little workshop which is next to the meadow.
You ink up your plate (I use an acrylic plate), add and arrange the pressed specimens, lay dampened printmaking paper on top and run through the press.
There are all sorts of ways of producing a monoprint and some have many layers and go through several times. The ghost prints are my favourite since they can be really delicate and to me represent the fragility of a semi-natural habitat that has been virtually lost in the UK in the last century.
Grasses print beautifully. Some plants like Yellow Rattle only last for a few passes, then disintegrate. Plants like Yarrow and (surprisingly Harebell) are as tough as old boots and will print multiple times without breaking up. Herb Robert might last one pass, then breaks into many pieces or sticks to the plate and is lost!
I have a separate website for my artwork at www.sarahjameson.co.uk and I usually have nature monoprints for sale.
I also make little books called Field Days, which I've researched and written, covering several common flowering plants found in our field. Each has a unique monoprinted cover.
So what exactly is a monoprint?
A monoprint is one of the traditional forms of printmaking. Monoprints are not reproduction prints—they are one-off pieces that cannot be exactly replicated. Unlike engraving, etching, woodcut or linocut, you cannot make editions of monoprints since the matrix disappears on printing,
although sometimes you can produce ‘ghost prints’ from the remains of the ink on the plate and these can have a beautiful faded quality.