Trees are the stars of eco-printing. Yes, there are plenty of smaller plants and flowers that we use and rely on, but the leaves of trees are the mainstay of our art. Actually, the whole tree – we use the bark, the leaf and the root to supply us with tannin as well as print pigment and dye. A good part of my learning curve has been to learn more about trees: how to identify them, which ones will and will not print or dye. Which are local and which are invasive non-natives.
Today is about my favorite, most used or most available trees and their leaves. The mighty oak may be the most common native tree here in the northeast United States, or at least among the most well known. This is but one of the many varieties.
Or perhaps the Maple is more prolific.It is certainly one of the most beautiful in all it’s splendor in the coming month as her colors turn from green to yellow and to red.
Most of us love the eucalyptus in all it’s many forms.
Non-natives prolificate along the rim of our many industrial areas because the soil has been dramatically effected by upheaval that has uncovered previously dormant seeds.Below is a Black Locust Tree, which prints nicely.
Many non-natives have also been cultivated in the parks without regard to native or non-native species. This is the Kolreuteria paniculata or Golden Rain tree. You’ll see this in a lot of my prints.
Then there’s the Buckthorn tree, which I love to print with Calcium Carbonate.
Last but not least is the Staghorn Sumac. It’s definitely the most reliable printer which I call the redhead because of it’s spiked cluster of red fruit at the top.
By no means is this a comprehensive list of good trees to print. But I’m having trouble uploading pictures right now from my camera – these last 3 are from Wikepedia. I’ll do a Part 2 at another time. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy foraging for leaves as much as I do!
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