The idea of cutting my drawings on plant leaves came to me in the summer of 2006, and I immediately began to develop the technique, based on paper cutting; but it was not until 2008, when I got the first complex designs, precisely cut on leaves of various species, which didn't breake during the cutting process or afterwards. At last I had the first cut leaves ready to be framed!
A caterpillar eating a leaf, while I was watching it, I got the idea of cutting drawings on this natural “paper”.
Basically, I clean them, dry them (if necessary) and press them for several days, then I fix them to a support where I can cut them efficiently. Once the cut is finished, I remove them from the support and press them again. When the cutting process is finished, I frame the leaves or keep them in a herbarium, depending on the final objective of the work. For fresh leaves it is not necessary to go through the initial part of the above process, I cut them directly.
I mainly collect them in the woods, parks and gardens near my residence.
For me, the best leaves to be cut are those with a hard texture. Usually I prefer the leaves of the trees to those of the rest of the plants. For example, Maple, Magnolia or Oak leaves may be ideal for practicing.
Framed, or kept in a herbarium.
A leaf dies when it's separated from the plant, and therefore that coloration must change in any case (framed or not), since the chlorophyll (responsible for this pigmentation, and which is photosensitive) is no longer regenerated by living cells, hence, the original color of the leaf almost always changes to shades of brown and yellow.
Theoretically they could last even centuries, if we take into account other techniques used in the past with plant leaves as a support. If we take care of them properly, we can grant them the strength that is also hidden behind so many apparently fragile things.
Other artists from past centuries made artworks where they also used plant leaves as a support for their creativity (painting them, skeletonizing them, etc.), and many of these pieces have been preserved to this day by museums, auction houses, private collectors, etc. . Personally, I only have proof of how my cut leaves have been preserved over time, and both I and clients who have shared their experience with my work, have pieces made since I made my first attempts (2006-2008), which original structure and design remain intact, having changed only the initial hue, which, as I explained above, is unavoidable (and charming for people who love Still Life, for example).
Leaves are mostly composed by lignin and cellulose, so we can make an analogy with paper. On the other hand, if we take into account that large botanical collections are centuries old, such as those of this herbarium http://botanica.sma.unibo.it/, then it is very likely that Leaf Cutting Art, properly treated and framed, can also be preserved for a long time.
They are normally presented in custom-made wooden frames, with museum-quality glass (for UV protection and because it facilitates clear viewing of the artwork). However, at the client's request, some pieces have been displayed in a glass-leaf-glass format, or in boxes to be placed on a surface (instead of hanging on a wall), etc.
They have different meanings related to the specific moment in which I make them, to my personality, my beliefs, etc. but in a general sense, plant leaves are the main support where I express my thoughts about the relationship that human beings have with our own psychology and environment. In this section I address this topic more broadly.
For more information you can contact me, I usually answer within 48 hours, but in any case I will do so as soon as possible.