Oct 13, 2023
Dried flowers subject of craft program at Tangipahoa Parish Libary
The art of using dried flowers, stems and other plant matter in the creation of paintings was the subject of the July Monthly Crafts Night at the Hammond Branch of the Tangipahoa Parish Library
The art of using dried flowers, stems and other plant matter in the creation of paintings was the subject of the July Monthly Crafts Night at the Hammond Branch of the Tangipahoa Parish Library System.
A group of craft enthusiasts gathered at the library July 19 to learn all about how to use the products of the garden to create a picture.
Artist Dara Calmes, who conducts the monthly craft classes, opened the latest session by explaining that the use of dried plant materials is yet one more way to create beauty from nontraditional materials.
She procures the dried flowers and stems used in the class from online sources, but said anyone can preserve flowers and other plant matter through simply, and carefully, pressing the desired materials in such a way that moisture can be pushed out of the flower or stems while assuring that the matter does not have a chance to end up covered with mold.
A traditional way to press flowers is to do so in a book and Calmes advised that if one chooses to do that, they should put extra protection on both sides of the flower so that the book is not damaged.
She started the class by passing out sheets of special, hand crafted paper that was porous and absorbent. She then told the class, “use your imagination and be creative. Let the flowers, stems, ferns and other material be a part of the message that you want to deliver. You can incorporate a message or just make a picture. This is your work and let it reflect your imagination.” She added, “take your time, experiment, think about how you will use what is available.”
Calmes passed out a box of dried plant materials and invited her artists to choose from acrylic paints that could be used for the paintings. She said paintbrushes, pencils, both traditional and colored, scissors, tweezers, and special glue, called Mod Podge, were available to assist in making a picture. She also suggested that some of the artists might prefer to create a collage using the dried flowers but also incorporating material from a stack of magazines that were readily available.
One of the participants, Jessica Barnes, said that at one time in her life she had taken up painting and worked with oils. She said she then switched to using acrylics because it dried quicker. “Once I had children, I just didn’t have as much time to paint as I had had before. My daughter, still young, is mastering watercolors, something I never enjoyed working with. She is great working with colors.”
Across from Barnes, Briege Harper chose to use a clipping from a magazine as part of her creation. She incorporated the clipping with the use of dried ferns and other materials into her creation. She too said the library was a special place for her. “I bring my children to the library for most of the programs and we were here yesterday for the magician show. My children thoroughly enjoyed the magician.”
As the artists worked, conversation among them became a part of the evening’s gathering and the library was a central point of the conversation. Julie Kopeka offered, “I just love the library and I don’t know what I would do without the library. This is my happy place … I could live in the library. We are blessed that we have such good libraries in both Tangipahoa and Livingston Parish.”
That seemed to be a consensus among the group with several pointing out that the modern library is not what most of the older painters knew in their youth when a visit to the library meant almost solemn silence.