Monday, November 15, 2010

Arts & Crafts: Color by Nature

When we were children, we would arrange autumn leaves and Crayola shavings between sheets of wax paper. Then we would iron the wax paper until the Crayola shavings melted and the sheets held together. When we were done, we would bring our waxy autumn leaf montages to school and hang them on the wall. It was a homework assignment.

Now I have a scanner, and I've begun to use it as a new, technological version of wax paper, leaves and Crayola shavings. Added benefit: Scans last longer.

This is only my second year of leaf-scanning, but I've already discovered that things can change a lot from year to year. I'm sure weather is at the bottom of it, but I want to know what the changes mean and why they happen.

These leaves are a good example. They have a yellow and brown palette this year. Two have faint markings in the center that remind me of DNA test stains.

These are leaves from the same tree in 2009. The colors are so much deeper, and each seems to have a small, imagined version of itself in the center. Benoit Mandelbrot would have seen this phenomenon as a kindred spirit, I think.

Now, my favorite leaf of 2010 (so far). As I hold it in my hand, it looks unreal, like an idea of an autumn leaf rendered in psychedelic pastels.

 Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is like a flower.
~ Albert Camus


  1. Lovely thoughts and images, thanks for sharing them!

  2. Thank you, Holly. I wish I'd thought of scanning leaves years ago.

  3. What a great idea. Very clever getting leaves from the same tree & noting the changes.

  4. It's something you can do with the girls when they're a little older. Arts! Crafts! Science!