Eco-stained pages in progress are the most fascinating aspect of my creative journey. From the designing to boiling, peeling and drying, I am in awe at the fusion of science and art. I will be sharing about that fusion in the future, but today, I am just basking in the glory of the beauty.
There are few words to describe the intense roll of emotions that sweep through me while I am making my art. I feel fortunate to be able to create for my profession. The long hours and sometimes, overwhelming, responsibility of wearing most of the hats, take a toll on many aspects of my life, but I am grateful for the opportunity to make this my choice. The wonder of the creative process and the beautiful art I create in unity with nature enlivens my soul and refreshes my spirit. Most of all, I cherish the fact that my art inspires others to connect with nature and with themselves.
So please join me for a stroll through some recent eco-stained pages in progress for a glimpse into my world of art making. These pages were still wet when photographed and the plants were slimy! It is all just part of the process!
Eco-Stained Pages in Progress
Daisies, rose leaves, rose petals, and geraniums made the gorgeous stains on these pages. Surprise…pink daisies made the green stains!
The stains are extra vivid just after the flowers are peeled, so there is a shimmer to the design because of the wetness. They the pages dry with the matted hue we love to see!
Sometimes I peel the plant elements off the eco-stained pages without paying attention to what they are. If it is a magnificent combination stain, I dig back through my compost to see what combinations came together to make that particular design. Digging through is a bit of slimy research, but somebody has to do it!
Rose leaves and daisies are lovely together, but then so are ferns and daisies.
Ferns are amazing! They are one of the first plants I started using a good bit in my eco-stained pages. The type of soil they grow in and where they grow effects the stain results. Fern stains can be dark like the ones below, a light tan, or anywhere in between. Sometimes, when they are dark, they tend to influence darkness over the whole page. I love how the other colors appear in contrast to the darkness.
I lost track of where this particular set of pages ended up. They could be one of the Classic, Combo, or Oneside Journals in my shop.
Interested in a scavenger hunt? See if you can find which journal it is by going to my shop at www.rachelleeason.com.
Watch this unveiling of stained designs for pure joy!
Friday Flower Days are the best in my week of creating my eco-stained journals and stationery! Friday is usually the day I get most of my flowers and leaves. They are sustainably sourced locally and getting them makes me giddy with excitement! Of course, getting flowers is always a fabulous way to liven up your day! My cousin was a hairdresser for many years and she always made sure to have a vase of fresh flowers on her workstation counter. I remember her telling me that she would stop in on the way to work to get them and choose just the right ones for her in that moment. Those flowers would not only bring joy to her but also to everyone in the salon. Now mind you, this woman brings joy just by being her, but the flowers just made seeing her even extra special!
Just like in my cousin’s salon, think about places you go and how much more engaging it would be if they had fresh flowers. Fresh flowers around the office, at the dentist, the post office, and even the DMV would be more pleasant. I know that there are many people out there with allergies, but there are several types of fresh flowers that are highly unlikely to trigger those.
WebMD shares a list of better choices of flowers for allergy sufferers and many are types I get on my Friday Flower Days. You can find that list here https://www.webmd.com/allergies/best-worst-plants. My favorites on their list are begonia, iris, periwinkle, and Dusty Miller. They also state lily as being a better choice but those make me sneeze like crazy!
Laura Kenny recently published The Benefits of Adorning Your Home with Fresh Flowers and cited the Home Ecology of Flowers Study done at Harvard in September 2006. The Harvard findings put data behind what we feel. Flowers boost our energy and elevate our happiness. They feed our souls and help us be compassionate. Fresh flowers help balance our mood, chase away the blues, and calm anxieties.
Flowers are eye candy for the soul!
Friday Flower Days spark my creativity and inspire my reflections. Creating my eco-stained papers is quite a process. Between prepping the paper and plant elements, designing each page while keeping in mind to place the elements where they will coexist beautifully, boiling, and peeling off the botanicals for drying, at least 10 hours have been consumed. The fact that fresh flowers and leaves are my art materials is what holds my attention span.
The flowers I use for my eco-stained art are ones that have already served their beauty elsewhere. By the time I get them, they are near the end of their life span; brown tipped and wilted, less desirable than when they are at their prime. Isn’t that a metaphor for what our culture often reflects? However, I love them in this phase! Wilted flowers offer themselves up for sharing. They are ready to give away their color and their secrets as I pick them apart to make designs. Their character and persona are even more alive for now they have stories to share. I get lost in their storytelling as I proceed to tell mine through eco-stained art.
Friday Flower Days not only refresh my spirit after a tough week, but they are an opportunity for me to prolong the beauty of the flowers I get. Many people have commented that my eco-stained papers are like fossils of flowers. I do believe that I have the good fortune of preserving the essence of flowers and leaves. Eco-staining gives these flowers one last hurrah to share their beauty before they head to compost. So essentially, Friday Flower Days are Friday Flower Parties and I adore being the host.
Journal writing is also enriched by a vase of fresh flowers. Sitting down in my comfy writing spot with a bouquet of flowers close by gives me a focus point for reflecting. That picturesque still-life of fresh roses in a vase or hydrangeas in a pottery bowl invites my mind to wonder and reflect. I observe the details of the flowers, the texture of the leaves, and often rub a petal through my thumb and forefingers as I muse over my thoughts. Even when those reflections are sad or worrisome, the flowers are soothing. I find that I write more from my heart when I focus on them rather than venting on the page. Don’t get me wrong, venting is fine if that is what you need. Over the years, however, I have found that I get clarity from writing. Reflecting versus venting helps me get to that clarity.
Pages of my eco-stained journals are the foundation for my reflections. They are hugs from the papers that encourage me to write and embrace my thoughts with grace. My handwriting becomes enchanting on the page, my words become alluring, my pictures breathtaking.
Flowers any day of the week are special!
Friday Flower Days are not the only day this magic happens. Sometimes I get my flower haul other days of the week and sometimes a nature hike or even running errands take me to unexpected beauty. Regardless of when fresh flowers enter my life each week, I count on them coming and it never gets old. It is now something that I know I need more than just depending on them for my business. I am always grateful for having them around me.
A dear friend of mine told me just yesterday that for most of her marriage, she has had fresh flowers in her kitchen every day. Her husband gets them and arranges them quite spectacularly. It is an additional happiness in a home that always brings me joy to visit. Try it, today! Get yourself some flowers! If it is not something you usually do, pay close attention to how it effects you. Put them in a vase or in a bowl of water and enjoy them. Spend moments observing their details and feeling their energy. Engage in the color they share and the light they reflect. I bet you will catch yourself glimpsing over at them just to take in the vision. Spread the joy and give someone else some too!
If you do not have flowers to (legally!) pick around you, go to your local flower shop and just buy a few. They do not have to be expensive, in fact, there may be a loose stem or small bouquet you can buy for just a few dollars. The main thing is to do it. Embrace it. Grow from it. Then journal your reflections.
Plus, you’ll get a head start on one of my upcoming journal writing classes where we use fresh flowers as the lesson theme.
Next Friday, I’ll show you easy ways to further enjoy your flowers and how to get the most out of their beauty in yet another form. Make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter! The next one goes out Monday and in there are 11 Reasons Why You Should Get Yourself Flowers plus a downloadable drawing of flower I drew just for my subscribers!
Oh and Happy Friday!
Check out this video of some flower arranging I did in my pottery vases!
Sources: Best and Worst Flowers for People with Allergies, WebMD, April, 2017 https://www.webmd.com/allergies/best-worst-plants The Benefits of Adorning Your Home with Fresh Flowers, Laura Kenny, February, 2018 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/benefits-adorning-your-home-fresh-flowers-laura-kenny/