Go on, whack that flower…..

Feeling a mite overwhelmed by the sheer volume of visitors this month, ( it is August after all.) I haven’t had a great deal of time or space for deep or even shallow thought – Have managed to have some fun though. Saturday being a case in point – Hal and I slipped out to take up residence in the spinners tent at the annual festival of olden times in a neighbouring village. St Frimbault has four flowers on it’s signboard thanks to donkeys years of winning grand prizes for public floral excellence , and every August bank holiday ‘Les Fleuries D’Antan’ takes place. By local standards it’s a huge do – a celebration of rural history and crafts – run by a small army of local volunteers.

IMG_0615

I got roped in a few years back by The English Lady Spinners Group (my name not theirs!) who needed a translator/babysitter. (It was my job to initiate the kids in some of the more basic textile techniques – peg looms, finger knitting etc. whilst chatting to their parents about what the big girls were up to.)

IMG_4584

I think it was last year that someone had the bright idea of including flower pounding into the kids mix. ‘Twas an immediate hit, (if you’ll forgive a pun that you’ll get later!) So epitomising all that the festival represents it seemed crazy not to tool up and go for the all out migraine this year. Thank heavens there were two of us is all I can say – busy, busy busy – supposedly for the kids, but it felt like everybody and their missus wanted to have a go – and so incredibly simple is it that I thought a little tutorial might be a good idea…

IMG_4588

What you’ll be needing : A plank of wood ( a good strong chopping board will serve.) An old cotton sheet and a mallet (rubber end is better if you have one.)

IMG_0616

So we begin with a wander, you don’t need a garden,but if you haven’t got one you’ll need to thieve your leaves and flowers. Early morning is, I’m afraid , the best time ( juicier specimens,) but not indispensible.

20150818_124111

Begin by tearing your sheet into bite size pieces, place one flat on the board.

20150818_161952

The only rule to remember is that you’re aiming to make a flower sandwich, therefore you should use only half of your piece of fabric. Apart from that you can place whatever leaves, whole flowers or petals wherever you think looks good.

IMG_0591

When you’ve got your bits just where you want them, carefully fold over the remaining fabric and press down – hard.

IMG_0593

Now comes the whacking. Grab your mallet and pound. Taking care to keep the fabric good and straight, to follow the lines of the sandwich filling and not to flatten your fingers.
20150818_165210_2

The dyes should appear, more or less vaguely depending on your vegetal choice…

IMG_0590

When you’ve had enough hammering, gently peel back the sheet, take off the biggest pieces and then give the whole thing a darned good shake.

IMG_0589

To add or not to add ? Well only you can decide…But it is easy enough to continue layering by repeating the process.
IMG_0595

Hang it out to dry, then dust off any remaining bits of plant.

IMG_0618

And there you have it. A flower pound.

IMG_0604 IMG_0605

There are so many possibilities, it’s astonishing how many different plants give good effect. Some need harder hammering than others, some give so much of themselves it’s wise to be frugal. You can spend hours or minutes choosing and making which makes it potential fun for absolutely every age. As we saw this weekend.

IMG_0572 IMG_0566 IMG_0567IMG_0573

The results are ephemeral ( you can’t wash it.) but I did dig out some pieces from last year and the colours and forms are still as vibrant as they were on the day of making.( And let’s face it, pretty much anything manufactured you buy these days seems damned ephemeral, but that’s a whole other can of worms…) That said, if anyone knows of a technique to fix the colour – other than a quick iron – then I’d be extremely happy to hear from you 🙂

pounding

Right, I’m off to recuperate, got a few days to get the garden shipshape before I bugger off on another little UK jaunt, so have a happy week and remember to mind your fingers !!

mandy x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s