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.
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.)
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…
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.)
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.
Begin by tearing your sheet into bite size pieces, place one flat on the board.
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.
When you’ve got your bits just where you want them, carefully fold over the remaining fabric and press down – hard.
The dyes should appear, more or less vaguely depending on your vegetal choice…
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.
Hang it out to dry, then dust off any remaining bits of plant.
And there you have it. A flower pound.
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.
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 🙂
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 !!