What kind of flowers do you work with?
My favorite flower to work with, and the one you'll see scattered in the majority of my designs, is Queen Anne's Lace. You may have seen it growing along the roadside or even in your backyard during the springtime. It's a tall weed with fluffy umbels of tiny white flowers that I've found work perfectly for dyeing and pressing. There's also a variety of it that grows naturally in different shades of pink/brown that I always grab when I'm able to find it (sometimes referred to as "chocolate" Queen Anne's lace) Another flower I enjoy working with is Orlaya White Lace, which also grows bright white and is very interesting to dye. This is the flower I sometimes refer to as "fairy wings" in my work. On occasion I will snip up other bits of dried flowers that I find such as Goldenrod or Limonium and add them to my flower confetti mixes. I also enjoy working with dried ferns and other greenery.
How do you dye and dry your flowers?
My favorite way to do this is to stem dye the flowers with food coloring and water. I let the flowers soak up as little or as much dye until they become the color I'm looking for. This part is always pretty amusing as the flowers don't always yield the same color, so it's exciting to see what shade I can create next. Once I'm happy with the color, I begin the lengthy process of snipping each little cluster off the stem, lining them up on a microwaveable flower press, and heating them for 20 second intervals. I do this until they are absolutely dried out, and then continue on with the next bunch of flowers. A lot of you ask me how I get the colors to be so vibrant, and the answer is my microwave. Microwaving the flowers, as opposed to pressing them in books, allows the color to stay bright and not turn too dark or brown (though I find that beautiful as well) I get to use them in my work right away, which is a major help considering the amount of tiny flowers I go through in a week.
How did you come up with this idea?
For as long as I've been making jewelry, I've been primarily focused on the tiny details that make a piece appealing. I've always enjoyed mixing up colors, geometric forms, and keeping things on the simpler side. I've worked with resin as my main medium since the beginning; mixing it with different pigments, mica flakes, glass glitters, metal shavings, confetti, anything small and interesting. The inspiration for my "Scatter" work came the day I found a bag of faux soil used for miniatures that I immediately wanted to try in resin. The soil on it's own felt absent of something, and that's when I had the idea of adding some tiny bits of nature growing out of it. This search lead me to finding Queen Anne's Lace, a small enough flower that still had plenty of detail. I remembered that old science project of adding food coloring to a flower's water and began experimenting with it. Once dyed and dried, I decided to make the flowers even daintier by snipping each individual floret off it's cluster. I then mixed up the colors to create something new and original. I was really intrigued by the way they no longer resembled Queen Anne's Lace, but sort of became their own flower entirely. I still use the faux soil in my "Sprout" pieces from time to time, but now focus on giving the resin a clearer glasslike appearance.
...adding more in a bit!
"Chocolate" Queen Anne's Lace, Orlaya White Lace, and Goldenrod flowers before I press them.
Here's a peek at my studio set up!