Pressing memories... from our humble adventure in Hamburg September 11 2014
As I prepared for our recent trip to Germany, I wanted to explore a new way of capturing our day-to-day discovery because travel always brings intense learnings to us. (when we were traveling Yakushima in spring, I loved capturing our adventure using visual bullet journal!) Coming from dry desert of Los Angeles, northern Germany would be filled with fresh greens and blooms in season and I thought... why not press flowers everyday and send those pressed flowers as postcards from Germany to our family and friends?
So the project started from the day we landed on Hamburg, Germany. I didn't really know how the end result was going to turn out because I didn't have much experience in pressing flowers prior to this trip but I was armed with postcard size watercolor paper, self-inking date stamp, mt masking tape, Brass alphabet bookmark and Kraft Envelope with Window, a travel size water color kit and much excitement. There is something liberating about letting the process of exploration unveil its outcome. It's almost like being a kid again... not expecting certain result... and just playing with materials.
I picked flowers, leafs, petals everyday at random places... as we were out and about exploring the city of Hamburg (or simply walking the neighborhood street). When we got home after the day of adventure, I sat with the flowers and my analogue kit... to capture the way the day felt. I loved composing the organic shape and color of flowers, red date stamp and a short hand written caption about the day against crisp white paper. Once the postcard felt "right", I taped some of the loose parts on the water color paper using tiny bits and pieces of mt masking tape and placed between two white sheets then between newspapers. My parents-in-law had a beautiful vintage press in their living room which was PERFECT for pressing flowers. (You can also use a heavy weight book to press flowers). After trying out few times, I noticed that some flowers squeezed a lot more juice than others making the papers stick to each other. When it happened, extra newspapers on top helped absorb the moisture from the flowers while it was pressed.
What I enjoyed the most was the delayed process. It took few days for the flowers to be pressed. The anticipation of waiting how it was turning out was priceless. I gave a good 3-4 days for the flowers to be pressed (and I am pretty sure I could have kept them little longer). Some flowers pressed exactly I imagined and other flowers changed a lot... which really transformed the way the postcard ended up looking. I appreciated how the nature took its way to "be" the way the postcards were meant to be. No postcard looked commercially beautiful but they captured the story of our humble adventure from the day. You can see the before/after of how each flowers pressed if you scroll down all the way to the bottom of this story.
When time came, I wrote a little note on the back of the postcard and used Kraft Envelope with Window to mail it to our special someone. The Kraft Envelope gave a nice frame to the pressed flowers making it feel more complete and presentable.
I also passionately collected the residue of pressed flowers... an inked mark that was left over from the vivid flower color. An intense sweet scent that was transferred onto the layers of papers from a small lavender. To me... these residues were just as beautiful as the pieces I sent in the mail. I kept them in a special place in my notebook... because they are the true representation of our travel as a family.
Never perfect... but perfectly wonderful.