Artists seek inspiration wherever they go and the world is their medium.The German-born artist based out of Cornwall gathers fallen leaves,
Artists seek inspiration from everything around them and for them, the world is their medium. Susanna Bauer is a perfect example of that, as she has perfected the art of delicate leaf and crochet sculptures that she's been making for the past 10 years as “a tribute to nature”. The German-born artist is now based out of Cornwall gathers fallen leaves, which is her medium, when she's traveling from her favorite trees, according to The Guardian. I am in awe of the intricate details, the colors, textures, and compositions that I find every time I’m outside,” she says.
"As you can imagine, working with fragile leaves requires a lot of patience and a steady hand, but the focus of my work for me lies on the effect it has on the viewer, on the ideas that flow into the compositions and the thoughts the pieces can evoke. To create a piece that not only is intriguing as to how it is made but also touches the viewer on a deeper level," Susanna said.
"The work starts when I’m out collecting, choosing, sorting leaves and arranging compositions and ends with mounting and framing, the actual making process is only a part of the whole creating process. Also, the time to make samples and to try out new ideas becomes part of the creation of a piece of work. I always have several pieces in various stages of completion at my studio and it entirely depends on the complexity and the size of the work how long a piece will take to complete."
"I create my leaf pieces with very fine hooks, needles, and thin cotton threads and by working on a very detailed and small level I am pushing crochet to its very limits," she said. Crocheting is a traditional craft, which can be used for both functional and traditional means. You could make clothes out of it, or wall hangings. But, Susanna is pushing the limits of crocheting in itself, like she said, with her art.
"Combining this method with such a fragile material as leaves highlights the delicate nature of the subject matter that I’m interested in - the tenderness and tension in human connections, the transient yet enduring beauty of nature that can be found in the smallest detail, vulnerability and resilience that could be transferred to nature as a whole or the stories of individual beings. The technical part of my work and the use of natural leaves highlights this balance of fragility and strength. Working with tension is an integral part of crochet work, but it can also be seen metaphorically, as managing tension plays a big part in our lives and our surroundings."
She says that each leaf has a different pattern and is so unique, so much that it's like a mirror of ourselves and the world around us, which evokes thoughts about time, individuality and transience on many different levels and opening eyes to the ephemeral yet enduring beauty of nature. Susanna's works are as fragile as an Autumn leaf you find on the ground. "I don’t coat or treat my leaves with anything to make them more rigid. To protect them all works are framed behind glass."
"Leaves decay through the exposure to the weather, insects, microorganisms and the sunlight's UV rays and every effort is made to protect my works from these influences. All my leaves are washed and thoroughly dried for several weeks after collection. Sometimes a leaf stays at the studio for years before I select it for a piece of work. Drying is the standard conservation technique used by botanists all over the world; Kew gardens in London, for example, holds a dried and pressed specimen that is over 200 years old."
"All leaf works are mounted behind conservation grade glass, which filters out over 99% of UV rays, but as with most artworks, it is recommended to keep them away from prolonged direct sunlight or high humidity environments," the artist added. It surely doesn't look easy, but who knew there was so much work that went into making these crochet leaves? This is just another example to show that all the best things in life take time!