DONNA WILK Botanic Materials Artist


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Storage of Materials


Anyone who has collected plant parts for any length of time will quickly realize that an effective method of cataloguing is necessary so that materials can be readily filed and found when needed. I've gone through a number of storing systems and finally ended up with one that suits me well.

I use three drawer plastic storage boxes which can be stacked to create a virtual filing cabinet. The individual drawers can be taken out and replaced easily.

The materials are filed alphabetically by name, type, and colour. This system makes filing, retrieval, and replacement of materials relatively easy.

Prevention of Insect Damage

There are many kinds of presses: home-made or purchased air dry presses, microwave presses, and the traditional method of pressing in books. I use them all, as certain plants will press best in one press type and others in a different type. Good examples are pansies, violas, and Martha Washington geraniums. The best results are obtained when they are pressed in a microwave press.

Some flowers will discolour with higher pressure, so extra padding is needed when pressing them. White anemones and miniature white roses fall in this category. I press these in my home-made air dry press. Extra padding is also required for pressing flowers with thick centres such as Rudbekia (Black-Eyed Susan) or sunflowers.

Most foliage (with few exceptions) can be successfully pressed in books as long as enough pressure is applied to keep them from wrinkling. It is important to ensure that every leaf or part of a leaf is completely dry before removing for storage or use. Removing any leaves before they are completely dry will result in curling or wrinkling.

Only Giclées are available on this website. Originals may be purchased in our Gallery or at the Shows.

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It is not uncommon that live insects get into the pressed materials and proceed to destroy them. I prevent this by ensuring that the fresh material does not contaminate previously cleaned and processed material. The key is to process your fresh material in a different area. Soiled leaves picked off the ground can be washed in cold water before pressing.

Presses and Pressing Techniques

Pressing Hints