Succulent Inspired Artist Books

Succulent Book Bernadette Meyers

Succulents seem to be very popular plants - from the giant varieties we see in botanic gardens, to the delicate, miniature versions found in gift shops.

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When I was staying with a friend last year, I was trying with very little success to photograph Molly, her beautiful cat. She would sit in the sweetest poses, but as soon as I picked up the camera, she would dart off into the garden and hide. While waiting patiently for her to reappear, I spotted a couple of lovely little succulents on the outdoor table. They didn’t run off, so I photographed them.

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Using the macro lens is a form of meditation for me. It gives me time to slow down and really dig deep into a subject. The colours of this particular plant are so delicate and subtle, but also varied.

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For a recent exhibition at Eramboo Artist Environment, I created a series of artist books examining the details of the colours in natural objects. I used a photograph as a starting point and then simply enjoyed the process of seeing the colours in each treasure from nature.

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With regard to “artist book”, the term “book” is used loosely. It doesn’t mean the pages are bound in a traditional form. Artist books can be made of any material and displayed in any format. 

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For the front page of this book I stitched the photograph at the top and then made a watercolour wash of all the different colours in the plant. Then each subsequent page went into more detail on each of those colours.

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I created small collages with papers of various textures which I stitched to the top of each page and filled the rest of the paper with water colour washes.

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The book was not bound, instead, the stack of leaves were tied together with gorgeous silk ribbons from my collection of hand dyed ribbons and threads.

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I find it such a joy to spend the time to really search out the details of natural objects and find all the beauty they hold.