How did you get started with pressed flower art
I actually got here in a rather circuitous fashion. I started as a cut flower farmer (and before that I was a corporate attorney - a whole different story.) I had all of these beautiful flowers, and eventually I started pressing some of them. And then I started playing with the pressed flowers, and started making some beeswax lanterns with the pressed flowers on them.
Eventually I had a few lanterns that didn't work quite right, so I cut them up and spent some time staring at the panels of beeswax and flowers. It was one of those times when you know there's something interesting that wants to be made, but it's hard to figure out what. Finally I started playing with making jewelry, and had my eureka! moment.
Now I make two different types of jewelry - the first uses a thin sheet of the beeswax and flowers (which I love because the beeswax provides a stable platform to cut the flowers, so I can frame out small pieces if I want). Then the beeswax and flowers are mounted to a glass tile and the whole piece is sealed in resin. I use this process to make pendants, earrings and rings. The second type of jewelry (mainly bangles, rings and pendants) is pressed flowers encased in resin.
What challenges have you encountered
I've definitely learned a lot through trial and error. Certain varieties of flowers hold their colors really well and others don't. Certain varieties are easy to press, and others - not so much. But for everything that hasn't gone the way I wanted, lots of those times turned into what I call happy accidents - where I didn't necessarily get what I was expecting, but I still ended up with something interesting or educational. It's all a learning process, and fortunately I enjoy the discoveries.
What advice do you have for newcomers to pressed flower jewelry
Don't be afraid to jump in! But also, find a mentor or some good books - that can save a lot of frustration. Overall, though, I think there's a lot to be said for just having fun and experimenting.
What are your plans for the future?
I'm going to keep playing and see where it leads me. I've got some new molds for the resin jewelry that I'm anxious to try. I went on a tear earlier this summer and made molds out of any shape that looked interesting to me. When I get a little time in my schedule I'm going to sit down and play with those new shapes and see what I end up with.
I'm also hoping to expand my online presence with etsy. Since I started as a farmer, I was very used to going to outdoor markets and have continued that trend as I transitioned to art. But as my son gets older and the baseball games get more frequent on Saturday mornings, I'm putting a lot more emphasis on finding an online customer base as well.
Thanks for the interview, and good luck to all of the other flower artists out there!