I was able to finish everything on today’s must-do list fairly quickly and made time to add the leaf decoration to a number of bowls.
Now that I have made a few already, I am getting used to the whole process, and although it still takes quite a bit of time per bowl, I have a good grasp of what to expect. The first and very important step is to find the perfect leaves. Even on the same tree, no two leaves are the same. The lobes are bigger on some, farther apart on other and sometimes missing altogether. Plus, it’s necessary to get the right sized leaf. Too big, and it will ruin the balance. Too small, and there will be too much open space.
After collecting a handful of leaves, it was time to start decorating the bowls that I sanded yesterday. As colors, I use yellow, red and green and then mix and match to create other colors, gradations and highlights.
The process itself is fairly straightforward. Using a small wad of fabric, lacquer is applied directly to the leaf, and then, the leaf is pressed onto the surface of the bowl to transfer the lacquer. The high spots of the leaf tend to transfer the lacquer better than the low spots, so it is possible to get a very realistic image of the original leaf, complete with all the imperfections that may be present in the original leaf. To me, these slight imperfections are what give life to the finished decoration.
Today was the first time for me to try using gingko leaves. One good point was that they are so much easy to imprint onto the bowl than maple leaves, and the striations on the leaf transfer well. However, it is hard to tell right now what it is at a glance, so making a good looking stem will be essential. I prefer to hand paint the stems rather than try to imprint the actual stem. My plan was to finish everything today, but I ran out of time so will have to paint the stems on all of the leaves tomorrow.