The Process

People often look at my pieces and cannot figure out what they are. When I answer, "real plants!" the next wonder is, how do you do that? Well, here is the how of it all. 

I preserve real plants and botanicals in epoxy resin. I then turn them into mystical talismans of many sorts. My process begins with harvest. The plants come from personal gardens (both mine and friends’), already snapped stems or abundantly fruiting mushrooms from hikes and walks. I am always mindful of principles of the honorable harvest while foraging for treasures. 

Next, these plants must be preserved. For flowers, I place them in silica gel/desiccant. This process takes anywhere from 2-5 weeks depending on external moisture and how activated the desiccant is. For mushrooms, they are dried in an industrial dehydrator or on my car dashboard (incredibly technical and fancy, I know). 

Once the plants are fully dry, they can begin the resin process. I do a dip and hang method to preserve the integrity of their shape. The resin has about a 24 hour cure time for each layer. Each plant will get 5-10 layers of resin before it is strong enough to be worked with. From there, they will become any number of fun things.

One of the potential futures is a forever wreath. I will frame out the plants on metal hoops, many of which I solder together myself. The plants will be lightly adhered together to maintain whatever cluster they are becoming. I then wrap the metal hoop in waxed cotton cord. The plants will get one final resin as a singular unit to fully fuse them together. Once that is cured, I attach the plants to the hoop via adhesive. I sometimes incorporate beads or chain on these as well. 

My favorite thing to make is headpieces. These start with weaving cordage to form the base frame. I weave many pieces of cordage together with a strong and soft elastic and ribbons. When the base is formed I go through a similar framing process along the crown. The plants will also get one final layer of resin as a cohesive unit. Once that is cured, I again use adhesive to attach the crown to the cordage crown. These headpieces are fully adjustable for all head sizes and are soft enough to wear all day. 

Sometimes I utilize electroplating for the jewelry. This is a process where I copper-plate parts of the plants in order to fuse them with stones and wire to create more structured and elaborate pendants. I use a combination of UV resin, apoxy clay, and superglue to fuse the stones and wire to the plants. Then I paint what I want to become copper with a base coat. Next, I paint the copper conductive paint over that base coat. Lastly, I paint liquid latex over what is not going to be copper-platted. Once all of those layers are dry, I can place them in the electroplating bath. This takes anywhere from 4-6 hours. The final step is patina, polishing, and adding a final coat to protect the copper. 

Other things are more simple. I make simple jewelry by drilling holes, gluing eyelets, and adding the proper hardware. Sometimes I adhere clips to certain plants and make hair clips. I’ve made pins on request in the past. Anything aesthetically pleasing that can be done with plants, I am interested. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about my process and see my art.