Silke Spingies does magical things with leaves. She creates intricate, otherworldly sculptures by pressing leaves for up to three weeks and then sewing each individual leaf to a layer of fabric, creating textures that resemble feathers or wood. Throughout the delicate process she sprays the leaves with water to keep them alive. She created a digital tabloid called Leaves to accompany an exhibition of her sculptures in 2012. It is now available to buy for £5 in The Newsagent.
Each piece has been shot by photographer Sam Scott-Hunter – an important part of the process to provide documentation of how the sculptures looked when first created, as they will deteriorate over time. As she writes: ‘The colour and texture of each piece will change over time, reflecting the changes that take place naturally in the wild.’ We asked Silke to tell us more about her sculptures and her newspaper:
I’m a freelance graphic designer and artist living in London. I’m glad to have found Newspaper Club. It was recommended to me by a colleague and it’s just right for me and the people I’ve designed a paper for. I love the large format, which gives me the opportunity to show my work in a larger scale. The paper is a great item to give to people and it also works really well as promotional material. It’s not too precious but fun.
I’ve made the first edition of Leaves almost two years ago and have improved it ever since. I’ve done a single test copy first, just to see how the colours and contrasts of my images would come out in print. I really recommend this as there is quite a difference between the preview on screen and the actual result in newsprint and it’s also a last chance to spot mistakes. I’ve saturated the colours and increased the contrast in my images for further editions. Newspaper Club has a fast turnaround and the people there have always been really helpful and friendly.
My first leaf artworks were done for a group exhibition in Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery in London in Autumn 2012. Months before the show I’d spend weeks and weeks collecting and pressing hundreds of leaves from trees in my neighbourhood. In the end I had a large collection of pressed lime, cherry, ginkgo, buddleja, and beech leaves filling up most of my studio. Surprisingly the colours of the fresh leaves were mostly preserved in the drying process.
I then went on to lay out the beautiful dried Ginkgo leaves in a square just to establish the amount of leaves that I could use for my sculptures. The result looked so pleasing that I decided to capture that moment in a photo which led to a series of prints of laid out leafs – also featured in my paper. After the leaves are prepared, they are sewn one by one by hand onto a layer of fabric that is attached to a sphere. It’s a calm, relaxing process that requires a lot of patience and time.
In the centrefold of the paper is a picture of my exhibition space at Smokehouse Gallery. It shows the installation with all sculptures and two leaf prints in the background.