Unwilling to see beautiful flowers simply wilt and die? Then press them into a painting and keep them forever.
Wu Pei-yi (吳佩宜), a civil servant at the Lugang Township (鹿港) Land Office, has long been a keen gardener: The small yard at her home holds more than 80 types of flowers.
Wu said she loves flowers and always delights at the results of her hard work when the flowers bloom. However, she also found it hard to let the flowers go, even when they start wilting, and that is what first led to her interest in flower pressing seven years ago.
Since that time Wu has used all kinds of flowers to create flower press pictures.
Her works have been so well received that Yuanlin Performance Hall has offered to hold a special exhibition of her paintings.
When she first started learning how to flower press, the main difficulty for most students was obtaining the materials, which limited them to small paintings, Wu said.
However, as an avid gardener she had more than enough flowers to keep her busy and that encouraged her to try and create larger paintings.
Press-painting is a long and arduous process, one that not only requires dexterous hands, but also a continuous stream of creativity and imagination, Wu said.
For example, the depiction of wood cabins with smoke coming out of the chimney are often thought to be painted, but they are actually made with pressed cotton flowers and dried leaves.
Press painting is not an art that can be rushed, with one piece taking as long as three to four months to complete, Wu said, adding that the 30 pieces of art being exhibited at the Yuanlin Performance Hall are all landscapes.
“I hope that the exhibition will teach people that flower pressing can make use of petals that have fallen to the ground and is therefore also a way of protecting flowers,” Wu said.
The exhibition, which opened yesterday, runs until May 20, from 9am to 5pm.
Wu will hold a workshop on how to produce flower-press keyrings at 2:30pm on May 5.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer