Happy accidents

In July, I committed to buying a big sheet of copper (10' x 3') and doing some large-scale testing. I had never handled a sheet of copper that large. I learned how to use a sheet metal brake to score and cut large sheets into manageable sizes at the local roofing supplier. Not sure of how I would ultimately use these pieces, I kept one piece at 6' x 3'. I had in mind to do an overall random pattern with a good variety of leaves, that I would then cut down and use as warp and weft for a large scale woven panel in a room divider I designed.

My friend Molly was coming to town from Beaverdam VA, and offered to bring some leaves from her farm. It was a hot day, and I opened the loading dock bay outside my studio to set up the sheet for my first large-scale test, and to enjoy a light breeze and sunshine. I laid out a large tarp, and unfurled the copper. The leaves--an assortment of red oak, mimosa, cedar, sugar maple, birch--were starting to wilt and curl in the heat, so I needed to work fast to get the leaves onto the sheet and covered. Once arranged, I covered the leaves with plastic sheeting and folded the tarp over the top of the copper.

An unexpected delivery to the loading dock meant moving my operation from the nice flat concrete into the back of my truck, where the sheet was curled in a convex curve between the wheel wells. I decided to let time work in my favor, and left the sheet covered for two weeks.

When I removed the plastic and pulled away the leaves, I was amazed with the depth of color rendered onto the sheet. Below is a detail from the leaf etching.

Mimosa (top left) and Oak (right) detail. ©2014 Cathy G. Vaughn, all rights reserved

Mimosa (top left) and Oak (right) detail. ©2014 Cathy G. Vaughn, all rights reserved