Kids learned about the beauty and science behind flowers at a nature printing workshop recently offered by 4-H Youth Development at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County.
Nine youth and their families virtually gathered with educators Jessica Reid and Lori Koenick to celebrate the colors in their landscape through printing. Flower petals, leaves and stems were captured onto paper through a technique called flower pounding.
Participants received a printing kit in the mail before the workshop. These kits contained watercolor postcards and bookmarks to be used for the final creations.
The workshop started with discussion on the parts of a flower and different types of pigments one may see in them. Participants learned that flowers contain male and female elements that are necessary for the flower to produce seed. Youth predicted which part of the flower would contain the most pigment, and explored the colors of common plant pigments, chlorophyll, anthocyanin, carotenoids and betalains.
Participants gathered their materials and it was time to experience flower pounding. Reid demonstrated the technique in the workshop. She described the set-up as a lasagna, placing towels down first, followed by layering a cutting board, paper, flower part and paper towel to top it off. Next, she modeled gently tapping the paper towel with a hammer to capture the flower pigments onto the paper.
Youth tapped the flowers using mallets and hammers to make their own creations. Participants then displayed their creations on camera for the rest of the group to see. One participant made a bookmark for a Father’s Day present, another made a postcard for her neighbor.
The workshop ended with a discussion on the various uses of flower pounding and how to harvest flowers sustainably. Educators encouraged participants to label their prints with the name of the flower to get better with flower identification and make prints for others to enjoy.