As a botanical printmaker, my work is fundamentally composed of “plant prints”. A simple explanation for the botanical printmaking process is ink applied to plants and grasses, laid on a prepared surface and burnished. The plant material is removed and the remaining ink impressions are the composition image.
My botanical printmaking process is very tactile. Using simple brayers and brushes, ink is applied to grasses and leaves; the inked plants are hand pressed onto pigment infused surfaces such as Sumi paper, tissue, muslin, or organza. Through these low tech means, I create multifaceted landscape compositions of common plants. Most pieces have well over one hundred individual plant prints.
The media I work with varies from diaphanous fabrics such as organza, sheer cottons, gauze, or silk to cotton muslins or raw canvas. Papers are also used, ranging from toothy printing stock, to finer mulberry paper and delicate tissues.
Botanical Print landscapes include prairies, beach grass, forest scenes, shorelines, and mountains—all using ink prints. Trees are represented with prints of yarrow or fern tips; mountains are banana leaves printed, cut, and mounded upon one another; prairies, of course, are made using grasses. Many of my prairies include prints of grasses ranging from a few inches to five feet.
Prairies have a rich history; they beckon me to recreate them and share their stories in my printmaking. I admire the structure of prairie plants, which, when healthy, have root systems three times the length of the stalk height to draw flood waters into aquifers and to draw water to the plant, persevering through drought.
With dozens of native and cultivar species, and sizes ranging from a few inches to many feet tall, grass stalks, leaves, and seed tassels are remarkably varied and are conducive to printing. The artistic versatility of grass prints means images can be made to create scenes of grasses flowing in a meadow, represent other plants such as trees on a shoreline), or serve as appealing elements of abstract work.
Inviting conversations about prairie ecology, preservation & reclamation, and advocating for conservation has become intentional for me as an artist. My botanical prints have become the door that opens conversation of “art meets science — and science meets art.”
Linda Snouffer – Botanical Printmaker – as featured at the Dow Art Gallery
Linda Snouffer uses nature for both inspiration and source of materials in her botanical printmaking, creating intricately detailed landscapes of prairies, shorelines, forests, and mountain ranges utilizing the actual plants for the print structure.
Using surface design techniques, a background of colors representing sky, horizon, and foreground is prepared, ink is applied to grasses and leaves using simple brayers and brushes, the inked plant material is laid for printing and hand pressed. Snouffer works on a variety of surfaces, fabrics such as cotton muslin, silk, linen, and raw canvas, and papers such as tissue and cotton rag are favored to lay her prints. Multiple layers of ink-infused canvas, tissue paper, organza, and other fabrics create dimension and give viewers a desire to touch.
“Prairies have a rich history; they beckon me to recreate them and share their stories in my botanical printmaking. I admire the structure of prairie plants, which, when healthy, have root systems three times the length of the stalk height to draw flood waters into aquifers and to draw water to the plant, persevering through drought periods.” Her work begins with the foundation of sky – the sky brings it all to life and provides depth and dimension to my work. No two skies are alike and with the botanical print landscapes, Snouffer states “I am realizing my unique vision.”
Recognized with merited honors; a jurist observed that he had never seen work quite like Snouffer’s botanical prints, remarking that she had developed unique printmaking techniques unlike any he had seen in his 35+ year career. Her work has been exhibited and sold in galleries and art events across the Twin Cities. In addition, Snouffer was awarded commissions for the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Ramsey County Library, and several Metro Area art collectors.
In addition to creating art, she is in the business of art, serving in the program planning and administration for the St. Paul Art Crawl, on exhibit and grant application jury panels, and installing exhibits in several Twin Cities galleries. She completed a two-year mentor program with the Woman’s Art Resources of Minnesota and has trained individually with many Metro area professional artists.
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