I have always had a fascination and passion for all things floral, so when I met Joyce Fenton at an RHS show at Vincent Square, London, in the early 1980s, exhibiting her pressed flower pictures, I was hooked.
I went to one of her seminars, held in her little cottage in Charlwood, in Surrey. It was a day to remember. I don’t remember how many ‘students’ attended but her tiny dining room was full, the table littered with the paraphernalia required for this craft. I came away with my first two pictures, which still hang in my house.
As a retired teacher, Joyce took up the craft of pressing wild and cultivated flowers, leaves and grasses, after one of her sons gave her with a collage of Australian seeds. To have exhibited at the RHS then was I believe a first for her craft.
In 1983 Joyce established the Pressed Flower Guild along with a gentleman called Bill Edwardes, who had devised a method of framing the finished picture, to give the specimens some depth. It is a method when making framed pictures that I still use today.
Joyce’s method was to glue the flowers, leaves or grasses onto a piece of material. I used a polyester lining material most of the time as this was much less expensive than silk. But I have read that lots of different materials could be used, cotton, silk, taffeta, to name but a few. Behind this Joyce used a piece of softish foam, so that when the backing was fixed, the flowers indented into the material. This method adds an entirely different dimension to the overall effect.
In the late 1980s, the craft was still very popular, I took commissions and sold my pictures at local craft fairs. But now it seems to have lost its appeal. Recently I took several of my cards to local shops in the arty town in which I live, to be told that they were old-fashioned and outdated, though pretty.