Portraits of British Trees by Buckmaster-French

Portraits of British Trees

Janet French and Emma Buckmaster make etchings of British Trees and print them onto paper made from that tree's own leaves. They have made a willow print especially for Flatford. There will be a printmaking demonstration on the 29 May..

Emma Buckmaster and Janet French are both printmakers with a shared passion for trees. Together they have created a unique series of etchings printed onto paper made from the trees own leaves.

Each Tree Portrait is a separate project starting with a search for the ‘ideal’ specimen. Once the tree has been chosen, the leaves must be collected and after a prolonged process of soaking and boiling, delicate sheets of paper are created using only the natural constituents of the leaves to bind them together. The leaves of each tree behave differently and the process is one of continuous experimentation. The etching is made on a steel plate because of the pressure necessary to print onto leaf paper. Whilst the paper is still damp the etched image is printed onto the leaves from the steel plate using a traditional etching press.  Finally, the prints are mounted between glass so that the texture or translucency of the paper forms part of the image.

The project started with a small image of an oak tree and has progressed to include beech, lime, silver birch, white poplar, hawthorn, ash, alder, and holly. The pair have made a special portrait of a willow for their Flatford exhibition.

Janet French and Emma Buckmaster featured in a BBC documentary about the Royal Academy Summer exhibition last year where two of their prints sold in very high quantities. ‘Their delicate beautiful prints are very special and we are delighted to have them here at Flatford’ says Sarah Milne, exhibition organizer. Any enquiries please contact sarah.milne@nationaltrust.org.uk .