Autumn Leaves - as lanterns

These fragile lanterns I made the other day turned out quite pretty, so I'll share them here, and maybe inspire you to make some for your own Autumnal party, Halloween get-together or such. 

They are not long lived, but quickly and easily made. 

It started with a walk in our next door little park, which is in itself interesting as leaves go, because it is a university botanical garden, so rare, unusual and colorful leaves are abundant! But any leaves will do, and most leaves are beautiful, somehow. 

Rather blurry photos, I know, but they were taken in near darkness. 

But they were so pretty, and the shadows and silhouettes were most poetic.You need to decide to make them for a party, or something like that, because they will loose color and stability rather fast! So enjoy them while they last...

I made the lanterns the day after I gathered the leaves, while they still had some life in them (= not too dry), so I used actual tea lights in small glass jars, but already next day they were so dry and withered, that I didn't want to light the candles again. But I have some LED tea lights from IKEA that are actually quite nice, and they went in instead. They still look nice, all dried up!

Here is what I did:

I gathered a lot of different sizes and shapes of leaves that were still fresh with some color and sap - and flattened them a bit between the pages of a newspaper with a stack of books on top. 

Next day I made the lanterns like this: organized the leaves a bit according to size, and lined them up nicely, overlapping a bit like this: 

I dotted a bit of hot glue, not too tidily, between the leaves (lifting them one by one) and pressed the row flat with my hand, and let it dry for a short while....

Then I cut a neat, sharp line with my steel ruler and knife, and to close the loop in the back, I simply used my office stapler. 

PLEASE be careful with the real tea lights - these things can become a bit of a fire hazard, but not so if the leaves are freshly gathered, and have just fallen off the trees. Otherwise use battery powered mini LED lights!


While you enjoy the flickering light and the dancing shadows on the wall, I suggest you listen to this lovely, lovely song, performed by the unforgettable Eva Cassidy.



Welcome back in color

Without further ado, I'll just say welcome back to my visitors, after a long summer break! Autumn is a time of color and at the moment I have a slight obsession with so called gradients.

Gradients are a particular color effect known to all Adobe users, it is a way of making colors slide and melt seamlessly into each other, and create interesting, sometimes very 3D, effects. And sometimes they just look horrible, I must admit. When I started working with graphic design, particularly Adobe Illustrator, color gradients were considered in the worst possible taste, and could only be justified if you had to make natural looking glass or metal surfaces on, say, a technical/architectural illustration. Otherwise they were just no go

But I can't have been the only one who have loved to play with the little color swatch slider tools, forever getting lost in more and more weird looking blends and fadings.

I find it great, that they are no more on the graphic design black list!

They can be quite complicated to work with, and not only because you have to be really good at isolating certain areas in an illustration from others, to make them technically work, but also because they tend to get quite overwhelming.

I've come across Sara Andreasson on Instagram, she's a funky Swedish graphic artist, who did the popsicles above, and also does these fat, lovely slobs of pastel color that kind of pops out from the screen!

They kind of remind me of Roy Lichtenstein's brush stroke paintings, even though these paintings are the very opposite thing: three dimensionality made with flat color, quite amazing, in fact. I've always loved those!

But I've saved the most elegant use of gradients I've seen for a long time, for last.

Danish graphic designer Torsten Lindsø Andersen, have made this series of proposed designs for Jack Kerouac's novels, and they have deservedly been spotted by many book design enthusiasts. They look like nothing else I've seen, and they are quite stunning. And they add a metaphysical and yet really appealing vibe to litterature, that's probably not easy to make covers for, without rolling around in clichés. 

I really like them, and they made me want to read the books again!

This is a student project of his, from 2012, but looks super fresh, and if I was Penguin Books, I'd certainly give him a call. 

I did actually read both On The Road and Dharma Bums (not Lonesome Traveller, though) when I was around twenty, but I didn't like them much, I remember struggling to actually finish them. I don't exactly remember why. Maybe it would be an entirely different experience now, some thirty years later?

Don't say we don't judge books by their covers.