When most people crochet and sew, they create soft, fuzzy, wearable things like hats, scarves, and blankets.
And we’re all about that!
But sometimes, people like to push the traditional, popular craft in a slightly different direction, and the result is some striking and totally unexpected artwork.
Some people like to experiment with designs, colors, and forms, like this artist who makes hilarious food-shaped hats, while others, like artist Susanna Bauer, experiment with different materials.
Susanna uses dried leaves as the basis for her crochet projects. If that sounds surprising, it is.
The rigidness and fragility of the leaves makes them a very difficult material to work with — imagine stabbing a dried leave with a needle and not having it fall apart!
Using thread, she adds embellishments, sews the leaves together in strange ways, and creates a completely new idea of what a leaf can look like.
And because the leaves are so brittle, each of her projects requires a serious amount of time, patience, and gentle handling. But the results are beautiful, unexpected, and even funny in their understated strangeness.
It might seem like a pretty strange choice of art, but take a look at these subtly decorated leaves, and you’ll see how incredible and precise this art really is!
Collecting and drying magnolia leaves, Susanna embellishes them with crocheted details that turn them from plain old
leaves into tiny, delicate works of art.
Her additions also make us aware of the leaves’ natural beauty, too, which we would more than likely overlook otherwise.
Her work reminds us not to forget that beauty exists in the smallest of things, and that something doesn’t have to be large or showy to be beautiful.
To create these pieces, Susanna has to work with extreme care. One slip-up, and she can ruin a leaf.
But that doesn’t stop her from experimenting. Sometimes, she cuts the leaves up and reassembles them into new and unusual shapes, like these disk shapes that look like tiny tambourines.
Or these oddly festive leaf cubes!
Other leaves are rolled, and their edges sewn together. These different shapes make us look at leaves in a whole different way.
The care Susanna puts into each stitch and decoration also reminds us that no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, all of nature is truly precious.
Even her choice of thread color is understated, but anything brighter would detract from the beauty of the leaves.
Besides the obvious, Susanna says that her work also explores themes of fragility and strength, like how a simple thread can hold something tightly together, or how a brittle dried leaf can form a support for that thread.
She also uses it to explore the transience of nature and life, and our attempts to preserve what we can.
She considers her work to be sculpture, rather than crochet, and thinks of the threads and leaves as building materials.
And there’s a real charm to her pieces! There’s something so cute about these leaves with their little swapped pieces.