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     "How I Became Passionate about Pressed Flowers" 

First of all, I have to admit that I was not interested in flowers at all for such a long time. My eyes were nearly always focused on something else, so I took little notice of the details around me.

As a young girl growing up in Japan, I refused to take traditional flower arrangement ikebana lessons, which were one of the standard preparations for Japanese girls to get married. Because my mom paid the tuition, I eventually agreed to take the class. But after only three months I gave up learning the art of flower arrangement and quit the class.  

With my girlhood behind me, I ventured far from Japan to Seattle, where I could get married without learning flower arrangement.  After 20 years of urban living, my husband and I moved our family from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. I had become consumed by my long-time desire of working with an architect to design a Northwest/Japanese style house and a yard that featured a Zen dry rock garden.   

A flower garden, however, was not in our landscape plans. Also, we got so discouraged by the constant appearance of deer, which often destroyed some of our yard’s shrubs, well-pruned Japanese Maples, and Black Pine trees that it seemed that growing flowers in our yard would have been impossible.  Anyway, flowers never did hold that much interest for me.

 

So, what changed?

A few years ago, when I was going through menopause, I got sick and often felt depressed. It was during that time that I was introduced to pressed flowers when visiting my sister-in-law in Japan.  I had never seen anything so beautiful. I felt so touched by their fragility and simple beauty. I was amazed to see that the colors remained vibrant even after many days had passed. The paper-thin pressed flowers showed me a different type of beauty from live flowers. That experience changed the way I saw nature. For the first time in my life I became passionate about seeing flowers in a new way.

When I returned from Japan, I started using my new pressed flower tool and I was soon pressing everything, and I mean everything, not only just flowers but also everything from wild berries to even weeds, such as horsetail. Everyday my eyes were wide open as I searched for the most ordinary of specimens around me. Even during the darkest and coldest days of winter I could have so much fun walking, searching, snipping and pressing whatever caught my attention. Thanks to the beauty of pressed flowers I soon began to feel much better. I was no longer depressed and I felt myself becoming a new person. Flowers were healers to me!

In 2013, my parents both passed away, a brief three months apart.  Through my grief, I continued to make pressed flower cards. Although my parents were no longer physically here, their spiritual presence helped reveal the beauty of the flowers to me. My mom was a long time Sumie painter and left me many beautiful flower paintings. My dad built a beautiful Japanese garden and always enjoyed viewing nature though the magnificent rocks and well-pruned trees.  They passed to me the gift of seeing art in nature and getting inspired to share its beauty.  I hope that you will enjoy viewing this website and will take with you the peace, gratitude, and compassion that these flowers offer.


Artist statement by Norimi Kusanagi

2018

 

watch the pressed flower process above

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Photos by Michael Leonard

Photos by Michael Leonard