by Laura Bethmann

Storey Publishing, $20.95, 191 pages

Do you remember making leaf prints at camp or school? Spreading a bit of paint on a leaf made details like stems and veins magically appear on paper. Artist and author Laura Bethmann shares her love of this spontaneous art form in her new book Hand-Printing From Nature: Creating Unique Prints for Fabric, Paper, and Other Surfaces Using Natural and Found Materials. It is both an instruction manual and creative guide.

Artists will need tools, inks, paints, paper, and items from nature! Bethmann suggests ways to collect natural objects which include flowers, shells, fruit, twigs, and herbs. She focuses on pigments and supplies. Detailed instructions give tips on which mediums and natural items complement each other. She also includes a summary of printing surfaces including wood, metal, and fabric.

Bethmann does an excellent job guiding readers through the process of putting items, paint mediums, and surfaces together to create unique projects. Activities range from making note cards to creating gifts and decorating walls. Nature inspired quotes by authors, scientists, and philosophers provide added inspiration. This book will encourage you to take a closer look at items we see every day and find ways to bring them creatively in to your life.

Elizabeth Franklin