Old pane window + botanical print plates = framed art!
There's a great space above my fireplace, perfect for a special art piece.
I'd had a grouping of metal art displayed for years, but wanted something with a bit more color, warmth, and old world charm.
With its weathered paint and obvious history, this old, large-scale, 8-pane window showed great promise. I set it atop the mantle, stepped back and looked again, then promptly took it down.
It was a good start, but it needed...something.
That something came in the form of a fantastic book, Wild Flowers of America, published in 1953, by Crown Publishers, Inc. of New York. The book was filled with 400 reproduction color plates from the "...famous portfolio set 'North American Wild Flowers,' by Mary Vaux Walcott as published by the Smithsonian Institution."
Pulled from a large bin of books at the Goodwill outlet store, it cost me a quarter.
Following an introduction and glossary were brief, yet detailed, descriptions of the featured wild flowers. The family names, both common and technical, were printed in lovely cursive and the information in simple print.
The remaining two-hundred pages were beautiful, full-page, botanical illustrations of 400 lovely wildflowers. The painted color plates, still vibrant but softened and aged, were perfect for the pane window project!
I hesitated...for months.
I just didn't have the heart to tear out the pages of such a lovely book.
And so the book sat upon the coffee table completely intact, and the window was placed back upon the mantle lifeless and uninspiring.
Finally, after nearly a year, I decided to go ahead with the project I'd envisioned so long ago.
Despite sitting within arms reach, I rarely looked at the book.
"Shouldn't these illustrations be set free?"
"Shouldn't they be seen and enjoyed?"
I asked myself.
"Indeed, they should."
I forged ahead with revived spirit, selected 8 prints, and ripped them free before I could think twice about it!
Because the panes were larger than the prints, I decided to use some of the text description pages as backgrounds.
I trimmed the text pages to size, using two per pane...
and fitted them into each pane opening, allowing them to overlap in the center.
I then tore the sides and top of each illustration, preserving the flowers' name labels along the page bottoms.
Several swipes of glue on the back of each illustration page...
secured each to its text-page background.
After playing around with the arrangement, the prints were placed behind the glass panes and taped securely.
With the installation of a couple of D-rings to the back of the window, it was hung in place.
And I couldn't be happier!
I adore this old window into the world of America's wild flowers!
Wild Flowers of America, New York: Crown, 1953. Print.
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.