Marja-Leena Rathje
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Hand with Leaf


Hand with Leaf
archival inkjet print
45.5 x 38.5 cm (18" x 15.25")

This fall I have been working on a series of prints of hands with objects. So far six pieces in the still ongoing series are editioned. I'm now pleased to begin to show them here. This one is probably my favourite so far, I love the skeleton of a large magnolia leaf.

Added Feb.24th, 2013: While searching for something else deep in the archives, I found some of my earlier scans of magnolia leaves here and here. It feels like finding old sketches.

Marja-Leena | 15/12/2012 | 13 comments
themes: Digital printmaking, Hands, Printworks


Shockingly beautiful (or should I say startlingly?) - I jumped when I first saw the picture, and immediately got goose bumps. That's a winner.

Julia, thanks so much for your most enthusiastic response. I wish you could see the real print for the compression has made the image less vibrant than the original.

Oh. Oh. Wonderful. Lacy like Miss Havisham, but so many other aesthetic and emotional levels too.

I find that this powerful image has so much depth of meaning for me: our attempt to control nature, and yet nature somehow always coming to the fore, for example. I wish I could see the actual print full size because I'm intrigued to discover how much of the web of lines on your hand is obscured by the web of lines on the leaf, and vice versa - which leads me to think about the passing of time, and how we wish to obscure it from our view.

I am reminded of how lace is used to reveal a tantalising view, and how you have contrasted that with the bold straightforward focus on the simplicity of the combined subject. So thought-provoking!

The element of time in this one is arresting. Wow!

I still have the skeleton of a leaf which I found about 10 years ago on the compost heap. I too made a print of it. But without the hand. It is folded into a sketch book. It is one of the most beautiful things I possess. Your print brought it back to me.

Jean, thanks. I'm glad you like this, the laciness is quite amazing and I'm happy I was able to capture it in this way.

Olga, you put into words exactly what I wish to convey, thank you. The lines in the hand are very evident in the image. Hmm, I may post a detail sometime.

Rouchswalwe, then I've succeeded, thank you!

Joe, aren't magnolia leaves amazing in how they retain their skeleton as if petrified? This one has been in my collection for quite a few years too. I think I posted a scan of it by itself - it's somewhere deep in the archives. How did you make a print of yours?

As I recall it was done simply and without fuss on the printer. I think I ahall have another go at it soon. The idea of a collection of leaf skeletons is appealing, much more so than human skeletons as in some museums!

Joe, was it a scan then a digital print? That is the easiest way. I've scanned and posted many leaves here over the years but this is the first time I've printed an image of one. Another method is to glue the leaf to card with medium. When prepared you can ink it and print it = voilà, a collagraph.

Oh yes, leaf skeletons are mucn more appealing!

This is a gorgeous image, Marja-Leena. The leaf looks as though it's made of gold but we know it's even more magical because it's just the way nature intended.

Susan, thank you! I love how the leaf turned gold in the scanning process, making it look like Indian lace. Magical indeed.

Love the hand with leaf. The vital and palpable behind the fragile and diaphanous.

Dick, well said, thanks!