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Beth S. Murphy - Pressed Botanical Collages

Beth S. Murphy - Pressed Botanical Collages

Beth’s art career was a slow progression that began in earnest in 1995. Her formal studies were in English (undergrad) and Counseling (graduate), while her art studies have been more informal - workshops, working alongside other artists, classes, and seminars.

William Morris, Andy Goldsworthy, and Frank Lloyd Wright have had a tremendous influence on her art, as well as numerous botanical painters. The delicate illustrations of Tasha Tudor, were her earliest loves. Currently, she has been exploring new subjects and compositions in her work which highlight the many tones, lines and shapes of pressed flowers and botanical materials. Looking out the window, hiking in the woods, gardening, reading - she feels inspired whenever she is taking in nature.

Beth has exhibited in numerous venues in New Jersey and Chicago, including private spaces such as arboretums, places of worship, restaurants and private corporate settings, and public facilities such as county and town libraries, environmental centers, and medical centers.

Her collages are primarily made of pressed leaves, petals, stems, grasses, vegetables, wildflowers. “If it is growing, I try and press it,” Beth explains. She has recently begun to integrate her hand printed papers into collages, which help provide colors that are more difficult to retain in the pressing process.

Although pressing leaves and flowers is something that many people have done, she has learned that there are many factors that better ensure the maintenance of color and substance. Using a center spindle press allows for an even pressure over all materials, no matter their thickness, and provides the opportunity for all moisture to be wicked away from the plant material. This helps retain color and results in a thin, fragile medium with which to work.

Within the past year and a half, Beth has lost a number of close friends and family members. After the first few deaths she realized that if she could get herself into her studio and allow whatever organically happened in the space to flow, eventually she would come to a point of peace with the loss. And in doing so, she has been able to create works of art that provide solace to herself and also to others who were close to the person who passed.

You can shop for her work here:

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  • Anne Hamilton