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In the past year, several sites (Treehugger, Toxel and Neatorama to name a few) have shown images of the asian art of leaf carving and more recently the Gblog from Gessato via lost at e minor, posted about the leaves again which got me wondering if you could have custom images made (the answer is yes, as you will see later in this post).
The tacky artworks have their kitsch appeal especially when it comes to using them to showcase religious and celebrity imagery.
Whether it's the Virgin Mary, Obama, Marilyn Monroe, Victorian Silhouettes or a tourist leaf selling Amish Country, the carved leaves seem to elicit a certain fascination.
Custom Carved Leaves
You can actually have custom ones made from a photo or purchase previously carved leaves for about $25.00 from several sites (links at the end of this post).
How Do They Do It?
The Sixty Step Process
above: Huang Taisheng, master leaf carver at work
Creating leaf art is a long and complex process. Leaves are put through a 60 step process such as, manually cutting and removing the outer surface of the leaf while leaving the leafs veins intact which add detail into the subject matter of the carving. Pressing, curing and dying are also just a few of the steps needed to prepare the leaf.
Talented artist using magnifying glass, then skillfully carve their masterpiece by hand. No painting or printing is involved. The most common leaf used in leaf carving is the leaf of a Chinar tree, which is native to India, Pakistan and China. Chinar leaves closely resemblance the leaf of a maple tree:
Where To Buy Them:
Several websites will make custom leaf carvings from your own photo or sell already carved leaves in various Western and Asian themes.
Thanks to the above links for images and information.