The Embalming and Preservation of a Fall

A step-by-step process.

First Step: Preservation

The texture and signature of leaves. Damp and decaying leaves left temporary water marks as I pulled them from their concrete graves (see right). The residues left behind create simple and natural prints. Once I had collected quite a few leaves, I brought them home, soaked and cleaned them before stamping and rejuvenating their forms onto paper. This symbolic healing helped inspire my project of preservation and the embalming of fall. Above is one of those prints on an 18×18 in. piece of cream Kozo paper.

Second Step: Embalming

Using this found wood as a backdrop, I loosely painted ink onto the collected leaves. This helped create a negative print of their shapes that resembled the forms they had left on the sidewalks on which they were originally found. Returning them back to a more organic and less processed material. These outlines, like those of a crime scene, are evidence of their origin. 

Step three: Rejuvenation

A piece of this project features a mannequin leg and the leaves I used to print the various components scattered beneath it. The leg, disconnected from the body was found in an alleyway behind my building. For me, it represents the need to remain active during and after the pandemic. The leg instantly reminded me of an injury I suffered years ago that had damaged my mentality more so than my physical body, completely changing my life’s interests. I wanted to “tattoo” the leg with the collected leaves to represent the places I’ve walked but also to create a state of potential permanence by finally bandaging the damaged limb. My hope is to keep this routine afloat, to walk daily and push myself further in exploring this city on foot.

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