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One of the greatest artists is Mother Nature herself…so it makes sense that many people try to copy her.

Australian artist Meredith Woolnough has always been fascinated with leaves, particularly skeletonized leaves. That”s when the main tissue of the leaf has dried up and fallen away, leaving only the tiny, intricate network of veins. “I”ve been collecting skeletonized leaves for as long as I can remember,” she says.

Clockwise from top left: Amazonian water lily, red coral, gingko biloba and a collection of gingko biloba

Autumn leaf

This side view shows how the pieces are mounted so that they cast shadows.

Gingko biloba

Twisted leaf

Her artwork uses the traditional craft of embroidery as a method of exploring the fragility of nature. Using a regular sewing machine, she creates large-scale images of leaf veins, corals and other natural forms. The thread is stitched into a special base fabric that dissolves in water, leaving a network of free-standing threads that seems to float in air. This way, the embroideries take on a three-dimensional, sculptural character, and their airy, lacy shapes also contribute some amazing shadows when they”re displayed.

Woolnough”s process, where thread is stitched onto water-soluble fabric.

Red cabbage

A collection of gingko leaves

Individual gingko leaves arranged into a design

A collection of smaller pieces

Fern frond

Another collection of pieces

You can keep up with Woolnough”s work on her Facebook and Instagram accounts, and she takes commissions! You can also get a look into her creative process at her blog.

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