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Exploring My Inner Artist at the Pressing Flowers Class at Sawmill Center for the Arts in Cook Forest, PA on May 25, 2024

Flower Child Here! I love crafting and the arts but haven't had much time to explore that side in the last few years as a working mom. So when I discovered the Pressing Flowers Class at the Sawmill Center for the Arts in Cook Forest, PA, I knew I had to sign up. Little did I know, this class would become one of the most delightful and creative experiences I've had in a long time. Let me take you through my journey of learning the art of pressing flowers, meeting new people, and soaking in the serene beauty of Cook Forest.

Arriving at Sawmill Center for the Arts

A Scenic Drive

The drive to the Sawmill Center for the Arts was scenic and calming, with Cook Forest's lush greenery and winding roads setting the perfect mood for a creative day ahead. It is a bout 3 miles from Sweet Forest Breeze, making it an easy drive.

A Charming Welcome

As I arrived, I was greeted by the charming rustic building of the center, nestled among the trees. The air was fresh, and I was excited to focus on creating for a couple hours. w

The Warm Welcome

Upon entering the center, slightly late I was welcomed by the Gaye, a friendly member of the staff that has been working there for 17 years! I quickly took a open seat and introduced myself to my neighbors Helen and Julia. Our instructor for the day, Mary Rose Ragon, from Oil City was explaining how we would approach the day. The room was filled with an assortment of fresh flowers, tools for working, and artistic materials neatly arranged on tables. The sight alone sparked a wave of excitement and creativity. Pass me those tiny flowers and ferns!

Meeting Fellow Flower Enthusiasts

One of the best parts of the class was meeting fellow flower enthusiasts from various walks of life. There were some locals, tourists and those and even a couple of families looking for a fun bonding activity, especially for Mothers day. We quickly found common ground in our love for nature and creativity, and it wasn't long before we were sharing stories and ideas.

Hands-On Learning Experience

Expert Instruction

Our instructor, Mary Rose was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the art of pressing flowers. She began by explaining the history and significance of flower pressing, which gave us a deeper appreciation for the craft. Check out my unframed and frame piece! I love all the colors and the flowers were so special.

Learning Techniques

We learned different techniques, from traditional methods using heavy books to more modern approaches with specialized flower presses and using the microwave! I had no idea the work and time it took to get all the pieces ready to create with. As Mary Rose guided us through each step, offering tips and tricks to achieve the best results. It was a hands-on learning experience that was both informative and immensely satisfying. Try not to over glue, don't grab the flowers with your clumsy fingers (me) and break a flower (me) and plan your picture before you glue.

Creating Unique Artworks

With our pressed flowers ready, we moved on to creating various artworks. I decided to make a bookmark and a framed picture. The possibilities were endless, and seeing everyone’s unique creations was truly inspiring. Some made magnets with ribbons while others crafted intricate designs of fairies for wall art. It was amazing to see how the same flowers could be transformed into such diverse pieces of art.

Check out below what some fellow crafters made, little fairies made of flowers!

Wilma and Lindsay's creation for a Mother's day experience!

Taking Home Treasured Keepsakes

By the end of the class, I had a beautiful bookmark and a framed picture to take home. Each creation was a tangible reminder of the day’s experience and the new skills I had acquired. I couldn’t wait to show them to my friends and family and perhaps even gift a few. My youngest daughter immediately claimed she must have the bookmark or her book would be sad.

Enjoying the Beauty of Cook Forest

After the class, I took some time to explore Cook Forest. The trails and natural beauty added to the overall experience, making it a perfect day of creativity and relaxation. The serene environment of Cook Forest complemented the peaceful nature of the flower pressing activity, making it a holistic experience of art and nature. I started looking around and all the flowers I could cut to start my own collection to work with. However, it was raining and so I couldn't start as it needed to be dry for at least two days for flowers to be press worthy.

Joining a Creative Community

What stood out to me the most was the sense of community at the Sawmill Center for the Arts. Everyone, from the staff to the fellow participants, was warm and welcoming. The center itself is a hub for artistic expression and cultural enrichment, and being a part of it, even for a day, felt incredibly fulfilling. That and the great cookies with thyme, and blueberry crumble!

How to Collect and Press Flowers at Home

Inspired by my experience? You can easily start pressing flowers at home. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

Materials Needed

  • Fresh flowers and leaves

  • Heavy books or a flower press

  • Absorbent paper (blotting paper, parchment paper, or coffee filters)

  • Scissors or pruning shears

  • Tweezers

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Collecting Flowers:

  • Choose flowers that are not too thick. Flat and thin flowers work best.

  • Pick flowers when they are dry, preferably in the late morning after the dew has evaporated.

  • Use scissors or pruning shears to cut the flowers with a bit of stem attached.

  1. Preparing Flowers:

  • Remove any unwanted leaves or parts.

  • Place each flower between two sheets of absorbent paper. Use tweezers if needed to avoid damaging delicate petals.

  1. Pressing Flowers:

  • If using books, place the prepared flowers inside the book and then place additional books or heavy objects on top. If using a flower press, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Ensure the flowers are placed in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

  1. Waiting Period:

  • Leave the flowers to press for about 1-2 weeks. Check them occasionally to make sure the paper is still absorbing moisture. If the paper becomes damp, replace it with fresh paper.

  1. Removing and Storing:

  • Carefully remove the pressed flowers using tweezers. They will be delicate, so handle with care.

  • Store the pressed flowers in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them for your projects.

Final Thoughts

My experience at the Pressing Flowers Class at the Sawmill Center for the Arts was nothing short of magical. It was a day filled with creativity, learning, and connecting with nature and like-minded individuals. If you're looking for a unique and enriching activity, I highly recommend this class. Whether you're an aspiring artist, a nature lover, or just looking for a peaceful escape, this experience has something for everyone.

How to Sign Up

If my experience has inspired you, don’t hesitate to sign up for the Pressing Flowers Class at the Sawmill Center for the Arts. Visit their website at Sawmill Center for the Arts and check out the classes and workshops section for more information. Trust me, you won't regret it!

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