• Shoreditch Pop Up: Nature printing with Pia Östlund

    Jack Lewis

    Pia Östlund, a talented Swedish designer and printmaker, has made East London her creative home. Her artistic practice, which is inspired by the natural world, is widely recognised for its exceptional quality.

    Using a rare nature printing method that has not been practised since the 19th century, Östlund creates stunningly intricate and lifelike plant images on paper.

    The technique of nature printing was originally utilised by Renaissance-era herbalists in Italy to investigate and record the properties of medicinal and utilitarian plants. Östlund, who is the only contemporary artist employing this traditional medium, follows in the footsteps of renowned 19th-century printers such as Auer, Bradbury, and Kyhl.
    Pia Östlund in the pop-up shop with loads of pots of plants and some Bird of Paradise flowers around her. There are also 2 bottles of Sowvital’s house plan products on the table and the shelves.
    Pia Östlund and another person doing nature printing with a transparent sheet with a blue one on the table. And there is a big piece of papaya leaf, a tweezer and some other tools.
    A hand held a roller with blue paint while another hand held a piece of plants with a piece of sheet covered with green paint on the table. And there is the blue paint material, palette knife and a pot of plant.
    Nature plant printing with blue paint on the paper and there are some plant leaves around on the table.
    A lady showed her nature plant printing result with Sowvital’s name at the bottom of the paper in the popup shop.
    A pair of hands presenting a successful nature plant printing on the paper.
    Nature printing material, a couple of paints and palette knives with a pot of a plant.
    A hand holding a piece of paper with nature plant printing and Sowvital’s brand at the bottom of the paper.
    Östlund finds the process of nature printing thrilling, as it produces peculiar images from the ephemeral nature of a leaf, which is then subjected to tremendous pressure and fed into a process involving roofing lead, electric currents, copper sulphates, and sulphuric acid. She also admires the fact that nature printing defies categorization, as it is not a photograph, herbarium specimen, or botanical illustration, but rather includes elements of all three.

    We were thrilled to have Östlund at our Shoreditch pop up shop, hosting a small workshop where she inspired all by showcasing both her technique and excitement for printing with natural forms.