Sunday, 23 October 2011

Hapa Zome (beating up leaves with hammers)

This is a wonderful creative technique that I often share with participants on training courses and with the children I work with, This week someone on a course made something so beautiful it reminded me I wanted to share this a bit more widely.

Stacey's hapa zome with clover, dandelions, grasses,
 berries and petals

Hapa Zome is the Japanese art of beating up leaves with hammers,  pounding natural pigment into cloth. It was developed and named by India Flint who is a colour artist although she suggests that people have probably been pounding colours into cloth for centuries.

Hapa zome with dock leaves
and primula

The skill level you need to start out with this creative springboard for this is pretty basic. If you can hit things with a hammer you can create beautiful works of art. As demonstrated by a two year old and his mum.

To make hapa zome you need cotton fabric, different weights seem to all work equally well but you do get slightly different effects. The leaves and flowers that you choose make a difference to the effectiveness. Ones that are full of moisture produce the best results.
Spring crocus flowers
 By folding the cloth in half with the leaf  or petal inside you get a mirror image. Once the petal is under the cloth then it is a matter of gently pounding it with a mallet, hammer or even  smooth rock. The surface underneath will come through so find a smooth surface to work on. It seems to appeal to all ages and genders equally, I'm sure this is something to do with the cathartic nature of hitting things with hammers! 

Baby nettle leaves

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