Made to Be Framed

A regional artisan preserves and presents the beauty of nearby native botanicals.
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Two Ferns
Two Ferns // Print Courtesy of Joe Svec

Just as plants reawaken each spring, artist Joseph Svec renews fragile living fronds in each Harbor Country Botanical Print he creates in lower Southwest Michigan.

“I try to create imagery from the woods around our place in Halbert, Michigan and around Cherry Beach that resonates with people who like Harbor Country,” says Svec, whose art is displayed and available at Local Color Gallery on Red Arrow Highway in Union Pier and his own Chicago-based business, Real Art Custom Picture Framing.

I select plants that look good flat like grasses, grapevines or ferns, whereas thistles or branches aren’t friendly to pressing.
— Joseph Svec

Svec uses an 1824 camera-free photo process called “cyanotype,” from the word “cyan,” which means “blue.” The process employs watercolor paper, photo-sensitive chemicals, glass and timed exposure to sunlight.

“I select plants that look good flat like grasses, grapevines or ferns, whereas thistles or branches aren’t friendly to pressing,” he notes. “Weeds with little flower heads work well. I sometimes use a double-exposure, tone the print with brown, then lay another coating of cyanotype. It gives a blue-over-brown effect.”

See and learn more at localcolorartgallery.com/joe.html.

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