As a printmaker, Karen Gearhart-Jensen is compelled to look at the texture and pattern of an object that catches her eye. Her enjoyment and growing fascination with the process of winemaking lead her to explore the ever-so-humble grape leaf.
I love leaves in general – so varied in structure, texture, size, color and ‘toughness’. In winemaking, the grape leaf takes a back seat to the fruit, at least to the consumer. However, to the farmer and winemaker, the hard-working leaf plays a critical role. Printing them is my way of elevating and appreciating this essential player in the vineyard.
My plan was to collect leaves from many varietals and vineyards early and late in the growing season. I was curious how different they would be after doing their job over the season. I gathered in early April and early August and found two distinct personalities as I worked with each group.
I enjoyed the April batch for its tender and fragile qualities, just waiting for fruit to appear. This made printing a little challenging as they would tear easily and last for only a pass or two through my printmaking press. They were full of luscious green chlorophyll which squeezed out of the veins as I printed – so young and innocent.