30 Days Wild – Day 29: Hapa Zome

Hapa Zome is a Japanese art form to transfer natural pigment into cloth – which is a fancy way to say pounding leaves and petals with hammers to create natural artwork!

What you’ll need

  • leaves and flowers from your garden
  • cotton fabric
  • some sort of mallet, hammer or other heavy object

Spread out your piece of fabric. Picture a line running down the middle dividing it into two halves (or fold it in half, crease, and reopen if that helps!)

On one half of the fabric, arrange your leaves and flowers in whatever design you like.

Fold the empty side over top, sandwiching the leaves inbetween.

Then grab your mallet or other heavy object and bash away! Make sure you’re on a sturdy surface that won’t get damaged, and keep your fingers and thumbs away from the path of the mallet. You will start seeing pigment from the plants coming through fairly quickly, and you may find you don’t need to bash too hard to achieve the results you want.

Once you’ve covered the whole area with your mallet, unfold the cloth and reveal your design! 

There will probably be bits of leaves and flowers stuck to the cloth that you may want to peel away, which you can do now. You’ll also find that different plants will produce different results; leaves and petals that hold a lot of moisture can produce stronger colours. The surface underneath will also have an effect: if your surface has a texture, you might find that transfers to your design too!

I’ve finished my Hapa Zome art off with a rustic twig frame wrapped with twine. What will you create?