In the Studio with Owen Mortensen


There’s no image more intrinsically linked to autumn than a freshly fallen leaf in a brilliant shade of orange, crimson, or gold. Utah-based artist Owen Mortensen tends to agree, choosing these pieces of organic ephemera as the focal point in his work—including our Copper Foliage Coasters. As shown by his interest in fall’s fleeting colors, a common theme in Owen’s art is transition; he often hones in on progression and lifespan by capturing nature’s inherent patterns. “Recognizing the aesthetic qualities of organic, often impermanent, objects is at the heart of my work,” says Owen. “Although often unnoticed, these natural design elements are quite dramatic and beautiful—the veining of a leaf, the sculptural form of a bleached bone, or the texture of a popped kernel of corn.” 

To make his coasters, Owen gathers leaves year-round, carefully pressing and drying each one. Sorting through his findings after a day of foraging, he chooses only the best specimens for his work. To construct the coasters, he places a pressed leaf between two cut squares of glass, then binds the pieces together with copper-coated tape, adding surface-protective footing to the bottom of each piece. “People like my coasters because they are a functional accent and make great gifts for almost any occasion," he says of the finished product. "Leaves are like snowflakes-- no two are the same-- so I think people appreciate that they are getting something truly original.” 

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