Leaf Prints by John Fass
Above: Leaf print by John Fass, printed directly from the leaf, and photographed by him
John Fass was a craftsman in wood, and a connoisseur of fine wood and paper. He was a skilled woodworker, and created miniature wooden printing presses and finely-crafted wooden boxes.
In addition to photographing leaves and trees he also did nature printing, where he pressed inked leaves directly onto Japanese tissue and other fine paper to create single prints of great beauty. He searched the Bronx Botanical Garden for perfect leaves, and scouted his friends' gardens for other specimens for printing.
He bound many of his leaf prints into books of very limited edition, sometimes in an edition of one copy. He created these books at his Hammer Creek Press in his Bronx YMCA room. His first leaf book was The Mighty Oak, which he printed in 1958 in an edition of 6 copies. He then printed at least five more collections of leaf prints, with as many as 32 leaves in a collection.
Leaves and Trees
Photography by John Fass
In addition to creating leaf prints, where he printed directly from leaves, John also photographed leaves in Kodachrome 35 millimeter transparencies. John was a hobby naturalist; New York parks and Lancaster County fields were his favorite places to explore.
John's friends John and Thelma DePol were well familiar with Fass' botanical enthusiasm. John and Thelma collected leaves from the dogwood tree that grew beside Fass' house on South Spruce Street in Lititz. Today those dried dogwood leaves are with the DePol Papers at the University of Delaware library, with other John Fass memorabilia.