Piet Oudolf is a Dutch landscape designer born in Haarlem, the Netherlands in 1944 who has contributed to such noteworthy landscapes as the Lurie Garden in Chicago and High Line in New York City. I was draw to Oudolf because of his distinct style and holistic perspective on nature. This folio illustrates a visual biography Oudolf using hand-brayered letterpress techniques as well as Oudolf's own landscape sketches as digital typographic elements and organized content.
The final Folio
I began by searching on online databases to find biographies on Piet Oudolf and photographs of his designs.
I also compiled photographs I had taken of his landscapes. I scanned some landscape books in the library as well. I found Oudolf's contact information and reached out to potentially secure an interview, but unfortunately did not receive a response.
I used the imagery and information I had found to develop the imagery, iconography and copy for this folio.
I first developed a short, illustrated story inspired by his work called “The Thirsty Cactus.” I used this publication as well as Oudolf’s iconography, imagery and body copy to begin my folio.
I started folding paper until I landed on a suitable binding method and formed a tiny prototype. I sketched layouts on paper until I came up with a system that fit Oudolf's style. I used a photograph of Oudolf's hand-illustrated landscape designs as the base of the outside cover.
I chose to use large-format rice paper to print on since this type of paper weathers over time which I felt correlated nicely with Oudolf's views on nature. I brought my image to a local printer who was able to print on large-scale.
Once I had the flat page printed, I hit the Bowe House Press Letterpress Studio to the foundation with patterns and textures.
I used hand-brayering techniques and chose colors based on those which were most prominent in his landscapes.
This is the flat, folded, opposite side of the large-scale rice paper print using hand-brayering letterpress techniques
I printed the body copy and imagery to bind in the folio. Lastly, I folded down and bound the final piece based on my tiny model.