This month, we announced the forthcoming album from Leaving Laurel, ‘when the quiet comes’. Accompanying this album is some seriously stunning artwork, a collaboration between band member Gordon, Anjuna HQ’s Head of Design Ben Chadwick, and longtime friend of the label, and multimedia artist, Adam Marshall.But what goes into making a piece of album artwork like this? We chatted to the guys to find out…
Gordon: "For many months, the second Leaving Laurel album had been finished and the artwork was still a blank canvas. The initial concept was born on a quiet Canadian winter morning as I was hiking on a trail around the lake near my home. A storm had just passed, the lake had frozen over, and there was deep untouched snow the entire way. As I came to a clearing, I saw some flowers peering out from the bed of snow that had freshly fallen. From the cold they had dried up, but were still standing, and something about these flowers got me thinking about the themes of the album."
Gordon: "The artwork was a collaboration between Ben Chadwick, Adam Marshall and us. I presented this inspiration to Ben, and although it wasn’t really much to go on, it was at least a start. The first brushstroke on that canvas.
The concept led to Ben suggesting we explore arrangements of dried flowers. because like those flowers in the snow, their long lasting beauty outlives them. Now, we had a metaphor for the album - bringing new life from death, and finding beauty in loss.
This is where Adam came in. Adam had been collecting all sorts of fallen foliage from the Scottish highlands, in hopes to eventually find an artistic purpose for them all. He sent over a large collection of scans that were immediately engaging. They looked so fragile, so unique, and just so perfect. We then worked on digitally laying them out into various arrangements, to finalise the perfect visual for the music. And, similar to arranging and finalising the pieces of music that were left from before Pierce passed, these flowers that could have blown away in the wind, were now able to be given new purpose. to be given that new life beyond their death, and to show the beauty that can come from a loss."
Adam: "I started flower pressing over a year ago when I wanted to find ways of remembering my photoshoots while I was travelling around the UK. It's a beautiful way to compliment my photography. The flower picking helped me identify the species, the time of year, and I got to learn its place in the ecosystem. Everything had its place. As a preface, I make sure never to pick protected plants, and always pick in areas of abundance. I think it's important if you see something beautiful, to leave it be, and to consider its place in life and why it's important for others to come across it too."
Adam: "The flowers would be like little pieces of memories; slightly imperfect as time went on; they dried and lost colour, but still retaining their sense of beauty and a capture of the moment they held alongside the photographs. Ben Chadwick, Head of the Anjuna Art Department, saw some of my progress pictures on my socials as I was documenting my process. We had worked on quite a few projects in the past, so things naturally grew from there. He wanted to relate the dried flowers to the artwork for the new Leaving Laurel album, and as I'm a huge fan of their music, of course I said yes!
During the development process, we were exploring ways to capture the dried flowers. We explored lumen printing, laying flowers and even thinking about taking photographs of them flat with a macro lens and lightbox, but ultimately ended up scanning them in. With the scanned flowers, I could reshape and rethink how these would play out on the canvas, which I think was such a beautiful way of expressing their new form. The album was full of nostalgia and moving on, and dried flowers captured in time with a new-found sense of beauty and form felt like such a perfect way to express the music in a visual art form.
I was also exploring deconstructed flowers, as if they were scattering to the wind. There was this really interesting effect when I placed the flowers and grasses on the scanner. The really shallow focal range of the scanner I used would blur out parts of the flower. It was one of those beautiful accidents which just made sense, just like memories not quite shaping up to how you remember them. You feel the general 'shape' or 'silhouette' of what it used to be."
From Scans to Finished Product
Adam: "Ben took the full resolution scans and the compositions I had set up, alongside some of the other cuttings and more 'formal' collections I had scanned in and worked his magic to turn them into the artwork for the album. The process felt like part of the art for me, as it taught me a lot about the messaging that the album holds.
Allowing beautiful things to happen after we accept things for what they are once lost in time, allowing us to feel through the memories as we shape our future through them in new ways. Reflecting on snapshots of time and making something of them and ourselves. I relate a lot to this in my art."To order your very own vinyl copy of ‘when the quiet comes’ from the Anjuna Music Store, click the button below.