Martha Starke

2016-06-15 Martha Starke 001Martha Starke, a pressed flower artist from Saratoga Springs, NY, creates whimsical one-of-a-kind framed art and playful notecards — dubbed “Petal People” — made from pressed flower petals, ferns and leaves.

“My father gasped when I showed him “some weird-looking flowers” that I had picked from deep in the woods. They turned out to be endangered Lady’s Slipper flowers, so pink and sweet-smelling in the earthy forest that no little girl would have passed them by. Cradling them in my palms, I gently placed them into the pages of the fattest book I found so that, once pressed, I could examine their curious bulbous shape.

“And so began my fascination with pressing flowers. That was more than four decades ago and I haven’t stopped being intrigued and inspired by the colors, shapes and textures of botanicals and incorporating them into my artwork, first with a line of Greeting cards called “Garden Variety” cards and then in larger framed pieces. When I made my first pressed flower art figures in 2009, I dubbed them Petal People and printed my favorites onto notecards using a professional printing house. Now I have more than 30 lines for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, weddings, new babies, graduations and all of life’s celebrations and events.

“I sell my printed cards at VAM, as well as original one-of-a-kind whimsical figures, created from real ferns, leaves, herbs and flowers that I have grown in my garden in Saratoga Springs, NY (or snatched from other gardens, road sides and fields). No part of them is drawn, painted or enhanced in any way. You can also see my various handmade papers, including plantable paper embedded with wildflower seeds, at Valley Artisans Market and in my Etsy shop at

“I hope you feel the joy and passion in everything I make!”