The leaves that are a blank canvas for exquisite sculptures

The leaves that branched out into art: They are the autumn glories that carpet our streets and gardens. But to one man they are also a blank canvas for exquisite sculptures

As autumn takes hold, sweeping away the leafy carpet gathering on your lawn might seem the natural choice.

But Aasen Stephenson would take a rather different view — because he collects the fallen foliage to carve intricate, patience-testing designs.

The 41-year-old Northampton-based artist gathers freshly dropped sycamore leaves while on autumnal strolls before pressing them for around a month.

He uses a pen to mark them out, then carves out his spellbinding designs using simple tools including a scalpel and cutting mat.

The 41-year-old Northampton-based artist gathers freshly dropped sycamore leaves while on autumnal strolls before pressing them for around a month

He uses a pen to mark them out, then carves out his spellbinding designs using simple tools including a scalpel and cutting mat

Love is in the air: A romantic design

His creations have even caught the eye of legendary fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, who commissioned 28 of Aasen’s intriguing works

Leaf blower: A child clings on to their brolly in this blustery scene

Fine-boned: A spooky skeleton design

Practice and patience is crucial in ensuring that the often delicate leaves do not fall apart.

Aasen said: ‘They can crack and crumble at any moment and then you have to start again.

‘I work all the designs around the veins so it all holds together. I love doing them.’

When it comes to design, the artist alternates between intricate spiral patterns, inspiring quotes and seasonal wildlife.

His top carvings come to life when held to a light source and include skeletons, squirrels and very apt quotes such as, ‘I fell for you’.

His creations have even caught the eye of legendary fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, who commissioned 28 of Aasen’s intriguing works.

He added: ‘They are a pleasure to make and it’s great that people ask me to make them. It’s always fun to see how much work you can put into a simple leaf that’s just fallen to the floor and that otherwise would rot away.’

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