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Most Recent Posts

Paper Flower Art

It’s out! The book I’ve been working on for the last year finally has a name and a cover. It’s called “Paper Flower Art: Create Beautifully Realistic Floral Arrangements” and it is being published by GMC Publications. Although it is on sale now, it will be released in November 2019 in the U.K. and in January 2020 in U.S.A. and Canada.

You can purchase the book on Amazon.co.uk OR on Amazon.com.


***DISCLOSURE: Just to let you know, this blog post contains affiliate marketing links. If you make purchases via the links I’ve provided, I receive a small commission which costs you nothing, but do help to support my website/maintenance and fees. . You can read my full Disclosure statement here. Thank you for your support!*** 


It’s been some time coming. When I was first approached by GMC Publications for a paper flower book commission back in June of last year, I thought the email was spam. No joke! It wasn’t until I spoke with the publisher on the phone that I let myself appreciate the real possibility that I could one day be an author. I think as artists, you never think you’re ready to spill all your beans because you never think you’re “quite there” yet. Who am I to author an entire book devoted to my work, my techniques, my photographs?! It seemed so unreal to me. You see, every so often, I have severe doubts about the originality of my work and techniques. It’s one of the reasons why I rarely talk with glowing enthusiasm about my new skills or techniques – because in my head, it’s not new or unique – it just is, so what’s the hype? It was something I had to come up with – a necessity – to overcome a barrier in the way the flower looked or was structured or coloured. And because it’s a necessity, it’s just good old problem solving and being resourceful. So you see, it’s no big deal. It’s not like I resolved global warming. This is how my mind works. So I have to consistently remind myself that just because I live in my own bubble and everything I do is familiar to me, no one else lives in my bubble and it can be new to them.

One of the 5 arrangements in my book with step-by-step instructions

I’ve been asked if I thought it was a daunting task. Yes and no. Yes because it literally took out three months of my life where I worked on the book every day, either writing, making, shooting, or editing, and I had to miss many of my son’s activities while my husband took on the majority of the cooking and cleaning chores. Yet, it was also not that daunting – I had already taught workshops for some of the flowers in the book, so I already had some text ready; I also had only 2 deadlines and I could determine what to submit on those deadlines; I was used to writing because of my years in school and practicing in litigation; and I was familiar with shooting photographs of my work and editing them. Generally, whenever I get stressed about something, I always put it into perspective based on my own personal experience as a lawyer. No one’s life is on my shoulders, no one is going to lose their child, and I have no moving deadlines that I cannot control. I’m accountable only to myself and my publisher from this date to this date. Everything else – the writing, the shooting, the planning – is all under my control. I might not sleep, but that’s ok. I knew I could finish it under my own terms. That gave me the confidence not to feel completely overwhelmed (until I had to work on the Masterclass stuff!).

One of the five arrangements in the book – this one is a bouquet

While I was finishing the book, there were two things that I was really adamant about. One of the things was acknowledging the artists whom I learned certain techniques from (the ones I could remember), so I footnoted like crazy! I couldn’t help it; after years of schooling, writing theses and factums, it’s one of those things that get ingrained in you. Unfortunately, my editor thought it was too distracting, so she removed every bit of it. The only thing that remains of my acknowledgements is in the said aforementioned section and the Introduction. This made me a bit sad because it was extremely important to me that these artists knew I learned from them. I don’t want to take ownership of a technique that I did not come up with originally (even though at some point, that technique becomes so popular that it becomes mainstream), although I am also not afraid to lay claim on adaptations of these techniques and to give myself some credit for coming up with my own techniques that are necessary. Anyways, when I re-read the Introduction, I feel confident that I’ve made clear that many of my techniques are influenced by others.

Open rose in my book.

The other thing that I was incredibly specific about was the colour on the printed pages. My artistic approach is very much reliant on colour and specifically, colours relative to other colours. So a pink flower may look too cool when placed next to a yellow-green leaf, but when placed next to a blue-green leaf, its colour looks perfectly balanced. If that relativity is thrown off, then the entire image – its mood, its design, the feel – will be different, like an entirely different image (one of the reasons why I don’t apply filters to photos of my art). More importantly, if the colours on the page don’t reflect the colour of the flower you make using the crepe paper I recommend, then it sends a strong signal to the reader that perhaps I haven’t thought through my colours (even though I had, every single petal) and it would erode my authority on that subject matter. When the book was at its final stages, my RBG images were retuned to CYMK and to look better on uncoated paper. I didn’t expect it to look so different. I was really upset, and I toiled over a long email, editing and re-editing so I actually sounded like a rational, clear-thinking, reasonable person. I wasn’t sure what their response would be. They had already given me so many liberties and creative freedom with the flowers, arrangements, and photography. Needless to say, I was incredibly relieved when they responded to me the very next day. I really couldn’t have asked for a better response – my publisher and his team made sure to send me a print copy of the final colour pages for me to comment on, provide colour samples if necessary, and for them to adjust – before it went to print. Rather than dismissing my concerns, they addressed them directly and I thank them wholeheartedly for this. As an artist and author, my biggest fear is not being heard and my art not being respected. I’m not sure what other people’s experiences with their publishers are/were, but mine has been very very positive indeed.

Parrot tulips in purple and orange from my book.

So, I know I haven’t actually talked too much about what’s in the book. That’s because there’s an excellent summary of it (written by the marketing team) on the listing on Amazon. The summary right now isn’t entirely accurate (there’s no magnolia or foxglove in the book), but 90% of it is. What I’ve mentioned here in this post you won’t read in the summary, or really anywhere. It’s just my personal thoughts about the book and the process it took to get there. So thank you for reading this!

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Spring Update: Self-Care, Masterclass, Studio shoot, and VAM Exhibition

Peach and Coral Paper Flower Arrangement by me now exhibiting at The Freedom Factory in Toronto.

The last few months have been really busy for me. 

Starting in mid-January, I started working on the paper flower book hardcore. I worked extensively with the editor to nail down  the flat plan (layout) of the book. I provided a sample tutorial with content and photos for review and once it was approved, I was on my way to shooting the remaining 30 tutorials. In February, I worked to finish the tutorials which often took me more than 3 hours to shoot, not the mention the hours to take to initially write it and then edit the photos and steps. 

In March, I was consumed with finishing the flowers for the arrangements for the book. The last two weeks of March were hellish (I don’t presume to know what it’s like in hell, but I think it likely involves being separated with your loved ones) and I was probably not very nice to be around. I worked day and night putting the arrangements together and shooting them. The two days that I shot were cloudy and rainy (quite normal during winter days here and not ideal for natural light). 

Immediately after the deadline, I slept an entire day! Much needed after 3 months of intensely doing nothing for myself.

Fresh and paper flower arrangement by me. Photograph by Kristin Ksjaar.

The following week, I took care of myself. I got my hair coloured and cut. I slept more. I also attended a still life floral workshop with Christin Geall and Kristin Ksjaar in Toronto. There were a group of 20 of us, with each of us having varying motives for attending the workshop. The most amazing part was being able to directly speak to and connect with Christin. You may know her from her beautiful floral arrangements but she actually considers herself a teacher and intellect first and foremost. It was incredibly rewarding being able to talk about what we have in common – writing a book (her’s will be published in 2020 and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!).

Fresh and paper flower arrangement by me. Photograph by Kristin Ksjaar.

I also learned a lot from Kristin, who creates these stunning floral images with thoughtful styling. Although we have very different aesthetics, it was so interesting hearing and seeing how she shoots her images because it opened up my eyes as to how I can use my camera in other ways. There was a surprise appearance from Kristin’s agent, Emily of Eye Buy Art who talked briefly about her position as an agent and how to elevate something into art which is something I am really interested in. I’ve been wanting to combine both fresh and paper flowers in an interesting way and I think this workshop kickstarted my pursuit. Truly an inspiring and motivating experience.

The students/attendees and instructors on the last day of the Masterclass (Photo credit: Caroline Tran)

Which leads me to the Masterclass in Monroe, Washington! This four-day conference was really an opportunity to get paper florists together from all over the world so we could all connect, share, and learn from each other. It was an incredibly empowering experience for us all – instructors and attendees alike – and an invaluable way to connect with other like-minded people. The most unexpected relationships that I developed was with Mike from Carte Fini and Jodi from Design Master (so expect to see more collaborations with these two). Both of them actively engaged with the students and were genuinely interested in our craft. Unfortunately I didn’t get too much time to connect with Lia Griffith (although I might at a later event this year), however, her keynote speech was truly inspiring.

The students were enthusiastic, energized, and just so so friendly! We could not have asked for a better group of gals. Every morning they arrived at 8 am sharp for a hot breakfast and chatted with each other while the instructors prepped the classroom for the morning workshops. They were all hands-on during the large installation workshop; together they put together a large moon gate arch, a hanging installation, and flower tattoos on the fireplace mantle. The beautiful tablescape was arranged by the wedding planner Rebecca Grant of New Creations Weddings, along with rentals from Cort and the participating of so many other vendors. Our photographers Kelly Lemon and Caroline Tran took turns taking professional photos of the installations and with a model bride and groom, holding onto the students’ paper flowers and bouquets. 

The photos here are those taken by Caroline Tran of the students, flowers, and the workshop. I can’t show you all of the photos taken because we are hoping to get published. There will be more images and student testimonials over at The Paper Florists Collective website.

Once I came back from the Masterclass, I had to clean up my studio space so I could ready it to be shot by Amber Ellis of Creating Light Studio and Ray Kwok of Ray Kwok Films. I kind of wished I had booked this session later, but it’s done now and I’m so excited for the images from these two talented photographer and videographer. With the launch of the book in the fall, I wanted to revamp my website (that sorely needs updating) and more on brand images. I also needed a decent headshot for the book. The book publisher had asked me if I was interested in doing a promo video for the book, and well, since I know a fantastic videographer, I decided to hire Ray to film it for me.

While I was writing the book, I was approached by Tiffany of The Freedom Factory Toronto to submit a proposal to be included in their Visual Arts Movement Exhibition at their yoga studio/gallery space. Tiffany and her mother are artists themselves and their goal is to provide a space for emerging local artists to show/sell their work without having to pay hefty fees or commission to traditional galleries. Since I actually have flowers in my possession for once, I said yes and re-arranged my flowers so they don’t look like the ones from the book. Four of the arrangements will be on display at The Freedom Factory until this Saturday April 27. It’s entirely free to go in and view the art work. On Saturday, I’ll be present from 6 pm to 12 am for the reception. There will be live music, appetizers, and a cash bar. There is an entrance fee of $20 (kids are free). If you’re in the area, come! DM me or email me so I know to expect you. I’d love to talk paper flowers with you (or whatever else you want to chat about). You can even buy one of my pieces 😉

After the weekend, I’ll be running another workshop at The Paper Place and teaching the Icelandic Poppy. The Paper Place and I have plans to do one workshop a month during the summer so look out for more listings for Workshops!

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Dark Floral Gift Wrap

 

My online shop is FINALLY up! I always knew I needed a shop, but never took the steps because I was able to process all of my commissions directly with my clients. I’ve had this dream of making my own prints and stationary (and most of all, wallpaper), so I took the plunge and made this above, and this, below.

 

I can’t decide which dark floral gift wrap I like better: the charcoal black or the chestnut burgundy. Cannot. Decide. So I made them both, and they are both magnificent!! I couldn’t have asked for better results. The resolution came out perfect and the colours….I’m so glad that I edited the print to look like they’re emerging from the background.

 

Here’s the Black Charcoal:

The flowers look 3-D! Some of you even told me that they thought I had real flowers on top of the dark background!

 

Here’s the Chestnut Burgundy:

Here’s a little short video of what the dark floral gift wrap in charcoal black looks like.

 

This gift wraps come in a roll and measures 26″ wide by 72″ long. It should be enough to wrap 4 medium sized gifts. It’s printed on one side, with a satin finish, and on medium weight paper. I was surprised by how sturdy the paper is and in fact, I can imagine the same weight of paper for posters. You can purchase these gift wraps on my online shop now. I am offering very limited quantities so if you want one, get one (or two) fast! Only shipping within Canada and the US for now (shipping is a nightmare as expected).

I printed these through Spoonflower and I am very impressed by the quality, speed, and cost of their service. I have also listed these on my Spoonflower shop. I’ll definitely be using them again….wallpaper anyone???

Afterwards, I went a little mad taking photos of boxes wrapped in the gift wraps. I swear I took a million photos!

 

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