It’s been a little over a month since I finished this purple and pink crepe paper bouquet and delivered it to the lovely bride, however, this bouquet has been in the making since January of this year. As fate would have it, I ran into an old friend at a social gathering, and she took a chance on me by asking me to make a paper bouquet for her soon-to-be sister-in-law, Daphne. She wanted to gift Daphne with a bouquet that would be her wedding keepsake and stay with her for many years to come. Of course I said Yes to the bouquet!
After speaking directly with Daphne about what she wanted in her bouquet, I came up with this: A Study in Purple.
“A Study in Purple” was an experiment of sort and demonstrated my work in progress of this bouquet. My intention was to see how I could incorporate colours that would make the bouquet look both light and dark, which I’ve learned is something I love to do in my arrangement – using colour to create movement and interest. I thought it was at a really interesting spot, at a fork in the road so to speak. Adding any more light coloured or dark coloured flowers would turn it into something different.
**In real life, the marionberry colour is closer to a dark fuschia, and the lavender purples have a warmer tone rather than a blue/cool tone. Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture the marionberry colour properly so my photos really do not do the colour justice. As for the lavender purples, it seems to be a Save to Web issue on as it looks perfect on Photoshop, but not so much here.
In the end, after consulting with Daphne, I added pops of pink. The final bouquet looked like this:
A little different. I know.
It was actually hard to let go of my “A Study in Purple” bouquet because that had been etched in my mind for so long (several months actually).
Some of you have asked me about my process: Prior to making any flowers, I generally plan out my bouquet and make a list of colours and flowers. I’m not a florist by any means, so I’m quite inexperienced at putting a bouquet together without extensive planning. I am also not familiar with a lot of flowers, foliage, fruit branches etc. so I do a lot of research on the Internet, Googling for foliage or flowers in a certain colour. Thank goodness seasons are not an issue for us paper florists!
First and foremost, I see my bouquet in colours before anything else. Tone and saturation are very important to me, so I have to know what materials/colours I am working with. I find it very helpful to set out my crepe paper to see what colours I have that would work together. When I’ve determined what the colours of the bouquet will be, and how the colours will work against/with each other, I match my colours with a flower. There’s a lot of Googling, looking through my flower books, and visiting nurseries (if possible) at this stage, looking for inspiration. I then consider if the flowers I chose (if given a list by the client, I’ll first consider those flowers) would work next to each other considering their shapes and sizes. If the bouquet has more than 1 or 2 main colours, I’ll take images of flowers from the Internet, cut them out, and paste them into a Photoshop document to see if they work with each other. It’s more of a guide for me to work towards, rather than a client proposal, as it helps me visualize the final product.
There’s a challenge in every bouquet, and for this one, I found it challenging to incorporate a pink that would work. Light pink would look too sweet with the other light lavenders and purples. A bright medium pink would look out of place in a bouquet with such rich and royal colours. My friend Marilyn had mentioned she liked the crepe colour marionberry, and after some further experimentation, I decided that was the right colour for this bouquet. It wasn’t too cool or too warm, and looked rich enough to compliment the purples.
Daphne had mentioned that she liked cascading bouquets (really, who doesn’t?). So I created a semi-cascading effect to emulate a cascading bouquet by using only foliage and hellebores. Hellebores looks very natural lower to the ground and at the base of arrangements. They come in so many subtly muddy and dark colours that they’ve become my favourite flowers to work with to add visual interest. In this bouquet, I thought they looked like little butterflies. I really love the effect they created.
I love working with fine crepe and there just isn’t enough variety of purple. I already dip dyed and bleached my purple crepe paper to get some variation, but there wasn’t enough variation to my liking. I needed a warmer tone of purple, like my dress. What was needed was the purple of a foxglove. So I made a foxglove using Copic markers in the purple I wanted.
I am so happy that I made the foxglove! It was a bit of a gamble as I had never made it before and it was one of the last flowers I made during crunch time. But I’m so glad I did. The colour and pattern creates a wonderful contrast to the numerous round blooms. It draws the eye upward with its tower of bell-like flowers. It is a bit wild and I love that it’s not a typical wedding flower. I placed it in it’s natural position – straight and upward – as if shooting out of the soil with green succulents at its base.I positioned the foxglove so it was off-centre and bending slightly backwards to reduce it’s height, mindful of where the bride’s face would be. To support the tower of blooms from shifting side to side, stems of foliage were placed behind and slightly around it for support.
In a bouquet this wide, there is a tendency for the flower stems to want to shift around and move back and forth while carried, thereby losing the shape and arrangement I had carefully curated. My solution is to use foliage to function as structural support, placing them directly behind the flower stems that have long stems and/or prone to moving. I slip the leaves and shorter foliage between/around blooms to create further stability. I find foliage in the 180 grams works better than any other weight of crepe paper because it is stiff enough to hold its shape and support other stems. So that is why you’ll see that I have a TON of foliage behind my bouquets – it’s not just for fullness or interest; It’s a crucial structural element for a bouquet this size and shape.
I am also mindful that the bouquet has to look good from all angles. I can’t control the angle in which photos of the bride and bouquet will be taken, but I try, to the best of my ability, to ensure there is sufficient visual interest on all sides. So I make sure to put flowers on both sides of the bouquet and the top/back. I don’t put too many flowers in the back because I want the bride to hold the bouquet close to her body. If I put too many flowers, it would be too large for her to carry comfortably and it would look too big. The bouquet should be an extension of the bride’s body and therefore should not overwhelm or overshadow her.
I am extremely fortunate that Kat approached me specifically because she liked my work and my style, and not because I was the only paper flower artist she knew. I could not have made this bouquet without having confidence that she and Daphne would like the bouquet without ever really seeing a proposal. Kat was my very first paying customer and I am forever grateful that she gave me the opportunity to show what I can make, if given the chance. After posting “A Study in Purple” on my Instagram account, it led to a lot of interest in my work and led to subsequent commissions. I have Kat and Daphne to thank for this.