In case you missed the news in my newsletter and social media, I launched my first online paper flower class last month! Since last year I’ve been looking at ways to make my London workshops more accessible to people wherever they live in the world and an online class seemed the best way to start. My first class is on the much- loved Peony flower. I thought I would give a little background as to why I’ve started to teach online.
– It’s much requested.
I get asked by people frequently for online classes, especially if they live outside the U.K. Tutorials can be great, but seeing a flower being made and talked through in depth can really help you to learn more easily and absorb what’s happening. There are often many steps to making a paper flower and there’s nothing more frustrating than an important photo or instruction not being included or explained in a tutorial, leaving you wondering what it is you need to do next.
– I can teach more than a regular workshop.
My regular in- person London classes tend to be around 2- 2 1/2 hours which usually allows for one flower to be made in that time. It would be lovely to be able to teach longer, advanced classes, but it’s not usually possible. By teaching online paper flower classes I can include extras that time doesn’t usually allow- how to make a bud, how to make the centre carpels and how to make a detailed leaf. All these things would take additional hours to teach in a usual class that I aren’t able to stretch to, but these have been included in my online Peony class. There’s no limitations at all as to what I can teach and how much content and value I can pass on to students by teaching online.
– I feel experienced enough.
I’ve been teaching workshops now for over 2 1/2 years and feel confident that I know what people struggle with when they’re making and how I can help them. I’ve watched students making flowers again and again, answered their questions, heard their concerns and assisted them with making their flowers. This has all helped me to put together the best class possible.
– Teaching workshops in- person is time consuming.
Teaching paper flower workshops in person is time consuming! Designing the flower, getting a great photo, booking a venue, selling the tickets, writing the class material, customer service, purchasing the materials, preparing the materials, and then finally travelling to the venue from Brighton and teaching the class, then travelling back afterwards. So much time! Once the online class is completed, it’s there for everyone to enjoy straight away, there’s no waiting for the workshop date. I do intend to carry on with my London workshops for the moment, but teaching online might give me more freedom as to which workshops I choose to teach in the future.
–I need time to develop my work.
I’ve also been finding it hard to find the hours to push my work forward, make things just for me and to improve. Teaching online will hopefully give me income and time to make better work. I have so many ideas in my head at the moment that I just don’t have time to get to. I’m hoping teaching online will help to ease the pressure and allow me to be at my desk making flowers more and at the same time developing new ideas for classes.
Thank you so much to everyone who has enrolled in the class already and offered support for this over the last couple of months. You can view details of the classover on Teachable here.
It’s coming up to the middle of the year now and I thought it would be a good opportunity to post a little update and mid- year review of some of the projects I’ve been lucky enough to have come my way so far this year.
In January I worked with Tatty Devine, making paper flowers inspired by pieces in their new SS17 collection. It was a really fun project, I really enjoyed working with such a colourful, fun brand. I loved their jewellery pieces with their Wisteria necklace and Kimono Bloom brooch being two of my favourites. They also posted an interview with me on their blog and we did a joint giveaway together at the time on our Instagram pages.
In February I was commissioned by Liberty London to make 100 paper corsage flowers for them to gift with purchase at their pop- up shop in Tokyo. I made flowers based around an English Marigold, changing the colours for yellow, pink and a classic Liberty purple. I was thrilled to work with them as Liberty is a firm favourite to visit when I’m in London.
In March and again in May/June I worked with with the stationery brand kikki.K. Firstly I worked with them on their Mother’s Day campaign, making paper anemone flowers in the colours of their new collection for their media packs and I also spent a weekend at their Guildford store making flowers for customers to receive as a gift with purchase.
Then in May I was lucky to work with them again, making a paper flower wall for their Chelsea Flower Show celebrations in Covent Garden Piazza. I made a peony flower wall backdrop for people to take selfies in front of, with kikki.K choosing to work in shades of pink and white. I also made ten large oversized flowers as props for people to hold as they posed for a selfie, along with a small display of flowers in their store window.
In April I also worked on a selection of forty flowers for a A/W 17 preview dinner for the fashion brand Uterque. I made a mix of paper Peonies, Ranunculus and Cosmos for this, and they were used to dress the table settings at the dinner. The beautiful tulips in the centre were by the amazing Flora Starkey.
It’s been such a busy six months, a big thank you to everyone who has worked with me and my flowers!
Happy New Year and I hope you had a great festive period. I thought I would start the new year by sharing some photos of the Christmas products I made and sold through my Etsy shop over the last few months.
Paper Fuchsia Christmas Tree Decorations
Paper Strawberry Decorations & Mistletoe
I got the idea for making strawberries from seeing a festive photograph on the Instagram feed of florists Swallows and Damsons
This year, I’m going to change the way I sell flowers online, moving away from making flowers to order and instead spending time making flowers over a month or so and then selling them in limited numbers in one go. I feel this will give me more time to experiment and more freedom to focus on new pieces and projects.
I’ve also updated this site with a new email newsletter sign up form in the footer of each page, so you can keep up to date with new workshop dates and events. I’m also sharing a paper flower making tip in each newsletter so if you would like to sign up, the form is at the bottom of each of my web pages.
As part of London Design Festival 2016 I installed paper hydrangeas in the window of stationers Quill London, which were on show from the 17th- 25th September. In total I made 1700 tiny hydrangea flowers in just over two weeks. Visitors to the installation could also learn to make a flower themselves and add it to the display.
A huge thank you to Quill for inviting me to be part of their London Design Festival event.
Over the August bank holiday I took part in the John Lewis Rooftop Etsy Takeover on Oxford Street. In total there were 20 Etsy sellers displaying and selling their handmade items under beautiful open skies. I chose to showcase some of my oversized peonies as well as my lifelike ranunculus, peonies and anemones.
I can’t believe how much time has flown since my last post on here. Updating this blog more regularly is definitely something I want to spend more time on. There has been a lot happening with A Petal Unfolds over the last few months as well as my Etsy shop being busy, and there are exciting projects in the pipeline too. I thought I would post a little round up today of some of the completed projects I’ve been working on with my paper flowers over the last few months and some of the new work I’ve been making.
Oversized Paper Flowers
I’ve been approached by numerous clients this year asking about oversized paper flowers as they were perfect for the events and displays they were getting together. I felt that I needed to start spending more time on producing flowers at a larger scale and rethinking techniques and constructions. I’ve made this a personal project for when I have a little free time which isn’t as often as I would like but I’m determined to build up a portfolio of these. I started by making an oversized version of my popular paper Peony flower and the flowerhead is about 35cm in diameter.
Later I added an open Ranunculus to join the Peony and I’m looking forward to adding more.
I was so thrilled to be contacted by an editor at Martha Stewart Living earlier this year and seeing their email come through was a real shock. They wanted to post a feature on me and my work on their site along with a DIY paper flower garland tutorial from me. This has now gone live and you can see the feature here.
A big thank you to Alexandra Churchill at Martha Stewart for getting in touch with me and bringing everything together so well.
A couple of weeks ago I made paper flowers with guests at the Blogtacular Paper Maker’s Party at West Elm in London. I chose these simple paper primrose flowers as the project for the evening and they were very popular, there was barely a seat free at my table for the entire evening. I’m going to write a full post about this, as I attended the blogging conference the day after as well so this post will be coming up soon.
I’ve started using Snapchat over the last couple of months. It feels like a lot of creators have started to jump on there in a fearful response to the changes Instagram have been announcing lately. My username on there is APetalUnfolds and I tend to share behind the scene peeks at the paper flowers I’m making at my desk before I am ready to photograph them for Instagram. It’s great for more spontaneous images and it’s refreshing to not have to worry about follower numbers (people can’t see them on there) and taking the perfect photo like I can on Instagram. I also like to use it at workshops and events.
A couple of my favourite people to follow are StudioDIY and Jeff Mindell, who are Kelly from the Studio DIY blog and her husband Jeff. They use the app really well and share fun insights into their life in LA. I always look forward to their snaps.
Following on from the Press Day last year where I made paper hydrangeas, Cath Kidston got in touch to ask if I would work with them again to bring paper flowers to their Mother’s Day campaign. With the hydrangea being their new floral print for Spring/Summer, they asked if I would demonstrate making the flowers with customers in their flagship store over Mother’s Day weekend. I had been thinking about going back to the hydrangea again in my personal work, so I was really happy to be going back to it with Cath Kidston.
I also made hydrangea centrepieces for the crafting table along with 120 singular flowers to give out to customers over the weekend.
When it came to the Mother’s Day weekend, I was very lucky to be given a space in the window of their Piccadilly store, in full view of a busy tourist spot, with the Royal Academy directly opposite and Fortnum and Mason’s just next door. At first it was a little unnerving- I’m not used to being the centre of attention to passers-by and seeing people stopping to watch me and sometimes taking photos felt uncomfortable. But it wasn’t long before I got used to it and started to feel more at ease.
I hadn’t had my work in direct view of the public like this before and it was great to see peoples reactions. Some people stopped to make a flower, others wanted to watch me make one so they could see how they were made. Children wanted to make them while Mum spent time shopping and then gave the flower to their Mum for Mother’s Day which was so sweet! Others simply wanted to take a flower away with them.
It was great to be in store and do something new so a big thank you to Cath Kidston for asking me to work with them again.
I’ve been making paper roses over the last few weeks for the window of luxury perfume brand Floris at their beautiful Jermyn Street store in London.
The roses were to be used for the window launch of their new limited edition Eau de Parfum ‘A Rose For …..’. Only 100 bottles of the scent have been produced and each bottle has the handwritten name of the recipient on the label. The scent is inspired by a visit to the rose fields of Morocco.
I made 20 regular sized roses along with four oversized roses in deep shades of reds and pinks with a small highlight of cream and white- perfect colours that I usually love to work with. The oversized roses were each about 25cm in diameter.
The window was designed and installed by One Big Company so a big thank you to them as well as Floris for asking me to take part in such a gorgeous project.
With the New Year well and truly here and already being well in to January, I thought I would update you on what has been happening this month. With time to reflect over the holidays, I started writing a list of things that I wanted to concentrate on in 2016- flowers that I want to make, the direction of my work, things within my business that I felt needed I needed to spend more time on. The list quickly felt overwhelming so I decided to focus on one task at a time, with the first thing being refreshing my Etsy shop. There is still a lot more I want to do with it, but I’m pleased to have added some Cosmos and Daisy flowers on there to give people more choice.
It was a real boost to my early January to have also been included in Design*Sponges’ round up of Paper Flower Makers to Follow on Instagram. It is always a real honour to be featured on Design*Sponge and I couldn’t be more grateful for the support that Grace Bonney continues to give to the art of paper flower making. Thank you so much Grace!
As well as making flowers to photograph for my Etsy shop, I have started to work with the cherry blossom flower for upcoming Spring workshops with the lovely Quill London. I’m so excited to try different varieties of the flower, before making a flower that I will take to the workshops.
New heavyweight papers from the AW/16 collection of Cartotecnica Rossi have arrived in my studio and I will be working with these papers more over the next month, with a full blog post on this to come.
I’ve started using the wintry coloured papers for foliage and I’m enjoying experimenting with the heavier weight and darker colours. I started with some feathery green foliage and then used the lovely grey shades for some Dusty Miller.
I’m heading back home for the Christmas holiday tomorrow so wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope you have a relaxing break- I know that I cannot wait for it!
I also wanted to thank you for your support in helping to make 2015 an exciting year for A Petal Unfolds. Hopefully there will be lots of new things in store for my flowers next year and more tales to tell.
I’ve published a Steller Story looking back over the last 12 months of paper flowers, with 12 of my favourite images from the year. You can take a look here.