susan beech paper flower artist uk a petal unfolds

A Petal Unfolds


-A PETAL UNFOLDS-

Hello I’m Susie, a UK paper flower artist and founder of A Petal Unfolds.

Originally I grew up in Staffordshire and moved to take a BA in Fine Art from the University of Brighton. I’m now based in the seaside town of Eastbourne, East Sussex and work from my home studio. I began working with paper 7 years ago and founded A Petal Unfolds in 2015.

HOW I WORK

Specialising in making paper flowers and botanicals, I individually hand cut and shape each petal from the finest quality crepe papers. This paper gives the flowers a beautifully natural quality. If possible I will work directly from a real flower specimen to observe, record and replicate the fine details. Reference images from botanical books and photographs also help me to create a piece as realistic as possible.

My inspiration often comes from contemporary floristry as well as other areas of the art and design world, such as fashion and interiors. 

WHAT I DO

I’m regularly commissioned to make paper flowers for wonderfully diverse commercial projects. From contributing tutorials for craft publications, to making corsage flowers for Liberty London and their pop-up in Tokyo. I also lead crafting sessions and demonstrations at corporate events and  teach paper flower workshops in London. I’ve taught internationally and had the pleasure of teaching for institutions such as the Financial Times and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Social media is also very important to my business and I have engaged following on Instagram of over 50,000 followers. 

When I’m not making flowers and working on A Petal Unfolds, I love travelling, long walks along the seafront, cinema and art gallery trips, all things vintage, charity shops and nice food!

Please do get in touch if you like what I do, or for commission and workshop enquires. I would love to hear from you.

 


BOOK & MAGAZINE FEATURES

‘Paper Craft’ by Dorling Kindersley 2015 (Multiple paper flower tutorials)

Papercrafts- A Maker’s Guide by Victoria & Albert Museum/Thames & Hudson. (Japanese Anemone Tutorial)

91 Magazine SS17 issue

Viva Brighton Sept 2018


SELECT ONLINE PRESS

Martha Stewart, Design*Sponge, Papier, Khoollect, Tatty Devine


-FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS-

 
What kind of paper do you use?

I use crepe paper to make all of my paper flowers. This is because it has stretch to it and can more easily be made in to a lovely shape. I’ll most often use German and Italian papers, ranging in weight from 60- 180g. My favourite papers to use are the more heavyweight papers. This is because I find them the most adaptable and can create lovely tiny details as well as large scale flowers. 

What is your process for making a flower?

First I try to obtain a real specimen of a flower if I can. This is the best way to observe all the details. Often I will dissect a flower to examine every part of it and to draw the shape of the petals. I’ll also use Instagram and Google to research images of the flower. This can often give me inspiration in how I want the paper flower to look too. I then move on to choosing papers. I’m often led by colour, but the texture and weight of the paper plays a part too. I will then make a first mock-up and take it from there, making it again in another paper if needed until it feels right.

What is your favourite flower to make?

I love so many flowers that it is hard to choose! Making new pieces is most exciting for me, so my favourites tend to change with whatever I’m making at the moment. I do have a soft spot for Hollyhocks though- how can anyone not?!

What equipment do you use?

My most used tools and materials would be floral wire for the flower stems and wire cutters. Aleene’s tacky glue is essential and a good pair of precision scissors for detail work. I always keep a ruler handy and a good mechanical pencil for drafting templates, sketching or making notes. My favourite method of colouring the paper is with soft pastel and I usually use Sennelier pastels. 

How long does it take to make a paper flower?

It does take time to make a realistic looking flower. Even for a flower that I’ve made many times before it can take me an hour to make one piece. If I’m making something new and it’s very time consuming- like a hydrangea, it can take days. I plan heavily when teaching workshops and at events, so that the flowers can be made more quickly.

Do you ever take on an assistant to work at A Petal Unfolds? 

I do occasionally work with an assistant if I have a large commission to complete in a short period of time. Usually I would share opportunities like this on my social media, so do please follow me on those channels if you might like to work with me sometime and you will be first to know.