How long did you make paper flowers before you sold your first one?
I guess that depends on if family counts… I sold my first flowers to a non-family member about two months after I started making them. It gave me a real sense of validation.
What are your favorite colors to work with?
I get bored with the same colors after a while. I find myself really antsy and have to mix it up pretty regularly. If I’d have to pick, I would probably say either muted colors like dusty pink, white, and sage or really deep, rich colors like wine and plum.
Do you prefer to create a more realistic rendition or do you like to add whimsy to your flowers?
Realism, for sure. As I have frequently mentioned on IG, I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder when I was in my late teens. While the OCD behaviors have been managed over the past 15 years, the underlying perfectionism obsession lives on. I try to focus on this as a positive, but it does prevent me having more fun with what I could create. Adjusting my own definition of perfection will open an entirely new world, and it’s something I’m always working on.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice while first starting your paper flower journey, what would it be?
“Keep your focus.” In the beginning I hopped around from one thing to the next, which did serve to teach me a lot of different techniques, but really focusing on completing Project A before starting Project W. (Isn’t that all of us, though?)
What is the last thing you celebrated in your paper florist journey?
Really feeling confident in my ability to create new designs. Like everybody, I had to start learning from somewhere. Tiffany Turner’s book, ABC TV’s YouTube channel, Lia Griffith’s website – all these sources taught me different techniques. For the past few months, I’ve been able to set those aside and using the skills I learned, begin to confidently develop my own designs.
What is your absolute favorite tool to use?
My paper cutter, hands down. For the life of me, I can’t seem to cut a straight diagonal line. Using the paper cutter allows me to get that perfectly mitered edge, especially when I’m making a cut longer than whatever scissors I happen to be using!
What type of flower do you love making the most?
This question always stumps me. My favorite flowers to look at when they are done usually have a ton of fringing, but those are definitely NOT my favorite to make! Maybe a Black-Eyed Susan, because they are simple and they remind me of warm, breezy, late U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) summers growing up.
If you could describe your studio in three words, what would they be?
All. Over. House.
What do you do while you make flowers? Watch tv, listen to music or podcasts? Do tell all the details!
I would actually prefer not to know how many shows I have binge watched over the past 10 months. I think that number would be unsettling. I try to switch back and forth between podcasts, shows, and audio books, just to have some sort of rotation. Podcasts: This American Life, Snap Judgment, Stay Tuned with Preet, Frontline, Criminal, Serial – lots of storytelling, politics and true crime. TV: renovation shows, documentaries, crime, the latest trending things to stream. Books: suspense (or else my mind will just drift elsewhere and I’ll have to go back million times…)
If you could give one piece of advise to someone just starting out with paper flowers, what would it be?
Don’t be overly critical when comparing yourself to others. Allow yourself to take the time to hone the skills that others have already had the opportunity to do. Like most things in life - time, practice, and patience will get you where you want to go (I hope! I’m still pretty new to this path).
What are you most excited about in your life right now?
Outside of watching my kids grow and learn, all of the new opportunities that are opening up. Being able to make the art that I want to make and that people are interested in seeing more of it. It’s equally exciting and frightening. I don’t know where I’ll be in five years, but dreaming about it is half of the anxiety- I mean fun!
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