When was the first time you came across paper flowers and was it love at first sight?
I've always been creative and was looking for a something special and handmade I could make for one of my best friends 40th. I wanted to do a large initial (the letter K) I made the letter out of paper mache but it looked dull, plain, boring. Pinterest was my go to (isn't it all of ours!) I came across cardstock flowers and thought "perfect!" It only took the first one and yes, I was totally in love. Lia Griffith was my initial Flower Yoda! I became a member and then saw crepe paper...I purchased some from Cartotecnica Rossi and never looked back! My love affair for creating beautiful flowers and foliage out of crepe paper continues and develops...daily!
How long have you been making flowers before you decided to sell them?
I started with the very first cardstock flowers in February 2016. I experimented, played with different weights of crepe, techniques, colouring etc and stalked (!!) other Floral Artists and Florists until July 2017 when i took the plunge and joined Instagram and Facebook as Petals & Paper.
What are your absolute favorite tools?
My tacky glue and an old dowel from my husbands tool box! Oh and a good crime (fiction or non fiction) series/documentary on the TV!
What type of flower do you love making the most?
Whatever I'm making at the time! Seriously it's a problem! ha ha! I think I have a favourite, make something new and it's ALWAYS my new favourite. I'm also a complete sucker for foliage too...cant get enough of it.
If you could describe your studio in three words, what would they be?
My, dining, table! I long for a super organized, I can put my hands on anything and everything I need studio!! The current reality is materials, tools, objects and items for staging photos are splayed in 5 different locations around my house (basically wherever there is room!)
How is it working from home with a toddler?
Any tips for new parents trying to make an in home business work with a little one? Do it when you can! my son is 4 and starting school in September. Sometimes he happily "allows" me to tinker around during the day when he is not at Nursery, sometimes he doesn't! It really is hit and miss with day time creating, evenings after bed time is often when you get a chance to work. Nap times are a thing of the past!
What is the best part about where you live?
Everything! I'm a born and bred hometown girl, never lived anywhere else and wouldn't want to. I live in one of the most Southern parts of England in County called Dorset. We have some of the most breathtaking coastal lines! (Google Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Jurrasic Coast!) I can drive 15 minutes in any direction and I'm in forest, town, seaside, heathland or farmland. I'm only a 2-3 hour drive from London.
Is there anything that gets you recharged if you fall into a creative rut?
Music, music feeds my heart and soul! Also the acceptance that sometimes you need some down time. As creatives we feel we should have those creative juices flowing allll the time! Life doesn't always pan out that way. The important thing is to not let it linger, feel what you are feeling at that time but don't allow yourself to stagnate!
Where do you tend to find most of your inspiration?
My surroundings, my garden, friends and families gardens, strangers gardens (Yes we have all clambered, with respect into compromising positions to study those flowers!), flowers growing in the wild, botanical gardens and one of my favourites, National Trust gardens! As always other artists and florists. I'm so inspired by the work they create and the hard work that makes them so great! We really do have a great Community.
If you could go back in time and look over the shoulder of Gemma just starting out with paper flowers, what one bit of advice would you give her?
Just do do do. Don't overthink, just do. Do a mind dumping exercise. Write down everything you think you might want to explore with your business, short and long term goals, until your brain is empty, then focus on key areas. I learnt this further down the line and wish i had completed the exercise sooner as it really provided clarification for me!
Do you prefer to create a more realistic botanical rendition or do you like to add a bit of whimsy? My style is a complete mixture of both. I adore colour, any and all shades. I refer to myself as a colour fiend! I strive to create realism in the presentation of my flowers but with that little twist on nature, a pop of something you wouldn't expect to see.
What is it that you are super excited about in your life right now?
Its a mixture of super excited and apprehension! My son starting school means I will have 2 whole days to myself to concentrate on developing Petals & Paper! Whilst I feel amazing about this I am also so very sad that "Mummy and Leo days" are coming to an end. Its a new chapter for us both! I'm also working on my website which means I can better reach my ideal clients and have an avenue to refer customers to. It means that I will be able to connect with so many more people, connecting with others always makes me super excited!
Find more from Gemma Here:
We all have something in common, our love for paper floristry. Let's get to know each other a bit more, meet artists from all over the world in every walk of life!