When did you start making paper flowers?
I discovered the world of paper flowers when we (my now husband and I), were planning our wedding in 2016. We wanted to design and make as much as we could ourselves, we’re both creative and arty, so it seemed a no brainer really. When purchasing some craft supplies for this purpose, a crepe paper flower kit caught my eye, I thought it might be something I could make for the wedding without really having an idea for what purpose exactly. Along the aisle in the church, I made peonies and roses which were attached on the end of the pews, and in the tipi where our reception was held, I made floral name place holders, plus origami cuboids, and large origami sweet/candy shaped boxes filled with sweets for the children. The floral name place holders were something that each guest could take away with them to remember the day, and I remember some people putting them in their hair afterwards.
Once I’d made a few flowers I was hooked! After the wedding I started pursuing it more seriously. I soon found lots of other paper flower artists/florists on Instagram and was amazed and inspired by what they were doing. I discovered the Cartotecnica Rossi crepe paper and bought a couple of books and that was it really.
What is your absolute favorite tools?
My favourite tools are my Fiskars scissors. I have a small pair for detailed work and one for less detailed and general cutting, (and I mustn’t forget the scissor sharpener either, an essential item!!). I think having good quality scissors is a must, especially for the more detailed work, they need to be comfortable and robust. I also use ordinary children’s glue spreaders. I tried using a glue brush, but I found I kept putting them on the side after use and forgetting about them. I gave up after I’d ruined about 5 or 6, lol.
What type of flower do you love making the most?
Tough question… I love most of them. Hydrangeas and Agapanthus are quite involved; and have several stages in the making process. When arranging all the individual flowers into the final flowerhead, it feels quite a sculptural process, which is satisfying. But then making a dozen or so hybrid tea roses, which are much simpler is also enjoyable.
If you could describe your studio in three words, what would they be?
Chaotic, creative, great view
How is working from home? Pros!? Cons!?
In general working from home is fine, at least it’s not far to commute! Economically of course it makes sense, and I can fit housework and chores etc. around working on the flowers. On the con side, I probably work longer hours and it can get a bit lonely at times. Plus, the flowers seem to invade the rest of the house, not just my studio! In the long term I’d like to work in a studio/workshop complex where there are other artists and crafts people around to bounce ideas off, and to have a chat with over a cuppa!
How long did you make paper flowers before you sold your first one?
I think about 9 or 10 months.
What are your favorite colors to work with?
I think pinks and reds. Not because they are my favourite colours, but because the selection of crepe available in these shades is fantastic. There are pale hues, vibrant hues, bluer toned hues, salmon and peach hues, dusky hues, plum hues, I could go on…
Do you prefer create a more realistic rendition or do you like to add whimsy to your flowers?
Both! There is definitely something innately pleasing in creating a bloom that is realistic, especially if you can imbue it with the delicacy of a real flower. That said, creative license is a wonderful thing, and I really enjoyed working on a collection on echinacea’s recently. I accentuated the colours and the features of the flowers, and hopefully achieved something that was fun and bright.
What do you do while you make flowers? Watch tv, listen to music or podcasts? Do tell all the details!
Sometimes I’ll listen to music, or BBC Radio 4 on the radio iPlayer, I love the radio dramas, plays and comedy. Mostly though, I listen to audiobooks, and I’m a fiend for a 20th Century ‘whodunnit’. Nothing too scary; I once read several Patricia Cornwell novels in succession and had to sleep with the light on afterwards! Lol. These days I prefer something gentler, such as an Agatha Christie narrated by Hugh Fraser or Sherlock Holmes narrated by Stephen Fry, nothing too taxing. Actually, just across the water from where we live, Joan Hickson (aka the Miss Marple, (in my humble opinion)) used to live, and 20th Century mystery writers Dorothy L Sayers and Margery Allingham once lived only a few miles away.
At the moment I’m listening to Margery Allingham’s Campion novels. They’re mostly set in London, Suffolk and Essex, so it’s a nostalgic listen to an area of the country I know well.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out with paper flowers, what would it be?
Either, buy a book or two about making paper flowers, or watch plenty of online tutorials. I wished I’d watched more when I was starting out. The books and tutorials will really give a beginner the skills and ideas to improve and develop.
What are you most excited about in your life right now?
In the flower world, Daphne Fitch! I’m busy planning a website and putting together a product offering to launch in 2019, which is why I’ve kept things quite low key so far. My name is actually Sophie Griffin, and I named my business, Daphne Fitch, partly in tribute to my grandmother. Daphne was her middle name and Fitch her maiden name. I’ve always liked it, and thought it had a slightly retro and quirky feel to it. My grandmother was a big influence in my early years, she was great fun, and she always encouraged me creatively. She herself was super talented, and the things she made were beautiful. I had tried various name combinations with floral, flower, paper etc., but either someone was using that name already or I didn’t like it. I just kept coming back to Daphne.
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