Give a warm welcome to Jessie Chui — another one of our very favorite paper flower artists! We were thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with her. Her unique vision is inspiring… she is a true artist of her craft. Stay tuned for more artist interviews to come!
LG: What do you love most about making paper flowers?
JC: I love that I can create beautiful art with just paper and glue — that the process can be creatively challenging and the end result, incredibly rewarding.
LG: Where did you learn to make paper flowers?
JC: Initially, I learned to make paper flowers through other paper flower artists’ online tutorials. Lia’s tutorials gave me the confidence to start creating my own templates. Livia Cetti’s paper flower book taught me basic paper flower techniques. In time, I became more and more comfortable and confident about my skills and slowly developed my own techniques and templates.
LG: What’s your greatest challenge when making paper flowers?
JC: I’m obsessed with getting the color of a flower right. That might mean making a paper flower in a color that appears in nature, or having all of the colors of the flowers/foliage in an arrangement work together, or creating depth and texture within the color. Most flowers do not come in colors that fall within the crepe paper color spectrum, so my brain is always thinking up ways to create the color I want. I believe making petals in the right color and with the right details make them more life-like, which is my ultimate goal.
LG: Tell us about the first paper flowers you made.
JC: I made my first paper flowers with crepe paper for my wedding about three years ago. I was very ambitious and wanted to make all of my centerpiece arrangements, bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages. I made all of my flowers over the course of five months during after work hours. Let me tell you, I will never do that again! It was so incredibly time consuming that I think I did nothing else during those months but cut petals. From that experience, I discovered that while I absolutely love recreating and reinterpreting a flower that appears in nature, I love designing arrangements and bouquets with paper flowers even more.
LG: Where does your design inspiration come from? How do you develop a flower design?
JC: My contact with flowers is pretty much limited to the floral section of the grocery store across the street. Sad, but true. So when I actually visit gardens and nurseries, I am fascinated and inspired by all of the flowers I see. I usually go home and Google their names to read up about them. I follow a lot of florists on Instagram. I own several floral arrangement books. I stare at the beautiful photos for hours, dissecting the color, shape, and form of the arrangement or flower. I think about what I can use that flower for. Usually, that’s enough inspiration for me to try to attempt to recreate it.
LG: What kind of paper do you love to use?
JC: Doublette crepe paper! It feels like butter in my hands, and it’s the perfect weight for flower petals. I also like to use German fine crepe, Italian 60 and 180 grams, and Chinese 100 and 180 grams. Each of these types of crepe paper have their own unique characteristics and colors. I generally ask myself which crepe paper has the color I’m looking for, and then by process of elimination, determine which paper weight is suitable in light of the flower structure. My absolute favorite crepe paper is Lia Griffith’s fine crepe in Aubergine and Green Tea. I love them so much that I have to cross the border to buy them and bring them back to Canada!
LG: What are your go-to tools when it comes to paper flower making?
JC: I don’t think that I ever use a piece of crepe paper without manipulating the color in some way, by dying, bleaching, or coloring it. I find it creates more depth and texture to the crepe paper and overall paper flower. My go-to tools are water, bleach, inks, tea, spray paint, and pastels. In addition to sharp scissors, I also use a short piece of 16-gauge stem wire to curl and shape petals, and a pencil to roll and apply dahlia petals.
LG: Do you have a paper flower making top tip you can share with our readers?
JC: Familiarize yourself with the unique characteristics of each type and weight of crepe paper. I think my breakthrough moment was when I began letting the paper’s characteristics determine how I use it, what flower to make with it, and what techniques to use. It really elevated my art. I have to credit Lynn Dolan for this. I learned from her a variety of paper manipulation techniques that I now use for many of my paper flower creations in my own unique way.
LG: What advice would you give to someone wanting to make paper flowers?
JC: Embrace the imperfections. There’s so much beauty in imperfection and asymmetry. Nature is not perfect and so you should not expect your work to be.
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