Up next in our artist interview series, meet the lovely Quynh Nguyen of Pink and Posey! We had so much fun getting to know her a bit more over the course of this interview. She’s a true master of her craft and her work is a great inspiration to us all! Stay tuned for more artist interviews to come in the upcoming weeks…
LG: How long have you been making paper flowers?
QN: I first started my paper flower journey in the spring of 2014 while working as an event planner, helping a friend with her wedding. She wanted lots of paper flowers for her special day and I told her, of course, I could make it happen. Creating those flowers made me realize I truly enjoyed the creative process. Since then, I have continued to evolve and have made hundreds of more flowers and friends. It has been an amazing journey filled with paper flowers and new relationships, with talented and wonderful people, both online and in person.
LG: Where did you learn to make paper flowers?
QN: I have always been fascinated by flowers and wanted to become a Master Gardener at one point. My focus was rerouted when I learned about flowers made of crepe paper, which led me in this different but wonderful direction. I am completely self-taught and love that I can pursue my interest in flowers while continuing to work with my hands to create art. Through the process of recognizing the intricate beauty in each flower, I meticulously taught myself to create the very colors, textures, and shapes I was studying. Meanwhile, throughout each stage of development, I have found immense inspiration in the beauty captured by artists around me. I’d like to thank Lia Griffith, Lynn Dolan, Tiffanie Turner, Ann Wood, Margie Keates, Jennifer Tran, and so many other amazing paper flower artists for their contributions to the paper flower community and for the motivation that their work and their stories have provided.
LG: Tell us about the first paper flowers you ever made.
QN: I started making paper flowers with cardstock paper and my first floral bouquet had more than a hundred paper flowers in it! I’m still proud of that first arrangement, but the materials and my artistic process have evolved quite a bit to involve crepe paper and different techniques.
LG: What do you love most about making paper flowers?
QN: I love the challenge of creating flowers as realistic as possible. I like the idea that if you sliced my paper flowers in half, they would be botanically correct. Another aspect that I enjoy is the research that goes into each flower, which has allowed me to see beauty in the smallest of details. I owe a lot of how I see the world to this art that I have been lucky enough to be a part of.
LG: What’s your greatest challenge when making paper flowers?
QN: It’s easy to copy another person’s work, but the challenging and fun aspect is how to make it completely unique. Trying to find my own unique style and technique is what motivates me to continue to grow and change. I feel that I am finally hitting my stride with this art and that my technique is meeting my creative vision.
LG: Where does your design inspiration come from? How do you develop a flower design?
QN: My inspiration comes from nature itself, but sometimes it’s hard to find a live specimen, so I go to books that have beautiful botanical prints that break down all of the different flower parts. I also use Google or flower growers’ websites to research the different flower types and colors. There are so many wonderful flower growers that specialize in specific flowers’ types. It’s amazing to see all of the different qualities and varieties of flowers that are available and grown.
LG: What kind of paper do you love to use?
QN: I love to use German crepe paper called doublette or “Gloria.” It usually comes in 90-gsm and comes double-sided in color. I love the versatility and how easily I can color the paper with alcohol based markers, dyes, or pan pastels to add subtle hints of colors on the edges or hearts of the petals. To protect the flowers, I use tint sprays from Design Master that keep the flowers from fading over time. Another crepe paper that I love to use is Italian crepe paper. It comes in 180-gsm. I prefer to use this paper for creating large wall flowers because it adds such good structure and gives beautiful movements to the flower.
LG: What are your go-to tools when it comes to paper flowers making?
QN: I love my Kai scissors and always have two sizes nearby. My staple scissors that I use to cut everything are my Kai N5210 8-inch. When I need to cut smaller details or fine fringes, my Kai N5165 6.5-inch are my go-to. Another piece of equipment that I can’t live without is my paper cutter from Westcott Trim Air. It makes cutting bulk straight lines a breeze and it keeps all my petals uniform and easy to process.
LG: Do you have a paper flower-making top tip you could share?
QN: Keep evolving your style. Don’t stick to one style or technique. Explore and challenge yourself to make a better stamen or a better petal. Try a new coloring medium technique or try a new tool. Don’t be stagnant. Continue to challenge yourself to make a better flower.
LG: What advice would you give to someone wanting to make paper flowers?
QN: Talk to other paper flower makers and ask questions. Join a paper flower community like The Paper Florist group on Facebook. There are paper flower challenges each month and meetings where we talk about the different challenges of creating and making flowers… Everything from selling them to clients to how to craft a specific type of flower. It’s a warm and informative community that loves to share techniques and help one another grow as paper flower artists.
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