artist interview series margie keatesPaper Flower Paradise

Next up in our Artist Interview Series… Margie Keates of the Lovely Ave. In this interview, Margie welcomes us into her wondrous world of paper flowers. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for even more interview inspiration as we sit down with some of our other favorite Lia Griffith community members! 

LG: What do you love most about making paper flowers? 

MK: I absolutely love creating something that brings happiness and excitement to people. A lot of people have never seen flowers like ours and I love seeing their faces light up when they see what we have created. That happiness is infectious and it makes all of our hard work totally worth it. 

LG: Where did you learn to make paper flowers? 
 
MK: I first found paper flowers on Pinterest and my first attempt was from a Lia Griffith tutorial I found in 2012! Her tutorials taught me the basics and I just kept pushing my own boundaries and became more self taught, and now all of my templates are my own. 
 
LG: What’s your greatest challenge when making paper flowers? 
 
MK: I am a perfectionist and so it is really hard for me not to want my flower to look symmetrical and perfect. Of course that is not what nature looks like, so I have to fight my urge to make the flower perfect. My work has gotten one hundred times better by letting the idea of “perfection” go. Now when I create a new flower I almost let the paper tell me what to do and the end result is usually not what I had in my head, but it’s even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. 
 
LG: Tell me about the first paper flowers you made. 
 
MK: My first flowers were classic roses made out of craft paper. They were very stiff and not life like at all. I was very proud of them and I still look back to see just how much we have grown. 
 
LG: Where does your design inspiration come from? How do you develop a flower design? 
 
MK: I am a little obsessed with real flowers. I follow a lot of real florists on Instagram because in the end, nature is what inspires me the most. I completely understand that I will never be able to replicate nature, but I definitely want to keep working towards making the most real-looking blooms because I respect the real deal so much. 
 
My first attempt at floral design was a complete mess. I realized that my type A personality and perfectionism was also hurting me in this area. So I tried to relax and let the flowers and foliage tell me where they wanted to go. I also attended a florist workshop where I learned the basic skills of arranging bouquets and centerpieces and that has helped me grow as an artist. 
 
LG: What kind of paper do you love to use? 
 
MK: I love using high quality crepe paper from Italy and Germany. I love the flexibility that the paper provides along with the gorgeous new color palettes that are becoming available to us. Of course some of my favorite paper is from the one and only Lia Griffith! 
 
LG: What are your go-to tools when it comes to paper flower making? 
 
MK: A good pair of scissors, glue gun, small scissors for precision cutting, high quality wire (16g), and good floral tape. 
 
LG: Do you have a paper flower making top tip you could share? 
 
MK: Do not compare your work to anyone else. Trust yourself and know that what you create is incredible because YOU made it. Take deep breaths and listen to the paper, and let your fingers do the work. I promise your work will get better over time. Respect the process. 
 
LG: What advice would you give to someone wanting to make paper flowers? 
 
MK: HAVE FUN! You have the power to bring happiness to people and that is amazing. Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to show people your work. Comparison is the thief of joy, so do your best to be inspired by others but don’t be too hard on yourself. Be proud of what you created. There is only one you and the flowers that you create will be unique to you. Last but not least, create relationships with other paper florists. We are such a loving group and we love helping each other. 
 

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Below, check out some of Margie’s gorgeous creations. Check out Margie’s Instagram and Facebook, and browse The Lovely Ave’s website here — papercut paradise awaits! 

Follow us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter, and sign up for a Lia Griffith membership to join our crafting community! For a chance to have your work featured on our social media, use #MadeWithLia when sharing photos of your latest projects. Happy crafting! ~ Lia & Team

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