The Woman Who Makes Spring Flowers with Paper
Have you ever had a bouquet so pretty that you hated to see it go? We all have. One of the seductions of fresh flowers is that their presence is fleeting. Fresh-cut blooms are to be momentarily possessed, experienced and then sadly discarded. It is a kind of luxury.
But what if you didn’t have to part with a particularly sentimental bouquet? Paper florist and artist Quynh Nguyen has a very precise talent for replicating flora with reams of crepe paper. Her work has been displayed in store windows, at weddings and in restaurants. Brides who are keen to keep their bouquets beyond their wedding day would be wise to contact her business, Pink & Posey.
We spoke with Quynh about the extreme precision and delicacy of her work, how she got started and how we can too (although our results might more closely mimic those sad tissue flowers of our youth). Turns out she teaches workshops!
How did you get your start as a paper florist?
About two and a half years ago, one of my brides that I was working with as an event planner wanted paper flowers. And I had some time and I told her I would help her out with that. We ended up doing paper flowers both for decorations and for her bouquet and boutonnieres. And the photographer took some amazing photos that got around Seattle. Other brides started to ask me to make flowers for them. Luckily I got picked up by the Huxley Wallace group. They asked me to make flowers for their new restaurant, Saint Helens Cafe. Every few months I go out and change out the flowers in the restaurant. It just kind of bloomed from there.
So you’re self-taught? Really?
I have a can-do attitude. I always believe that if you put your mind to something, you can make it happen. I’m a very visual person. A few years ago I got back surgery and had to sell my catering business. I wanted something easier on my body. And this was one way to release my creativity.
How does the flower-creating process work?
My goal when I create a paper flower is to create it as realistic as possible with paper. I do a lot of Google search, Pinterest search and also look at a lot of old botanical prints because they actually break down flowers into components like sepals, stamens and variations of petals, leaves and stems. So I visually see it and then in my head I ask, “How can I relate that to paper? How can I make the paper act like the real petal?” That’s the real fun part for me, to achieve that.
What kind of paper do you use for the flowers?
I use two kinds of paper. I use heavy Italian crepe paper and also German doublette. The German doublette is actually two very thin pieces of crepe paper but they’re glued together, so it’s thicker ply but it still has the stretchability that you get with normal crepe. But these crepes are a lot heavier than streamer crepe that you find at party stores. It has a lot more texture and stretchability to create that lifelike petal.
Do you have to prep the paper in any way?
Usually I just dive right in and start cutting it and forming it.
Watch Quynh make her paper flowers:
Do you have a favorite flower that you like to make?
The more complex, the more I like it. I really like the dahlia because there’s so many components to it. If you look at it from the center, as it moves outward, it’s really crazy. I love looking at the details and then re-creating that.
What is your most requested flower?
Definitely the peony. Everyone just loves the peony and it has such a short blooming season. People want to enjoy them longer.
For spring 2017, Quynh is hosting two Seattle-area workshops on how to make your own paper flowers:
At Pacific Place in downtown Seattle on April 6.
At Januik Winery in Woodinville, “Rose and Rosé with Pink & Posey” on May 14.
For more information about classes or Quynh’s work, visit pinkandposey.com.