When did you first start making paper flowers and how did you stumble upon them?
-I started making paper flowers in the spring of 2017. As my wife and I were preparing for our 2nd child, I was desperately looking for artificial Juliet Roses to welcome our daughter, Juliet! I came across Lia Griffith’s Website and saw her template for the Juliet Rose and thought, “I’m crafty. I can attempt that.” My first attempt was average so I kept making them until they got better and better.
What has it been like to work from home?
-Working from home certainly has its pros and cons. I love staying home with my 2 girls. There is a certain amount of freedom but there are also a lot of things to be done; making meals, constructing flowers, doing housework, working on projects for my other jobs, making sure the girls have what they need, etc.
What do you find are your most used tools?
-Honestly, scissors and a low-temp hot glue gun can almost get me through every flower. I do a lot of shaping by hand and with my scissors.
What type of flowers do you love making the most?
-I love making big english garden roses and Gardenias. The petals are very forgiving and with the amount of petals you can almost smell them when they are finished! (We all smell our paper flowers right?)
How have you found it to be working in an industry dominated by women?
-It’s been great! Everyone is very supportive of my work and my decision to be a stay-at-home dad. There’s always the occasional, “Ladies, I need your opinion,” post, but I still comment and participate, regardless. I’ve made some great friends through Facebook and Instagram and they’ve helped me grow tremendously!
Where do you find inspiration when you are struggling to make anything?
-I usually turn to David Austin Roses when I feel the need to create something new. There are so many varieties, and as I said earlier, roses are pretty forgiving.
Have you had a client good or bad that you will always remember?
-Before I had my payment expectations clearly spelled out, I had one client that ordered a decent sized arrangement. I made all the flowers and then they ghosted me. Never heard from them again. So I used the flowers in other arrangements and such. Now I require full payment before I even start on a project. Lesson learned.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice while first starting your paper flower journey, what would it be?
-I would probably tell myself to not compare my work to others. Sure, we all have goals of where we want our flowers to be one day, but everyone has their own style and I think that’s what makes this industry such a beautiful thing.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out with paper flowers, what would it be?
-Make a lot of flowers! As with anything else in life, practice is the best way to gain experience. I was affirmed in this when I heard Amity Beane tell us in one of her classes to make 12 flowers when you make a new flower. Very rarely do we make the best one the first time around, but after 12, we are getting closer.
What do you love most about where you live?
-Indianapolis is a great city! (And underrated in my opinion!) I grew up in Virginia Beach, so coming to the mid-west was certainly a big life change for me. Indianapolis is a foodie’s dream—there is always a new restaurant or café to try. The arts culture is very alive here as well. And making paper flowers has opened my eyes to that culture even more!
What is your favorite type of paper to use?
-I am hooked on doubled sided crepe right now. I’ve always been a fan of the extra fine, or 60 gram crepe paper, but doubled sided paper has a sturdiness that I very much appreciate without the deep grain lines of a 180 gram crepe.
What are you most excited about in your life right now?
-Along with making paper flowers, I also co-own a theatre company and next spring we are planning to put on our biggest musical yet: The Hunchback of Notre Dame. We are partnering with a local community choir, performing at a local church (with French gothic architecture), and we will be working with a 50+ person cast! I’m totally hooked on the music and listen to it on repeat in the car, and at the house! —I’m sure I’m driving my wife crazy!
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