For many years I designed and published greetings cards. These were on historical subjects – quirky details that grabbed my interest for example, the history of the beauty spot. These were made of many surprising materials including mouse’s skin and they were in vogue for more than one hundred and fifty years. Women often wore several of these “Patches” as they were called all at once, and a language was developed so a patch worn on one side of the face would indicate that a woman was married or at least unavailable, but worn on the other side of the face it advertised that she was looking for romance! The silliest picture I ever saw showed a woman wearing a coach and four horses plastered across her forehead – you just couldn’t make it up, could you!
My obsession with roses began when, as a child I used to visit my grandparent’s house. My granddad had built a small enclosed rose garden, which was south-facing and therefore sunny and warm. Sitting there listening to the sound of drowsy bees, and drinking a glass of my grand-mother’s home-made lemonade, I used to close my eyes and breathe in the thick exotic fragrance of the roses. And then there were the colours....a deep red rose with the texture of velvet, and a white rose that seemed to glow like a ghost in the dark towards dusk. There was a beautiful golden egg-yolk yellow rose, and a bush with flowers that exactly matched a coral necklace sent to me by my aunt and uncle who were living in Nigeria at the time. I found out later that all of these roses were Hybrid Teas, and they’ve been turning my head ever since!
I started making crêpe paper roses about fifteen years ago after reading a magazine article about a woman who made them to order. I was amazed at how incredibly lifelike they were – nothing like so-called silk roses. I really hoped she might teach me but that wasn’t to be, so I set about teaching myself. It was almost a year before I was satisfied with the results, this wasn’t because they were difficult to make, but because I had to work out the techniques, and inevitably on the way I went down several blind avenues. When I tried dying the paper, it always ended up resembling a wet nappy and just fell apart in my hands. Fortunately I eventually developed my own techniques and here are some of the results – I really hope you like them!
To read the article in "Handmade Living" magazine please click here
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