"Mistress Mary, quite contrary, how do you make your flowers?"

"Mistress Mary, quite contrary, how do you make your flowers?"

I read a terrific blog by Maggie from one of my favourite suppliers, Oh You're Lovely: "Do You Make Your Flowers?" It resonated so sharply with me! Because the first things that my customers want to know are how I make my flowers and whether I can teach them to make their own. And with Maggie's blessing (thank you!), I would like to share my answer too.  

I do not make my flowers. I treat them as my canvas and use my paints, my accents, and my design style to create something beautiful. The analogy I always use - and that gets me a chuckle - is that Michelangelo didn't make the ceiling, he "just" painted it. 

The art of making flowers from wood is exactly that: it is an art. And it is an art mastered by skilled artisans half a world away who live and work where Sola wood is grown. Each flower is crafted by hand using thin sheets of Sola wood, some with bark ("skinned" or "barkies") and some without ("skinless"). The flowers are then sent to the United States, where I buy my flowers because Canada doesn't have reliable wholesalers for Sola yet. The flowers' journey continues to my basement craft room, where I use my own custom paint mixtures - paint, water, glycerine, sometimes rose water or orange blossom water, sometimes glitter (I have two daughters!), sometimes essential oils - to turn the white flowers into the gorgeous roses, succulents, and other blooms that you love.

I understand that those skilled in woodworking are disappointed that I cannot expand their trade, and that those who make flowers already - from paper, foam, silk, yarn, or a myriad of media - are sad that they can't add to their wheelhouse through me. Sometimes, that disappointment hurts and I feel defensive. Is a watercolorist's painting less valuable if they don't create their own dyes from ammonia and foraged herbs? Is a knitted baby sweater less cherished if you didn't shear the wool yourself? Reductio ad absurdum. I invite you to appreciate my arrangements and flowers for what they are. They are labours of love. They are expressions of emotion: joy, empathy, affection, gratitude, sadness, and pride. And I would love to share my passion for all things handcrafted with you.  

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.