While searching the internet for inspiration, Jenny came across kusudama flowers (yes, the very same Folding Trees tutorial featured here recently) and also a Martha Stewart tissue paper flower kit. Her wedding decorations were a mix of kusudamas and silk flowers... just a taste of what would come once she had time to thoroughly explore the world of making flowers from paper.
Jenny came across Leone Em and Susan Tierney-Cockburn's examples of punch flower art here and expanded the flower sizes to make them more realistic via the use of a Gazelle cutter. One idea led to the next and amazingly, within a relatively short period of time, Jenny taught herself to make a beautifully realistic crepe paper rose.
At first she focused on cardstock floral embellishments for cards and ornaments, nine of which she entered in the Oklahoma State Fair, garnering seven ribbons for first or second place! Needless to say, the wins gave her confidence to enter the craft show circuit. Only one of the prize winners was a realistic flower - the red rose - and it turned out to be what drew people to her booth.
Wanting to expand the variety and quality of her 3D flowers, Jenny purchased stems of fresh and silk flowers, taking them apart to study construction, and tracing petals to make templates. She also searched paper flowers from the 1920s and '30s, and came across old Dennison patterns for crepe paper flowers.
Finally she was ready to take the next step... marketing her products online. This turned out to be another time-consuming learning curve. Jenny built a basic website and opened an Etsy shop, The Crimson Poppy, but wisely decided to use the tax refund from her day job to hire professionals - a photographer, copywriter, and graphic designer/marketing specialist - who are helping her move, in her words, from "starting up" crafter to "making it happen" artist while she focuses on what she does best, creating exceptional flowers.
Recently Jenny wrote a CraftStylish guide to get one started on making crepe paper flowers. She's even included links to the shops where she purchases the high quality supplies that make her flowers look so good, as well as helpful tips on gluing and stem making.
As Jenny says, "There's something wonderful about the fact that each flower begins as nothing more than a flat piece of paper and a length of floral wire!"
Visit The Crimson Poppy.