Regular visitors to these pages will be well aware of the fact that I’m something of a self-confessed floral fanatic, whether it’s nurturing new blooms in the garden or searching out pretty floral prints in the shops. About a year or so ago, I was lucky enough to cross paths with the lovely Sue of A Petal Unfolds, when I was invited along to Cath Kidston’s flagship Piccadilly store to learn how to craft some of her signature paper blooms- and, since then, I’ve become an avid follower of her work (showcased beautifully on her amazing Instagram page!) With spring (and the wonderful flurry of flowers which the season is so synonymous with) peeking over the horizon, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to sit down with Sue and hear all about what she’s been up to of late…
Tell us a little about how A Petal Unfolds began...
I originally trained in Fine Art at university and worked mainly with digital photography. I kind of got to a point where I felt like I was missing making things with my hands and I started trying out a few crafts for fun. In 2013 I took an online paper flower class with the blogger Brittany Jepson of The House That Lars Built. I loved it so much and then picked up a vintage book off eBay that taught me more techniques. When I started making my own designs I began posting photos to Instagram and quickly started growing a following which led to commissions and teaching workshops.
What are your favourite flowers to make?I do have a real weakness for Ranunculus, I love all the layers and colours, they look so beautiful together.
What would you say have been the biggest challenges to date?I’m so lucky to have this life, although it can be really hard to balance everything myself, especially when my flowers are incredibly time consuming to make. Finding time for social media, finances, responding to emails as well as working on projects, developing my work and having time to myself is a challenge every day.
Where do you visit to get inspired?
I was brought up in the countryside so I do like to get out of Brighton when I get the chance and take a walk somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It clears my head and gives me new things to see that can feed in to my work.
What have been your favourite collaborations so far?
I really love all the projects that I've worked on, although his year has been really fun so far. I collaborated with Tatty Devine last month, making paper versions of their new floral jewellery collection. I’ve also just finished making some flowers for Liberty and their pop up in Tokyo this month which is really exciting!
Crafting is having a bit of a renaissance at the moment- why do you think it's so popular?
I think people really want less screen time and to feel that they are connected and spending time on themselves again. I'm regularly told when teaching my workshops how relaxing people find making the flowers and that it's been such a long time since they simply sat and spent time making something.
Do you have any dream projects that you would love to make happen?
It would have to be working on flowers for a fashion show by a high fashion brand such as Chanel or Dior. That would really be the biggest dream world.
What's coming up next for you?
Mother's Day is my next big project. I'll be working with a lovely stationery brand making lots of flowers for some in- store demonstrations and giveaways. I can’t wait!
Sue will be hosting a Paper Peony Workshop at Quill London on 19 April- book tickets quickly as they sell out in a flash!
(Image credit: A Petal Unfolds.)