Monday, 21 April 2014

The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers: Review

The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers:

a guide to making unbelievably realistic paper blooms

By Livia Cetti

Abrams & Chronicle Books 2014

Paperback £14.99

ISBN 978-1-6179-100-3

Star rating: ****1/2

Yes, here’s another ace paper flower title!

How do you like your paper flowers – realisitic or fun?  If you like your paper flowers to be dead ringers, then this is the book for you. Livia Cetti is a floral artist who works in paper, as opposed to a paper artist who fashions flowers. She is a superstar floral stylist and paper flower artiste based in New York City. She does the flowers for society weddings, magazine photoshoots, and posh shop displays. She has lots of big-name corporate clients. And in this lovely book, she does indeed share her making-up secrets. 

Livia Cetti  had a lightbulb moment when she noticed that a two-sided crepe paper called Doublette could be manipulated to create a realistic hibiscus, complete with fluted ruffled edges. That’s when her  paper flower-making journey began.

Most of the flowers in the book are made of either crepe- or tissue paper. You are taught how to dip-dye the paper using either water or bleach to create subtle gradient effects. The section on painting techniques is especially strong. (Merely wetting the tissue paper strips imparts delicate crinkles.)

You will learn the construction techniques used by florists – use of stem wires and floral tape (didn’t know the latter came in a variety of colours). 

The section on leaves is a revelation. The author says, “... I gently bend – and never crease -  the paper to create the look of veins, and I very rarely bend a vein fold in a straight line, instead opting to meander slightly from center to edge for a more organic shape...”

You are also taught how to make darts in the tissue paper petals, to impart gentle curves.

How-tos are given for 26 flowers, arranged alphabetically. I particularly liked the Night-Blooming Cactus and the towers of Hollyhocks. There are some well-thought-out project ideas at the end of the book. The 3-D Wallpaper – single-stem flowers stuck to a wall with snippets of coloured tape works a treat. The Tuberose Lei is simple but effective.

The photography is beautiful and the step-by-steps are clear and well-explained.

Full size templates are provided at the back of the book (love those ginko leaves!). However – there is no index.  Although the flowers are arranged alphabetically, this does not compensate for the lack of an index. For instance, you might want to look up a particular technique. (Lack of an index is why I gave this title 4-1/2 stars instead of 5.)

This title would be ideal for those who want to create bridal arrangements with keepsake potential. This book is also ideal for papercrafters who want to expand their paper flower-making repertoire with genuine floristry skills. 

Spoiled for choice with paper flower-making titles. How to choose? Watch this space.