Thursday, 3 April 2014

Paper Blooms by Jeffery Rudell: Review

25 Extraordinary Flowers to Make

For Weddings, Celebrations & More

By Jeffery Rudell

Lark Crafts, February 2014

Paperback, £ 12.99

ISBN 978 1 4547 0350 1

Star rating: *****

Paper flowers are mega-trending in the craft book world at the moment (not that they ever go away). So, when it comes to a paper flower-making title, you can pick and choose.  Paper Blooms, by papercrafter extraordinaire Jeffery Rudell, is my  personal favourite so far. It is not a huge book, but it is bursting with good ideas, warmth, and personality. 

The anecdotes to introduce each flower are charming, memorable, and relevant. Knock-out results are obtained with few materials and basic equipment. The flower construction techniques are simple to master – but ingenious.  And judicious paper choice makes a important contribution to the final creation – clock the anemones made out of glassine paper, and the sunflower centres constructed from rolled bands of corrugated cardstock.

Speaking of rolled bands of paper, many of the featured construction techniques will appeal to quilling enthusiasts. Examples: the Daisies have tightly quilled coils as flower centres, and the Cosmos have loosely –quilled coil centres. The Aster is a super-sized fringed quilling strip. 

The Ranunculus is simply an open coil, executed in double-sided paper, and placed on a stem. The result is breathtaking.  The author, expressing his “less is more” design philosophy says, “ ... this project relies on the simplest suggestion of a flower, little more than an abstraction of  a flower. Still, three facts become evident: 1) something can be beautiful without being complicated, 2) even simple skills yield attractive results, and 3) the tilt of a blossom, the bend of a wire, and the addition of a few leaves can greatly enhance any project.”

The 25 featured flowers are not literal, naturalistic fascimiles of real flowers. The idea is to capture the essential qualities of the flower in a creative way – visual essence of flower.  Many of the flowers combine methods of paper manipulation – such as the lovely Daisies, which consist of two staggered layers of folded paper and the (previously mentioned) quilled flower centre.

Other high points include the multi-layered (but manageable to make) Dahlias and the Carnations resourcefully crafted from coffee filters. Playful – and fun to make.

Instruction-wise, you are provided with photographic step-by-steps as needed.  Full-size flower templates are given back-of-book.

The Inspiration section does seem like a bit of an abbreviated afterthought.  Although the usage ideas are beautiful – and beautifully photographed – for the most part they are nothing you could not have figured out yourself.  This is a small gripe in an otherwise fabulous book.

The flowers in this book combine really clever construction techniques with simplicity of construction – that’s a winning combination. Vibrant colours and unusual paper textures contribute to the total effect.  This well-written and beautiful book is an ideal gift book for a crafty friend.

Note: I was given a review copy of this title.