Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Flower Power

I LOVE flowers. Their varied colours and forms are so beautiful, they always brighten up my day. My Mum, who has lovely green fingers (even though they look a normal colour usually!) started teaching me the common names for the wildflowers we would see when out walking when I was little. I used to love standing under blossom on trees and getting petals in my hair. Flowers seem to feature in most of my happy memories.

I  went through a phase in my late teens of wearing real or synthetic flowers in my hair, on my lapel or hip at every opportunity.   Then for some reason, I stopped making and wearing flowers and spent more time growing the real thing.  In the past couple of years, I've rebelled a bit. Why should wearing flowers be relegated to little girls and weddings?

Belly dancing provided the perfect excuse for a bit more bling.  American Tribal Style and Tribal Fusion dancers often use flowers as part of their hair styles and they look beautiful.  I had some artificial flowers on hair elastics which I liked, but found that the plastic base was forever digging into my head and catching on my hair, veil, whatever.  This lead to some experimentation with cheap artificial flowers, which I always thought should be bigger, fuller, more glittery. 

Artificial flowers made from fabric, ribbon or yarn have a long history, and although they go in and out of fashion, their popularity over recent years shows no sign of decreasing. Over the past couple of years, I have been looking at the plethora of techniques for making flowers from fabric, ribbons, lace and yarn. There are tutorials all over the place for lots of different styles of flowers.  Most do not take much fabric, so they are perfect for using up scraps, or upcycling old bits of clothing. They don't have to look realistic, or even symmetrical or tidy, to be effective.   I've found that, although it's slower, I really do prefer to sew than use glue.

A couple of years ago, I did a 2 hour workshop for Learning Pembrokeshire, where we made some pointed-petal flowers and looked at gathered and rolled strips, and pom-poms.  It was a great success, with participants bringing their scrap fabrics and sharing them. I found that going around the table and repeating the same instructions with everyone was no problem.  I think handcrafters in general are patient people. Everyone went home with a flower and all seemed to enjoy themselves. Since then, I have offered short daytime adult ed courses in making fabric flowers through Learning Pembrokeshire. They are really aimed at people who do not use the computer much or who prefer face-to-face, hands-on learning. None of the courses have run, as they haven't attracted enough people. This is a problem with almost all of the adult ed classes at the moment and has been getting steadily worse over the past couple of years.

Still, I live in hope, so to support the next class or workshop proposal, and because it's April and flowers are popping out everywhere, I decided to challenge myself and run through the various techniques I know and create a flower a day, until I have a mountain of flowers, thus dealing with some of my stash and creating some stock to sell or give away.
I'm not intending to post many, if any, tutorials as there are plenty out there in other blogs and on YouTube. They say nothing is new in art, so I don't expect I'll be inventing anything new and am probably not even the first to do a 'flower-a-day' challenge.

Today is Day 1. The question is: what sort of flower shall I do today?


knittingdragonflies said...

Great post! Thanks so much for your link! I'm in a creative spring mood also.
Take care

Dancing Moth said...

Thank you! It's gone back to being grey and rainy, so things like this lift my spirits and keep me going. I'll look in on your blog in a few weeks and see what you've been creating!