Charlotte Harding finds beautiful blooms that last and last.
Flowers can evoke powerful memories, be it the first bunch your partner bought you or your wedding bouquet, but how many of us actually still have those special blooms?
When Chichester’s Clare Davies was planning her wedding in August 2016 she knew she wanted something more permanent and so she made her first bouquet of paper flowers.
“For my wedding I didn’t like the idea of waste and the flowers being cut and dying,” she says.
“So I looked for alternatives, I could have done fabric as I have a textile background but I just wanted to do paper as I had seen ones I liked online.
“I really wanted to hold onto as many memories as I could from our special day.
“My sister in law is a trained florist so between the two of us she added real foliage like eucalyptus to the paper flowers to create the look I wanted.
“I still have them now and I love that I can look at them and be reminded of the day.”
Clare created her bouquet, the button holes, centrepieces and the flower girl and bridesmaid bouquets.
Finding paper flowers on Pinterest, Clare looked at how each one was created and researched other companies.
She started Petal & Bird in the summer of 2017 and works from her studio in Chichester.
With a degree in textiles, Clare admits she is a very ‘visual person’ and looks at flowers to see how they are constructed, how the petals look and goes from there.
“I really enjoy doing it,” she smiles.
“With my wedding, I would sit in the evening and make something. I didn’t find it stressful at all and I still don’t.
“The only time I do, is if it is a new flower and it doesn’t quite look how I want it to in my head. But every flower I do I am always adapting and changing the way I do them.”
From peonies to roses and daisies, Clare creates bespoke paper flower arrangements for birthday gifts, weddings, anniversaries, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day gifts.
“I had a husband get in touch with me as he wanted me to recreate his wife’s wedding bouquet” she says.
“It was for their first wedding anniversary which was lovely as the first one is paper.
“It was lovely to do and I recreated it from a photo which I enjoy. I love things like that as it gives me the chance to do different flowers, and provides a new challenge.
“Every flower is a challenge but it is good to keep going with it.”
The average bouquet has roughly 10 flowers and Clare charges £10 per stem.
“Each flower is unique and are perfect for a lasting gift, special occasion or celebration and a unique alternative to real flowers that are a lasting memory to treasure,” she says.
With weddings her main business she admits that she loves the boho, quirky, festival wedding look.
“There is something so free and celebratory about it,” she enthuses.
“Nothing is too structured and forced, which is what I think a wedding day should be about.
“It is all about the celebration with special people in your life around you in a location and vibe which means something to you both as a couple.”
A trained teacher, Clare is taking a year out to focus on Petal & Bird and in the future wants to combine her two careers.
“I am planning on running some workshops later in the year,” she says.
“I also would like to work on some more photoshoots with local suppliers to showcase what is possible with my flowers and to see my flowers in local restaurants and cafes.”
Flowers are a beautiful thing to give and receive so why not make sure it is something that will last for years and years.
For more information on Clare, visit www.petalandbird.co.uk