Episode 83 - Why You Need to Constantly Experiment as an Artist with Sue Bowen
We talk with paper florist Sue Bowen about how to experiment with new materials, techniques, and styles in order to find your artistic voice.
How do you find your paper flower voice? Or if you’ve been a paper florist for awhile, how do you help your artistic style evolve naturally? Style isn’t something you can copy, at least not successfully. It has to come from a genuine place inside of you. But how in the world do you hone in on that?
Sue Bowen is one of our moderators for our Facebook group and is always ready with encouragement and helpful insight (if you haven’t joined, you really should!). In our latest episode of Paper Talk, we chatted with Sue, and our conversation kept circling back to this need to experiment.
You won’t want to miss out on all of the helpful things she shared in the podcast, but for now, here are some ideas to inspire your experimentation on your paper flower journey.
Experiment with Materials
Sue first started making paper flowers from a variety of materials. She didn’t start with crepe paper. She tried new things. She figured out what worked and what didn’t. She decided what she liked. If she hadn’t been open to using new materials, she wouldn’t have discovered her love of crepe paper flowers. What a loss that would be for our paper flower community!
Don’t be afraid to use a new material, be it crepe or color tool or whatever. What’s the worst that could happen? That flower is a disaster, and you move on. You’ve learned something! But more likely, you’ll find something that works even better than what you were using before.
Experiment with Techniques
We asked Sue what she’s been experimenting with lately, and she told us all about the many coloring techniques she’s tried. Some of them have worked better than others. She doesn’t know how colorfast some of the newer techniques will be, but she embraces that and let’s it lead her to new places.
There’s no one right way to do anything with paper flowers. What works for us might not work for you. Yes, we can learn from each other, but at the end of the day, you simply have to try things out for yourself. And if none of us ever explored new ways to do things, we’d never grow beyond our current techniques. Our industry would stagnate
Make sure to listen to the episode for more specifics about Sue’s color experimentations, including her foray into natural dyes.
Experiment with Style
Don’t worry if your flowers don’t look like other artists’ work. Make changes to tutorials. Do what feels right to you. We loved Sue’s insight:
“It’s about making your flowers as natural as they can be...finding your own style, your own way. And I think that’s what people who are learning need to know they’re not trying to copy that other person’s flower, that the flower that they make is fine. It doesn’t have to look like that flower. It’s your flower.”
When you explore a wider breadth of new materials and techniques, you’ll be able to better figure out what works for you. Be bold with your stylistic choices, and make some mistakes along the way. In the end, your artistry will only benefit.
We chatted about much more with Sue, and you can hear it all by listening to this latest episode of Paper Talk.
Here’s what you’ll hear when you listen to our conversation:
How Sue’s paper flower journey started.
Her biggest tip for improving paper flowers.
How she works through written tutorials, even though video ones are easier for her.
Where she sources her crepe paper in the UK.
How she experiments with colors.