100 days of Paper flower
In 2017 I was introduced to a project called "100 days of Making" at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. Katherine Dillon, a professor that started this class, explained that it is a way for you to explore the process of making the same thing for 100 days. I talked to people who completed this challenge before and said it changed their lives. That inspired me to pick a project and start my own journey.
Here are links to the projects that my friends have completed.
Picking my project
I started from looking at my old work, what did enjoy doing on my free time and often got compliment from people around me. I've found that I've spent a lot of my free time making rubber stamps, painting, hand lettering and crafting paper flowers. That's the ah-ha ! moment when I decided to do a '100 days of paper crafts' (which later transformed into 100 days of paper flowers)
The key about 100 days project is to find something you are willing to dedicate 2 hours a day making it. It should be big enough to give you room to explore but small enough to ground you to limit yourself to focus.
The first few days, I was struggled to ground myself down with 'what to make?' because there're millions of paper projects out there that I want to try to make but as the days goes I saw myself leaning towards making paper flowers. So I researched on the materials to create the look and feel of the paper flowers I saw from the artists I found on Instagram.
After 2 weeks, I've spent 5-10 hours a day perfecting each project and I realized it was not sustainable. I narrowed my focus down to something that would allow me to finish the project within 2 hours a day.
From there, I ordered bunch of German and Italian crepe paper and give myself a goal to create 1 type of flower a day. There are sources that you can find flower templates online but I mostly look at the real flowers and follow the instructions from these books.
- Paper to Petal : Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell
- Flowersmith : Jennifer Tran
- The fine art of Paper Flowers : Tiffanie Turner
- The exquisite book of paper flowers : Livia Cetti
- Paper Flower Art: Jessie Chui
My first client
After posting each flower on Instagram daily and told my friends about it. A friend wanted me to make a bouquet of Peonies to a friend that lived in Texas and since she was traveling he wanted to gift her something that doesn't go bad when she gets back and he thought of me!
My first reaction? I thought it was so cool that someone would pay for something I do for fun!!! I've spent 2 days figuring out how to make Peonies, finishing and shipping them to Texas and I quoted my friend $47.
I thought I was a millionaire making money from my free time.
This is the point when I started to think how can I make more money, find more clients and if there are other things I could do with these paper flowers. I started to document my work a little better. I asked my friends about Photography, Photoshop and lightroom to edit my photos.
Now that I'm 1/3 way through, I've found myself noticing flowers around me. My phone started to have more flower photos on my walk to Carl Shultz park on the UES, I have so many screenshots of flowers I've found online and my Pinterest has a board called, you guess it, Flowers.
This is the point where I implementing some of my photography knowledge and playing around with photo editing and layout.
Also, if you can spot the gradient on the spikey yellow flower, that's the first time I played around with soft pastel! Did I like the color? NO but that open so much room for creativity for my next flowers!
This is when I explored with darker background, applied some gradient and able to finished more flowers within 2 hours.
One of my earliest customer research? Gifting them to friends! I started to make bouquets, learned how to arrange them, packaged them and explore a little bit about packaging design. I had so much fun playing with the colors, shapes and seeing the reaction from my friends made me want to make paper flowers all day!
From gifting friends, I had more people asking to make certain flowers for their loved ones, at this point, I've definitely spent more than 2 hours a day to create some of these flowers. This is also when I tried to up my photo game and started to putting them into a website.
The end of this journey
When this project came to an end. I realized that I've found my calling, a perfect combination of my love for paper crafting and colors. I've never thought that I would enjoy looking at flowers but now everywhere I go, I'd stop and stare at the the flowers, study the form, colors, structure and that still continue until today.
I've found myself letting go of my perfectionism. Half way through the process, when I make a flower that I didn't like, I told myself that I have the next day to fix it. The old me would beat myself too hard that I was a failure and that I wasn't good enough. Now I realized that, the failure gave me an opportunity to learn what worked and what didn't and I have time to try again.
I hope this inspired you to take on a passion project to explore something you've always wanted to do but never have done.
Let me know in the comment, what comes into mind?