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Coming up roses

Paper artist Rebecca Ephgrave tells us where she finds her inspiration

Our stunning cover image for this issue was designed by award-winning paper artist Rebecca Ephgrave, who specialises in bouquets and floral arrangements for weddings, anniversaries and events. Rebecca's keen eye for papercraft trends mean she is highly sought after, and last year she was asked to create a series of flowers for an event by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. We caught up with Rebecca to find out how she comes up with her eye-catching ideas.

How did you start making paper flowers?

When I was six or seven a family friend showed me how to make flowers out of tissue, so it's fair to say I caught the bug from a very early age. It wasn't until a few years ago when I started making flowers for friends' weddings and anniversaries that I saw this could be a career. Word quickly spread about what I was doing. I set up a website and social media pages and soon enough I was working with a waiting list for orders. I didn't set out to start a paper flower business but suddenly I had one and I was chuffed to bits! My hobby became my career and I feel extremely lucky to have a job I truly love.

What does the process involve?

Because the majority of my creations are custom designed I start working closely with my client to find out exactly how to make the finished piece personal to them, from the shades and tones of paper to the specific flowers, which could include book pages, unicorns or brooches - it really is a diverse job! Once I have all the details I start by cutting my shapes, and then I begin to make the flowers. Some may be crafted from a single sheet of paper, but others may be from 20 separate petals or shapes. I then arrange the flowers into a bouquet, which has taken a lot of practice. You would think this is the easy part, but each flower needs to be in its perfect place to make the bouquet sit right. The finished piece is then set, and the handle is completed with either natural hessian or satin ribbon.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration comes from everywhere! I could see a rose in a garden and it would make me study the form and shape, or I could watch a vampire movie and picture a Victorian extravaganza of cascading flowers. I'm always buying bridal magazines and I follow blogs like Rock N Roll Bride, which recently prompted me to design a super-fun unicorn.

Where do you source your materials from?

Materials come from a variety of places - I'm a paper magpie! The vast majority is ordered from pullingers.com, which has a fantastic range of colours. I've also sourced items from independent paper stores, stationers, pound shops and charity shops, as well as using wrapping paper, posters and maps. eBay is great for unusual finds and the way I see it, if it's paper, it's a flower waiting to blossom. www.paperbouquets.co.uk

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