Image: Tiffanie Turner's paper roses
Loved ones are expected to pay an astounding total of $2.3 billion dollars on flowers this Valentine's day – plus a further $2.2 billion on chocolate and sweets, according to Statista. Like it or loath it, this international day of romance has been a lucrative industry for centuries, with the very first Valentine's Day said to have taken place all the way back in 270 A.D during the pagan festival of Lupercalia. We know that many Selvedge readers often opt for homemade flowers instead of store-bought bouquets, and whether it's a paper pansy or a cotton coronation, it's a timeless, thoughtful gesture that's sure to outlive the buzz of February romance.
Image: Alabama Chanin's How To Make Cut Flowers tutorial.
Avid Selvedge followers will already be familiar with our free craft projects on the subject. From Alabama Chanin's How To Make Cut Flowers project and Tiffanie Turner's How To Make A Pom-Pom Poppy guide from Issue 80 Craft, to Suzie McLaughlin's bright and beautiful paper ranunculus how-to, why not try your hand at crafting the perfect paper bouquet for your loved ones?
While we love these contemporary handmade botanicals, the craft of flower making actually stems from way back in The Old Testament Book of Kings, when the Queen of Sheba asks Solomon which of her twelve lilies are real, and which ones are fake.
Image: Suzie McLaughlin's paper ranunculus tutorial
In the Middle Ages, nuns often decorated church statues in winter with flowers made from silk and by the 19th century, artificial flowers made their way into fashion, adorning hats, clothing and hairstyles. This trend blossomed around the world after France championed the highest calibre flower factories and artists such as T.J. Wenzel – the royal flower maker for queen Marie Antoinette.
After the Huguenots took the art of flower making to Berlin, the artificial flower market continued to grow around the world up until the 1920s. After a period of decline, it wasn't until after the second World War when European flower manufacturers started to see competition from Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Thailand, that flowers were increasingly used for interior decorating. Out of this rivalry eventually came the corsage; a ritual accessory for prom-goers in the States and for formal events around the world.
Image: Tiffanie's how to make a pom-pom poppy tutorial
Now, however, as we're seeing a rise in contemporary craft (explored by Amelia Thorpe in Issue 80 Craft) the artificial flower is poised to make a come-back in the world of interior design and also, perhaps, in the ever lucrative world of romance.
View all the free Selvedge craft projects here: