Here's part 3 of my book review series!
Today we'll be diving into Jennifer Tran's 'Flowersmith'. So I actually ordered this from Book Depository without realizing the US release date was WAY BEHIND (it will only be released in America February 2018, even though this book was already launched in Australia in May 2017!!!) Thankfully, I got a chance to visit Perth in September this year and I happily bought my copy at the local bookstore. Yes I still have that incoming order from Book Depository and I decided not to cancel this order so that I can have a book giveaway! **If you're in Singapore and would like a copy of this book, look out for my giveaway next year!**
*Once again, a quick disclaimer that these is not a review and more on a guide of what I think the book's about and who I think its best for! I actually like writing too so this is just to share my thoughts. All these books are awesome in their own way and written by really talented creatives so there's something to learn from each of them!
Price: AUS$40 (approx SGD$42.60)
No. of projects: 23 flowers + 8 foliage types + 20 arrangements
Sections: Arrangements, Flowers, Foliage, Skills, Tools & Materials, Suppliers
Main Materials: Italian Crepe (60gsm is favored in this book), german double-sided crepe
Templates provided?: Yes! After every flower project, printed one-sided on thick coloured paper
REASONS WHY I LOVE THIS BOOK:
1. IT'S BY JENNIFER TRAN!! Jennifer Tran is one of the first paper florists I followed when I started my paper crafting journey and she has just an amazing style and vibrant aesthetic - her blooms look so soft, intricate, and realistic - how could I not idolize her? If you're contemplating on buying the book, I recommend browsing her youtube videos first, so that you'll get to know her aesthetic, her style of teaching, and her techniques (e.g. you'll notice she doesn't use hot glue guns like me). There's also a sneak peek into her book in one of her videos!
Plus, I found this japanese anemone tutorial online HERE which is pretty much the same as the instructions and photos found in the book. This is a beginner level bloom and if you find this tutorial to be easy, then you can most likely invest in this book and work your way through the harder blooms!
2. PAIRED BLOOM ARRANGEMENTS, with steps! - What I enjoyed in this book is that is starts off with step by step photos of how you could craft an arrangement, and these arrangements are organized under different themes to reflect different moods (e.g. Sunshine, Harvest, Frost). Its always great to see arrangements because you'll be able to style your flowers beautifully in your home as an actual art piece, instead of just plopping them into a vase (which is something I'm guilty of, aha). I would say Jennifer's style is more minimal, her arrangements usually consist of only 2 types of blooms (unlike lets say Livia Cetti's arrangements with its myriad of blooms and colours), that way you really appreciate the contrast of colours and shapes.
3. Intricate Instructions - Each project starts with a skill level, tools, types of paper and materials all listed out. I'm more of a visual learner, so I prefer looking at photos rather than reading through all the instructions, but if you like detailed, specific instructions, Jennifer does a fantastic job as well! I wouldn't say its very text-heavy, its actually a rather good balance of text and visuals, and her step by step photographs are clear and straightforward. I also appreciate the Anatomy section which includes specific parts like "node" and "bract". The dedicated section to foliage and only foliage is also a plus!
WHO I THINK SHOULD BUY THIS BOOK
More advanced/ experienced paper florists looking to make very realistic flowers. I'm not saying beginners can't buy this book, sure you can! I would however recommend gaining more experience and practice before diving into this book, mainly because:
1. Jennifer uses many different types/ weights of papers in a single flower - i.e. most of her flowers require a combination of 60gsm, 180gsm Italian Crepe AND double-sided German crepe. I haven't even mentioned her different colouring tools/ supplies like bleach and food colouring. Not that there's anything wrong with needing so many materials, but I expect beginners not to have such a wide range of crepes (I myself don't have any 60gsm or double-sided crepes). I believe you'll be more prepared to tackle these projects once you're more familiar with the different crepes and have a more well-stocked supply cabinet. Of course, you could always substitute materials, but if you're someone who needs to follow instructions to a tee, best to have lots of paper at hand.
2. Because these flowers are so intricate, expect much more time and work to go into a flower, such as gluing 2 layers of crepe paper together, bleaching, etc. I wouldn't say its hard, but definitely more time-consuming, just because of the level of detail Jennifer goes into with each bloom (including using ground turmeric as pollen for her anemones! Now that's attention to detail!)
Now if you're a beginner, and really want to get this book, don't let what I wrote intimidate you! You could always start with the easier blooms (Jennifer marked the difficulty levels for each project) and work your way up slowly. Jennifer herself wrote in her introduction that this book was designed as a kind companion to crafters of all levels. So again, if you're a beginner and want to dive into this book, please go ahead! Just remember to be patient and kind with yourself, don't rush into flower-making before understanding the crepes you're using, and that practice makes perfect! :D