This is my 3rd post in a series that features my fellow crepe paper florists based in sunny little Singapore! For the full list of posts, click here.
I chanced upon Jeanine's Instagram account last year and was amazed by her miniature crepe paper flowers (see below). If you know me, you'll know I kinda hate crafting small flowers haha - I always say the bigger the better! Which was why Jeanine's tiny sunflowers and peonies were mind-blowing to me. Turns out, she's a jack of all trades and makes jewelry as well as amigurumi.
Furthermore, I was really glad to have done this interview with Jeanine as she said a couple of things that really resonated with me... to paraphrase her words: Singapore hasn't seemed to fully warm up to paper flowers yet, and it has been challenging to gain appreciation for this craft. Hopefully, with a growing group of artists, this will change in the future, fingers crossed!
Read on to find out more about this talented maker. :)
Jeanine, from Handmade by Jeanine Gabrielle
1. Who are you and how did you start making crepe paper flowers? Hello! I'm Jeanine! I actually began with fabric flowers and made lots of fabric wedding bouquets up until a few years back when I went back into F&B full time and didn't have time for anything else. About 2 years back I got curious about crepe paper flowers after seeing some posts on Pinterest and decided to give it a go. I'm really just into all sorts of crafts so I like to try everything at least once. It wasn't immediately a business idea for me, more so something I enjoy doing to get my mind off things. I only started getting serious about it last year when I left my events job in the midst of the Covid chaos.
2. What kind of crepe paper do you work with and where do you get your crepe paper from? I didn't really know where to go to look for crepe paper so I tried looking around Spotlight. I remember the very first batch I purchased was from Lia Griffith and I bought a mix of double sided and fine crepe paper. The texture is amazing! So is the price! >_< I still have the bunch of peonies and ranunculus I made sitting in my room until today and they still look lovely. After that I searched for other suppliers online and bought another lot of 180 and 160 gsm Italian crepe paper off Etsy.
I recently found a local seller on Qoo10! Their crepe paper is manufactured in China but the quality is still pretty acceptable, if you're just starting out and want to try a lot of colors, it might be a good option. Being a newbie, I wasn't very familiar with the gsm and all so I just bought different kinds to try. I bought a bunch that was I think 60sgm and once you stretch them out it's almost impossible to hold any shape so I decided to laminate them and shape them with a heating tool I had from working with fabric flowers, it was a total game changer, it literally turns crepe paper into a "low gsm card stock".
3. Favourite flower to make? Or which flower/ product would you consider your specialty? I was obsessed with making ranunculus at some point. it's my favourite flower, they're all over my room. I wouldn't say I have one product that's my specialty. For me it's about customising what the customer actually wants, although most of the time they have absolutely no idea and leave it to me to decide. So far everyone is happy with their purchases!
4. What would you consider to be the most challenging part of being a paper florist? It's probably the marketing aspect for me. The market hasn't really warmed up to the idea of paper flowers in Singapore and it's hard to convince people especially when you're a newbie in an unrecognised industry. Passion > Demand Then you end up with a room full of paper flowers! 5. Favourite part of the flower-making process? The beginning and the end. The moment you create this idea in your mind of what you're going to make and then seeing it right in front of you. In all honesty, the process is TEDIOUS, but I still do appreciate it, it's somewhat magical, who knew you could turn paper into such beautiful things? It's crazy!
6. What are your hopes for your crepe paper flower business and what can customers look forward to for your brand? I've been into crafting all my life and those who have "followed" me since the beginning would know that paper flowers are but a fraction of what I do. I also create statement necklaces and I enjoy crocheting A LOT! However, being self employed and relying on a craft business entirely for a stable source of income is a bit of a stretch, no CPF etc. And while I cannot commit to this full time, if anyone wants to collab I'm totally up for it! :) My hope is for more people to appreciate what we do. Not everyone has warmed up to the idea of spending a hundred dollars on a bunch of crepe paper flowers but will not hesitate to spend the same amount on a fresh flower bouquet that will not last past 3 days. Perhaps there's some stigma that paper flowers are not of the same standard as fresh flowers or some old beliefs that it's no good to gift paper flowers? Whatever it is, I really hope people see the beauty in the art, it's definitely more recognised in other parts of the world.
Here's where you can find Jeanine! Instagram: @handmadebyjeaninegabrielle , or @jeaninegabrielle (personal account) https://jeaninegabrielle.wixsite.com/home jeaninegabrielle.com https://www.facebook.com/HandmadebyJeanineGabrielle Email: email@example.com