Spring Update: Self-Care, Masterclass, Studio shoot, and VAM Exhibition

Jessie-Chui-Peach-and-Coral-2.jpg

Peach and Coral Paper Flower Arrangement by me now exhibiting at The Freedom Factory in Toronto.

The last few months have been really busy for me. 

Starting in mid-January, I started working on the paper flower book hardcore. I worked extensively with the editor to nail down  the flat plan (layout) of the book. I provided a sample tutorial with content and photos for review and once it was approved, I was on my way to shooting the remaining 30 tutorials. In February, I worked to finish the tutorials which often took me more than 3 hours to shoot, not the mention the hours to take to initially write it and then edit the photos and steps. 

In March, I was consumed with finishing the flowers for the arrangements for the book. The last two weeks of March were hellish (I don't presume to know what it's like in hell, but I think it likely involves being separated with your loved ones) and I was probably not very nice to be around. I worked day and night putting the arrangements together and shooting them. The two days that I shot were cloudy and rainy (quite normal during winter days here and not ideal for natural light). 

Immediately after the deadline, I slept an entire day! Much needed after 3 months of intensely doing nothing for myself.

Jessie_0004April_4_Workshop_.jpg

Fresh and paper flower arrangement by me. Photograph by Kristin Ksjaar.

The following week, I took care of myself. I got my hair coloured and cut. I slept more. I also attended a still life floral workshop with Christin Geall and Kristin Ksjaar in Toronto. There were a group of 20 of us, with each of us having varying motives for attending the workshop. The most amazing part was being able to directly speak to and connect with Christin. You may know her from her beautiful floral arrangements but she actually considers herself a teacher and intellect first and foremost. It was incredibly rewarding being able to talk about what we have in common - writing a book (her's will be published in 2020 and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!).

Jessie_0009April_4_Workshop_.jpg

Fresh and paper flower arrangement by me. Photograph by Kristin Ksjaar.

I also learned a lot from Kristin, who creates these stunning floral images with thoughtful styling. Although we have very different aesthetics, it was so interesting hearing and seeing how she shoots her images because it opened up my eyes as to how I can use my camera in other ways. There was a surprise appearance from Kristin's agent, Emily of Eye Buy Art who talked briefly about her position as an agent and how to elevate something into art which is something I am really interested in. I've been wanting to combine both fresh and paper flowers in an interesting way and I think this workshop kickstarted my pursuit. Truly an inspiring and motivating experience.

carolinetran_TPFC823.jpg

The students/attendees and instructors on the last day of the Masterclass (Photo credit: Caroline Tran)

Which leads me to the Masterclass in Monroe, Washington! This four-day conference was really an opportunity to get paper florists together from all over the world so we could all connect, share, and learn from each other. It was an incredibly empowering experience for us all - instructors and attendees alike - and an invaluable way to connect with other like-minded people. The most unexpected relationships that I developed was with Mike from Carte Fini and Jodi from Design Master (so expect to see more collaborations with these two). Both of them actively engaged with the students and were genuinely interested in our craft. Unfortunately I didn't get too much time to connect with Lia Griffith (although I might at a later event this year), however, her keynote speech was truly inspiring.

carolinetran_TPFC153.jpg
carolinetran_TPFC121.jpg
carolinetran_TPFC163.jpg

The students were enthusiastic, energized, and just so so friendly! We could not have asked for a better group of gals. Every morning they arrived at 8 am sharp for a hot breakfast and chatted with each other while the instructors prepped the classroom for the morning workshops. They were all hands-on during the large installation workshop; together they put together a large moon gate arch, a hanging installation, and flower tattoos on the fireplace mantle. The beautiful tablescape was arranged by the wedding planner Rebecca Grant of New Creations Weddings, along with rentals from Cort and the participating of so many other vendors. Our photographers Kelly Lemon and Caroline Tran took turns taking professional photos of the installations and with a model bride and groom, holding onto the students' paper flowers and bouquets. 

The photos here are those taken by Caroline Tran of the students, flowers, and the workshop. I can't show you all of the photos taken because we are hoping to get published. There will be more images and student testimonials over at The Paper Florists Collective website.

Jessie-Chui-Purple-and-Mauve-Image-2.jpg

Once I came back from the Masterclass, I had to clean up my studio space so I could ready it to be shot by Amber Ellis of Creating Light Studio and Ray Kwok of Ray Kwok Films. I kind of wished I had booked this session later, but it's done now and I'm so excited for the images from these two talented photographer and videographer. With the launch of the book in the fall, I wanted to revamp my website (that sorely needs updating) and more on brand images. I also needed a decent headshot for the book. The book publisher had asked me if I was interested in doing a promo video for the book, and well, since I know a fantastic videographer, I decided to hire Ray to film it for me.

While I was writing the book, I was approached by Tiffany of The Freedom Factory Toronto to submit a proposal to be included in their Visual Arts Movement Exhibition at their yoga studio/gallery space. Tiffany and her mother are artists themselves and their goal is to provide a space for emerging local artists to show/sell their work without having to pay hefty fees or commission to traditional galleries. Since I actually have flowers in my possession for once, I said yes and re-arranged my flowers so they don't look like the ones from the book. Four of the arrangements will be on display at The Freedom Factory until this Saturday April 27. It's entirely free to go in and view the art work. On Saturday, I'll be present from 6 pm to 12 am for the reception. There will be live music, appetizers, and a cash bar. There is an entrance fee of $20 (kids are free). If you're in the area, come! DM me or email me so I know to expect you. I'd love to talk paper flowers with you (or whatever else you want to chat about). You can even buy one of my pieces ;)

Jessie-Chui-White-and-Green-Image-2.jpg

After the weekend, I'll be running another workshop at The Paper Place and teaching the Icelandic Poppy. The Paper Place and I have plans to do one workshop a month during the summer so look out for more listings for Workshops!