Listen, we don’t want to brag, but we got to hang out with Livia Cetti of The Green Vase this week.
So during lunch one day, we made her answer a bunch of questions. Here’s our behind the scenes interview with paper-flower-making-goddess Livia Cetti.
Where do you live?
I live in the Bronx, New York.
Do you have any adorable pets/kids/life partners we need to know about?
Yes! I have two kids, Dante and Mick.
I have two cats, Chichi and Tiger Lily.
And I have my husband, Dan.
How (and when) did you get into making paper flowers?
I made paper flowers when I was a kid and I’ve always loved them. I made them a bunch when I worked at Martha Stewart, and I made my first professional paper flowers for a client in the Caribbean who wanted a tropical cake topper for their wedding. I made them a big, gorgeous hibiscus and…it was way too cool for them. They didn’t want it. (editor’s note: HOW.)
But I became obsessed. I went to the Caribbean and I made more hibiscus flowers. I love hibiscus. I actually got the idea to bleach the paper for the petals while I was in the Caribbean.
Side note: Livia’s book, The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers: A Guide to Making Unbelievably Realistic Paper Blooms, just published! It’s gorgeous, and you probably want a copy to go along with her Creativebug classes.
What’s the toughest part of making paper flowers?
For my technique, you really have to master floral tape and traditional flower-making methods.
Restraint is also important; lots of people are tempted to use every color and every paper, but you’ll really love the results when you don’t use every color every time.
What advice would you give beginning flower makers?
Be patient — this is not a craft you’ll master in a couple of hours. And start small. A lot of people decide that they’re going to make all the flowers for their wedding and it’s too much for them. Set aside lots of time to learn how to make these the right way, especially if you’re planning on tackling a larger project.
Where do you go for inspiration?
How do you make time to craft?
I have a workspace in the basement, so I have a pretty short commute. And now that my kids are older, I can leave them on their own for a while without worrying about them ending each other.
Also…I thrive under pressure. I don’t know what to do with myself when I don’t have a ton to do.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Vladimir Kanevsky lives in Jersey and makes amazing porcelain flowers. I also love the Japanese wabi sabi aesthetic.
Vintage millinery also plays a big role in my work; I have a big collection of vintage flowers and supplies — I call it my vast collection of crap. I collect vintage stamens and all kinds of things from flea markets and thrift stores like old crepe paper that’s faded to a really unique color you can’t find anywhere else.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love textiles that are antique, vintage, ethnic. Nothing too kitchsy, but I love the clean Bauhaus look. Old things that still look modern.
What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made?
I don’t have a favorite, but my most popular project is a cake topper I made for Martha Stewart. It’s a vintage lily of the valley with quilled bells and it sells like crazy.
Be honest — how much fun is it to film these Creativebug classes, or at least get to hang out in SF for a while?
I love SF and the surrounding areas…Berkeley, Oakland. I actually lived here for years and went to college at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Best and worst parts of filming a class with us?
The worst is that my brain is not linear and I forget what I’m supposed to say next. I’m also a perfectionist.
The best is that I get to be in front of the camera and teach people.
Do you like being in front of the camera?
I actually did a lot of drama when I was younger, so I like it. It’s definitely not crippling.
Last question: Where can we stalk you online?
And if you can’t wait to get started on making paper flowers with Livia, get a head start on mastering floral tape wrapping with her here: