“How did you start making paper flowers?” “What got you started?” are one of the most asked questions when people find out that I’m the hands behind BITA. The long answer starts with the word “recession”, I won’t get into that now. But the short answer is “European Crepe Paper”. Once I started "sculpting" my petals with it, I couldn't stop.
Crepe Paper is a essentially tissue paper that is sized and then “creped” (crinkled) to create gathers. It has a very distinct texture and feel. Unlike any other paper (at least the ones I know of) it can be stretched and sculpted as you see in the images below.
European crepe papers are special because of it is so densely creped, allowing it to stretch 3 times it’s original size. When you take a workshop with me, you'll get to learn and feel the difference between all different types of crepe paper. Now, that's a fun (crafty geeky) learning experience. The ones I use most is from Italy and Germany.
The colors of the crepe paper is still mixed by hand and fed into a machine that dyes the paper and then crinkles it. Therefore, each batch can vary slightly, which I've learned to love as well. Crepe paper is also UV ray sensitive, some colors more than others, which is was what really taught me to embrace the paper for what it is. Some colors age/fade really beautifully, loosing its original vibrance and intensity and instead start carrying its color in softer ways. However, some colors such as "sage" totally loose it's color. It actually turns brown. Which is why I now take swatches time to time and test them. Also the reason why I no longer use sage at all. I'm still sad about it. I don't think I'll ever get over that.
My "someday" visit to Italy or Germany will definitely include a visit to the factory such as the one shown here. This one is located in Italy. And of course, I'll share all the images from the visit right here on BITA blog. Until then, enjoy these images from the paper makers themselves here.