I was asked if I would blog a little about the design work that went into my recent commissioned wedding bouquet. Just fair warning, this is going to be a long, wordy post.
Now, I don't have the knowledge to even pretend to be a floral design expert, but I hope that at least going through my thoughts will help others as they make their own designs, and so anyone who goes through all the effort of reading this whole post can gain an understanding of the amount of work that goes into something this large.
I've spent a lot of time in the last year just researching wedding bouquets, because I knew I wanted to make them, and I wanted to make them well. So I've been studying this for a long time. I've watched how florists put them together, how the flowers sit against each other. While looking at pictures of bouquet that were more aesthetically appealing I carefully took note of what types of flowers were being combined, and the effect they had on the bouquet as a whole. Naturally, there are other considerations in play with beaded flowers (weight being the prime issue), but you can learn a lot by studying fresh and fake flower arrangements and bouquets.
This particular bouquet was commissioned, so not all of the choices were mine, but I did play a large part in choosing the flowers. There wasn't any scientific reasoning with my choices. Some of it was just a feeling and I'm not sure I can really even figure out what my reasons were for choosing them.
My customer messaged me inquiring about a Dahlia bouquet with a mix of a bunch of other types of flowers, but she wasn't sure which ones she wanted. She sent me the picture to the right to show me which type of Dahlias she liked best, and the colors that they should be - light pinks and peachy pinks. She also gave me this color palette to work with: coral pink, rose pink, blush pink, peach, and some ivory.
When she mentioned coral pink, my mind went straight to Peonies, which she loved. Now, these particular Dahlias she wanted and Peonies are both large flowers, which means that when made of beads they will be heavy. That means you can't put too many of those in a bouquet together unless you have arms of steel. So, for the rest of the flowers I tried to pick ones that would be a little smaller and lighter.
There are several characteristics I kept in mind while choosing flowers: shape, size, and color. These Dahlias were large and fluffy with multiple layers of long pointed petals. Peonies are large and fluffy with rounder petals and lots of frilly texture. Roses were an easy pick. They pair well with almost any other flower, and they can be made in any size you need. My customer wanted the ruffled roses, so that's what we went with, along with one of the regular roses. Since they were roses, I figured hey, let's go with rose pink for those.
Anemones are smaller lighter flowers with a relatively small number of rounded petals and a nice dark centers for contrast, and they come in Ivory. :) Some Anemones have frilly petals and some have round, I went with round because my Peonies and Ruffled Roses both have frilly-edged petals and I wanted to mix it up.
So there were our main form flowers. With beaded flowers you can't always press flowers together and close up all the holes, so I figured filler flowers would be needed to avoid any gaps between flowers. Billy Balls are cute and pretty popular right now, and they add a new shape. When I mentioned those to my customer she came back with Astilbe and Lavender, which were perfect. They are both longer flowers, easy to make, and they take up space without being too heavy. Though it did add yellow and purple to our colors. The Astilbe we made in a light pink because there were so many other darker pinks and we didn't want those to take over.
For foliage I went with a mix. There's a large mixture of flowers, so it might be a little odd to have just one type and color of leaf. It's just more interesting with a mix. There are long pointy leaves, and short wide pointy leaves, and larger pointy scalloped leaves, and drooping sprigs of small round leaves. And 3 different colors of beads. We mixed these in between flowers instead of making a collar below the flowers to break up the pinks, and to provide a more organic texture.
I hope my scattered and unprofessional thoughts will be of some use to you. :)
Oo! I also finished my next couple of custom orders. There was this purple-y ruffled rose. This one was made with matte/frosted beads, which I don't normally use. They feel weird on my fingers. But the rose is still very pretty! My customer is using this in her wedding. :)
I also had my previous customer come back requesting more vines, which were very simple and easy to make. :)
Now with all my custom orders completed, I will put almost all of my beading energy into making Peonies. I will be taking tons of pictures of each and every piece so I can make a PDF Pattern. There will be a full Peony, a half open Peony, and a bud, along with the leaves of course. It should be available in my Pattern Shop and my New Etsy Shop for patterns by the end of the month.
I've been putting off posting this week until I finish a post about designing the wedding bouquet I just made, but there are too many thoughts to try to organize and lots of other things I need to share.
First off - Here are some pics of a recent custom order.
This was a fun one to work on as I was using crystal pearl beads instead of my usual seed beads. This set was made for my customer's wedding, and she's has already let me know how much she loves it. In the set there is a 12" vine which will be twisted into her braid, and there are three flowers (one extra shown in the pics as a sample) each with a different design. The largest (only 1.5" across) was set on a hair pin, while the two small ones were left on a length of bare wire that her hairdresser could twist into the main vine where needed while she's styling her hair. :)
I have one custom order left in my queue (and I'm mostly finished with it), and it is for a ruffled rose made in a mauve-y color. My customer picked out frosted beads for this one, which I don't normally use. But, they are very pretty!
For those of you who haven't seen my post on Facebook, or on the "News" section on my Home Page - beginning September 10th I will temporarily stop taking custom orders for my beaded flowers. I will be taking care of some personal business. Then in November I will begin taking orders again. I will still be making beaded flowers, just not anything with deadlines as I may be too busy to guarantee any dates.
Speaking of Etsy Shops... until today I have had my handmade beaded flowers, along with my PDF Patterns and Tutorials available in a single Etsy Shop - LaurenHCreations. Today I separated out my PDFs into a separate shop, which I have named LaurenHCreationsPDF. My patterns can also be found on Payhip through my Pattern Shop page. Two separate venues, same patterns. :)
I do have a coupon code for my blog readers to use on Etsy - BEADER20 for 20% off any order.
Hello everyone! I am Lauren Harpster, the designer behind Lauren's Creations. I am a 28 year old wife, and a mother to three adorable little kids. I've been making French Beaded Flowers for six years now, and teaching French Beading through my website for about four years. I hope you'll join me on my blog so you, too, can Learn the Art of French Beading.
Subscribe to my Newsletter to receive Blog Updates and announcements for new Patterns, Tutorials, Videos, and Books!