Paper Floral Artistry
Paper floral artistry may have had a humble beginning because of its virtual non-existence, but it is now in high demand and in full production mode thanks to our friend and artist Khrystyna Balushka-Whitehead, aka. Balushka. Her genuine and kind demeanor radiate through the words of her story-telling of how she is truly living her dream, and how she has risen to success. Without further ado, here is Balushka, the creator and inventor of Paper Floral Artistry…
Urbanette Magazine: What inspired your vision for paper artistry? How did you get started, and when and where did you establish your business?
Balushka: I’ve been around paper my whole life. My parents have a printing business in Ukraine. I grew up folding paper and helping my parents. I have also loved to create clothes ever since I was 12 years old. There was no opportunity to study fashion in Ukraine. Instead, I attended and graduated from the Math Institute. It seemed like a logical degree that would give me plenty of opportunities. I decided I could focus on my passions in my spare time. I think the creative and analytical aspects play into the paper flowers.
I traveled to Alaska and met my future husband who is American. That is another story in itself. After living together in Ukraine for a year, we decided to move to America so I could finally study fashion. While in school one of my professors asked me to make paper flowers for a backdrop for an advertisement for a bridal line. I had no clue how to make them. The first flower took four hours. But I realized that making paper flowers makes me happy. I felt like I had traveled to “flowerland” and this is how I realized that this is what I wanted to do. This is how Paper Floral Artistry was born. Having an eye for photography, I realized the paper captured light in a very unique way when it is folded and darted in flowers. It is a great backdrop and they should be everywhere. I decided I will paper flower the world!
“While in school one of my professors asked me to make paper flowers for a backdrop for an advertisement for a bridal line. I had no clue how to make them. The first flower took four hours. But I realized that making paper flowers makes me happy.”
I made the first flowers a year ago and I decided to make it a business. I quit my full-time job in July of this year to give all of my time to flowers. I am based out of Houston, TX, but I have customers worldwide.
Urbanette: Is your business geared toward brides and their weddings or other and do you plan to expand your vision or stay focused on brides?
Balushka: I work for brides and style weddings. My work also decorates office spaces, retail stores, galleries, nurseries, birthday parties, corporate parties, bat mitzvahs … any special occasion and home decor.
Urbanette: Do you have a studio where clients come or do you send your creations to your clients?
Balushka: I work from my studio, but I rent and sell flowers worldwide. I just came back from New York where I decorated a VIP area at the Electric Zoo Festival using plastic flowers. I am getting ready for a trip to Miami to decorate a bat mitzvah. Local customers do come to my studio. I deliver and set-up installations and I am always ready to travel for an installation worldwide.
All of my flowers are handmade in my studio. I make paper flowers, but I can also embellish flowers with: vintage lace, pearls, veil netting and crystals; fabrics which I can hand-dye such as silk, vintage lace; I can emboss, do custom stenciling which is great for wedding dates, and hand paint paper. I will attempt to do pretty much anything requested. As I mentioned above, I work with plastic to make flowers. These are good for outdoor occasions and add a different palette of colors. My future plans are to work with clay and metal. I would like to get into exterior design for houses.
“I create all flower patterns from scratch. I get inspiration from nature and have huge geometric influence from my mathematical education.”
Urbanette: Do you do custom orders, or do you have standard items you use and make?
Balushka: I have basic items and packages for purchase in my Etsy store. I started out with clothes, but now it is mostly paper flowers. I primarily do custom orders. Different personalities can be reflected in the flowers. I cater to all budgets. Basic paper flowers are cheaper but are still exquisite. A customer can order 5 flowers or 500 (although I need fair warning to make 500!) I am always trying to grow and develop, and recently I started doing arches and backdrops. I have also done centerpieces, cake toppers and boutonnieres. I am really trying to add an artistic element by incorporating flowers into different “scenes” in vases with other pieces of art.
Urbanette: Can you give us and our readers insight into this process?
Balushka: I started off using paper from my local art store. I now use high-quality, textured paper. I can work in any color. I use industrial hot glue to create the flowers. I send samples for large orders so customers know the quality and size of flowers.
I create all flower patterns from scratch. I get inspiration from nature and have huge geometric influence from my mathematical education. Depending on the design of the flower, it takes anywhere from eight to 48 petals. Flowers range in size from one inch to 60 inches (this is not the limit! It is just what I have done so far). One flower can take up to six hours depending on the size and the customization requests. But I would say the average time is 2 hours.