My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Take your time

My article and Japanese paper flower armature design featured in the March issue of The Academy Leader- Academy of Floral Design, published by the The Floral Art Society of New Zealand

Take your time floral art design

In a world that is constantly in a hurry, a passion for craftsmanship urges you to take your time.

My work is thoroughly contemporary but I also often use ancient, cultural and traditional craft techniques that craftsman would have used centuries ago. My floral art is the result of bringing these two seemingly contrasting two ends of the spectrum together.

Japanese paper rose armature

Making a Washi paper rose armature for a floral design is one example of bridging contemporary with traditional craft.

Rakusui Washi rose armature

Washi is Japanese paper (Wa means Japanese, and shi means paper,) and Rakusui Washi is a specific type of Washi that is made by dripping water on the paper while it's being made. Craftsman made these sheets by hand on Shikoku Island in the South of Japan.

I am inspired by the dedication these tradesman have to master their craft, and the time they took with each sheet.

Grape vine tendrils, alstroemeria, and dried lily petals

For my Washi autumn rose I wanted to do just the same, contrasting the softness of the handmade paper with the vibrancy of the autumn floral elements and natural plant material.

The armature does take time to assemble, but once it is done, the floral details can be placed and replaced in no time.

Grape vine tendrils, alstroemeria, and dried lily petals inj a Waski rose armature

The Washi needs to be suspended well above the water for the rose to keep it’s shape.

To stay in the Japanese design style I used an age old Ikebana technique called Hana Kubari to add short fresh willow twig legs for the armature to rest on. These stems will sprout roots in the water and fresh foliage to the top over time.

Take your time article The Academy Leader Floral Art Society Of New Zealand

Thank you to The Floral Art Society of New Zealand for inviting me to contribute

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9 March 2016 Spiral Washi Rose armature

Fold and paste a paper flower as an armature

28 February 2011 Paper flowers

You can use any type of paper to make flowers. I use tissue paper, Crêpe paper, cardboard, newsprint and coffee filters (new and used) to make sweet peas, carnations, paper...

6 September 2011 Autumn leaf Roses

I used to make baskets full of these when I was a little girl. We had a big Acasia thorn tree and I used to spear my “roses” onto the tree pretending I was the fairy responsible...

6 September 2011 Autumn leaf Composite Flower

Glue a round Autumn leaf Composite Flower.

11 November 2012 Autumn Leaf Rosette

Great way to use all the autumn leaves you collect on walks during the season. Slowly build up the leaf rosette and let the leaves dry before adding a few more.

15 February 2012 Gladiolus Composite

This looks spectacular but it is the easiest composite flower to make

Favourite Flowers


Inca lily, Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas

Related Designs

16 November 2022 All your Christmases…

A little bit of effort... that will last for weeks design to roll us in to the Festive Season.

21 February 2024 I'll Go First

My Spring/Easter design and the introduction article about my floral journey written by the editor, Nina Tucknott in the latest issue of Flora Magazine.

6 September 2011 When Autumn Fall

Autumn leaf composite flower

14 October 2015 What a find!

Roll autumn leaves to create a frog to keep flowers upright

11 November 2012 Leaves by Hundreds came

A rosette of fall leaves to celebrate the beauty of autumn

11 September 2013 Making it last

Split and spiral a few gladiolus flowers in a way that the stems remain intact, to spiral in a water filled filled vase for a long lasting composite flower