Our Exclusive Interview With Kholoud Dokhqan Of Blooms By Kholoud
What inspired you to start creating paper flowers?
When I was in high school, I was one of the top students in handmade flowers in art class. I was really interested in the process of making a flower from scratch. we used wires, glue, starch, gypsum, and paper.
I decided to study agricultural science at university due to my love of plants and flowers. And in 1987 I opened my shop in Amman. After a while, the work became repetitive, and decided to create something different. I remembered the flowers I made in high school and started to make flowers with different materials and posted a picture of my work online and it got a great response from my family and friends.
My work got spotted by a customer who was planning a wedding for her daughter. And I kickstarted this path with a giant order of three thousand paper flowers; my biggest order to date. And that’s how Blooms started.
What is the art of making paper flowers called?
Bespoke handmade flower art: where the components of a flower are carefully cut and assembled to mimic the shape and curve of real flowers. Can be made to real-life size or exaggerated to fit an art gallery.
How did you develop the skill of creating paper flowers?
Basing it on my knowledge from school, with my degree in agriculture science; my artistic capabilities alongside my knowledge of flower types and anatomy have immensely helped with progressing further with this path.
Art always imitates nature, and having 30 years of experience working in my flower shop added to my knowledge, attention to detail, and design skills. Also since last year Tara with an architectural background and Khawla who is meticulous and has a love for artistry joined our team allowing Blooms to grow.
Practice, passion, and teamwork are traits that are mandatory when developing any skill and I think that is a key element to the success of Blooms.
How do you work with your clients to come up with the concept and design of your arrangements?
We work with designers and individuals, so it differs from one project to another. It can be the case that a designer would come with a vision, and we work together to make it come to life. Customers would come with an open mind and would like to explore our expertise to play with different colors, and materials to sample an idea and we develop it from there.
We try to diver all our work to match the client’s budget, and vision to deliver the final results.
Are paper flowers eco-friendly? If so, do clients ask for them for sustainable weddings or events?
They are in the sense that they are reusable. They are not wasted after one use. Some are more long-lasting than others, foam flowers can sustain through indoor and outdoor environments. While paper flowers can only be used indoors. We also make sure in the way we work with materials, to create the minimum waste, reuse cutouts for other projects and work with materials that are good in quality and durability.
Customers in Jordan are slowly easing into the idea of making sustainable weddings. To use reusable items instead of disposables. To trust their event designer to source materials locally and support local talents, to rely on reusing or repurposing materials, flowers, etc. to be more environmentally conscious.
What paper do you normally use for your flowers? Can you use recycled paper?
We can use any kind of paper. And each type would give a different texture or feel to the flower. Tissue paper, newspapers, gift or crepe paper are all materials we are familiar with.
The type of flower we use also plays a role in deciding the size and materials. The bigger, the heavier it must get to make sure we match the ratio of the real flower to the stability and the movement of the installation.
Can you make paper flowers waterproof?
Using materials like foam makes the flower waterproof. If it was the customer’s wish to work with paper, we spray the paper with special materials to make it a bit more tolerant to humidity and light.
Can you walk us through your creative process when creating flowers for a specific event or display?
The first step is to gather information about the event, the location of the flowers/installation, and where will they be displayed. This helps in determining the size of the flowers, and the material that will be used.
We then sketch the flower; and in some cases, we do technical drawings or 3D images.
After selecting the materials and accessories we will be working with, each petal is cut, sawn, and painted separately and then fixed and assembled. We also collaborate with blacksmiths and carpenters if the project requires that.
Overall, the creative process for creating flowers for a specific event or display involves careful planning, attention to detail, and a keen eye for design.
What sets your flowers apart from real flowers?
Creativity & Customizations; we play with the scale and color of the original flower. And our flowers last for a longer time. Additionally, they can be enjoyed in any setting, regardless of the availability or seasonality of real flowers.
What is your favorite type of flower to create and why?
I hold all my work dearly and proudly. I don’t have a specific favorite, but when the final piece turns out beautiful and to the customer’s liking.
What is the largest installation or display that you have created using paper flowers?
There are quite a few to mention, the largest quantity order has been my first project that we worked on; producing 3000 paper flowers; around 15 people helped me out!
The biggest flower in height has been the project we did for the Amman Film Festival (2m high black iris)
And the last one would be the installation we did for the Amman Opera Festival with Zeina Barhoum. 3 meters Camelia flower as a part of the stage set design.
What is the future of Blooms by Kholoud?
I like to live in the moment and not think too much about the future. But a school for floral arts and crafts, where I get to share my knowledge and experiences with young artists that share the same passion for arts and craftsmanship sounds nice. And hopefully, collaborating with international brands in the future!