At a glance, the bouquet of flowers appears as if it were freshly picked from the garden, but a closer look reveals it’s actually paper flowers made with intricate details, colours and shapes, and it looks gorgeous.
Self-taught paper artist Soo Wai Yan, the founder of Evermore Flower, crafts the most exquisite and sophisticated replicas of paper flowers in various sizes, from the size of a thumb to the length of a ceiling fan.
“I love to manipulate papers in various ways. The power of paper is that it can be transformed into literally anything by the right person’s hands,” said the 30-year-old, who became a paper artist after being inspired by the unlimited possibilities the material afforded.
“I have designed paper flower walls for event decorations and boutique visual merchandising, 3D paper animals such as birds, butterflies, bears, koi fish, and even fashionable flower headpieces from paper for beauty shoots,” said Soo.
Inspired by real-life botanical objects such as flowers, leaves and animals, as well as food and fashion, Soo also ventures outside the box, looking at interior design, photography and paintings for new ideas for her unique masterpieces.
One of her most complex designs is a bird.
“It is challenging. Unlike flowers, different species of birds have various movements when they fly, rest, take off, hunt or land. I studied every bird’s expression, physical features, body posture and anatomy. Each movement of the bird has a different posture for wings, claws, beak and body.”
In 2016, she brilliantly crafted a blue and yellow bird, illustrated by a Korean artist, for a Korean cosmetic brand.
The bird illustration was printed on a powder case. Her client did not expect it to be in 3D form but she surprised them.
“My talent was also appreciated by Kinokuniya Bookstore. I was tasked to make 3D paper animals from a series of limited edition angpau designed by a Hong Kong-based illustrator, Eric Chan. We created each angpau with a special design and unique paper art,” said Soo.
Soo also created a three-foot-long paper bear sculpture designed by Lapa Studio for the Daboba bubble milk tea company, and another project where she crafted a paper butterfly using origami techniques and papercut patterns on its wings.
Revel in beauty
“My art pieces revel in the stiffness and flexibility of paper, its soft rolls and sharp edges, and how it can be sliced into fronds or folded,” said
Soo, who applies techniques such as weaving, quilling (forming the paper into rolls), and overlapping to craft the 3D paper art.
“I use crepe paper and art paper. Crepe paper is good to use when creating realistic, yet delicate soft petal flowers, due to its elastic texture which is easy for shaping,” said Soo.
However, due to the often limited supply of crepe paper, she tends to use more art paper (cardstock).
“I use lower grammage art paper for small flowers (about 120gsm-180gsm) for delicate and soft petal flowers, and higher grammage (180gsm and above) for bigger size flowers due its durability,” said Soo, who applies techniques and skills learned through her years of experience.
Her artistic process involves using a large amount of paper but there are concerns about the conservation of the environment, especially trees.
Some environmentalists would say using a lot of paper means cutting more trees to make paper, a concern that is also at the back of Soo’s mind.
“Paper is a recycled resource,” she explained. “Our efforts in environmental conservation includes collecting trash paper in a bag and sending it to the recycling centre, on a weekly basis. We also opt to use recycled paper.
“Besides, we also make donations to tree planting organisations in Malaysia such as the Global Environment Centre (GEC).”
Soo also opts to use eco-friendly paper. “We are currently working with RJ Paper on a plantable ‘seed paper’, which is handmade from recycled paper, and it includes many plant seeds. The seeds germinate when we plant the paper into the soil,” said Soo.
As for the future, Soo plans to create another paper bird. “But this time, I am going to create a macaw using a new technique,” said an excited Soo, adding that she loves to push herself creatively.