Why paper flowers?
A week ago I met with a friend and mentor about some projects I’m working on for my “real job.” Towards the end of our conversation, I happened to mention that I’d been spending some of my time working on a collection of paper flowers. “Do you have any photos?” he asked, unsure as to what I was even talking about. The minute I handed him my phone and saw his expression, my attitude, and my energy totally changed. I went from feeling a little insecure and almost embarrassed by just how much I had gotten into this “hobby” of mine to being excited about sharing it. So figured it was about time I take this site, my work, my story—all of it—and put it out into the world.
So why paper flowers?
I’m the kind of person who’s always doing… something. I have a hard time sitting still, relaxing, watching tv without doing something else. For years I’ve used this deficiency to keep working. I’d break for dinner, and then get out the old laptop and keep on plugging away. Right up until bedtime I’d be juggling client work, research, administrative tasks, side projects, whatever was on my list or distracting me from what I didn’t want to do on that list. Why not, right? I’m just sitting here. I might as well get shit done!
The problem with that approach is it started taking a toll. I was working too many hours, I kept taking on more and more work because I figured I could fit it in (you know—nights, or over the weekends), I was exhausted and worst of all, I couldn’t sleep. Days, and weeks, and months ticked by without me even realizing it. It’s a familiar tale, but it shouldn’t be. What are we doing to ourselves? Is it worth it?
Around the start of the year, I decided I needed to make some pretty significant changes: No more working late every night on my laptop. I also needed to get my mind off of work, off of design projects, off of blogs and social media—I needed to start doing something that made me feel like I was actually having some down time, having fun, and creating. I went through my mental checklist of all of the odd hobbies I’ve dabbled with over the years, and one stood out.
For me, this is the perfect outlet for my anxieties, my frustrations, my stress. I get to have fun with two of my favorite things in the world—flowers, and paper.
I spent months experimenting with techniques, templates, taking apart real flowers and photocopying their petals, studying photos and old books. I love the challenge of figuring out how to make these amazing flowers come to life with paper. It has its frustrations, and there have been many failures, but at the end of the day I have tangible results I can admire (or laugh at), and to me, that’s good enough.
So instead of being embarrassed by my obsessive making disorder, worried about what people will think, or concerned about whether this will affect my ‘real work,' I’m embracing this pastime for all that it’s worth. I’m sleeping better, I’m excited about my career again, I’m happier—best of all, my house is filled with flowers all of the time!
So why did you start another business, Carrie?
That seems counter-productive.
Fair point! As I’ve been sporadically sharing some of my creations I’ve been getting more and more requests for people wanting to know more, to buy them for gifts, wanting to know if I’d make them for their wedding, etc. So instead of pointing those people to a random Instagram feed, a link to a business that’s not at all related, and having absolutely no system in place, I fixed that. As a chronic entrepreneur, doing things in a professional manner also makes me super happy.
There you have it!
I’d love to hear what you think of the site, if you like the flowers, if you’re a mental health professional looking for a new research subject—you name it. Leave me a comment or use this form a send it my way.
Until next time,