A study in working quickly!
On Wednesday my Mom popped over with a pristine Magnolia bloom that she and her neighbor had plucked from a tree in her yard (that story involved golf clubs—don't ask). We had talked about how I'd wanted to try one of these for a while, but my neighbor's trees had all stopped blooming, and the photos I'd grabbed of their blooms were also infested with beetles (they've been a real problem out here this year!). So she knew I had been on the lookout for a good model–and boy did she deliver!
The problem with magnolia blooms—and probably what also makes them so special—is that they do not last once they are cut. Just a day later this beauty is already almost entirely brown and shriveled. I knew if I was going to get a good side by side comparison, I had to work fast. So I stopped what I saw doing and went right to work!
Luckily I had been messing around with a few ideas on these earlier, so I knew where to start. This bloom was much brighter than the versions I had photographed, so its stamen was a lighter color (which I prefer), and the base was even more vibrant (also a bonus!). I added the slightest bit of shading to the very centers of the top layer of petals, but otherwise, I left these beauties alone.
I think the real character of the Magnolia comes from their leaves—which is what has always drawn me to them in the first place. The underside is a shade of brown that is truly more of bronze than anything. I was tempted to use a metallic crepe but thought that might be overkill. Maybe another time!
I probably spent twice the amount of time on the greenery for this piece than I did on the bloom itself. I made these guys extra sturdy and reinforced each one with wire—so not only do they look gorgeous, they're supporting the otherwise delicate petals, and keeping the shape of the bloom exactly the way I wanted it to look. My heroes!
If I can figure out a way to make the leaves less time-intense, I may be tempted to make more of these. (How great would they be for the holidays?!)