The traditional craft of making artificial flowers
The flowering of a plant does not last long, and perhaps that is what makes it such a great event. Since ancient times, people have been trying to capture the moment of blossom for eternity. In ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, wreath weaving was a recognized trade. Wreath weavers used wax flowers and perfumed flowers made of papyrus and silk, among other materials, for their ornaments. These imported goods were very precious and the jewelry was therefore accessible only to the wealthiest part of the population. It is believed that with the fall of the Roman Empire, the art of making artificial flowers was also forgotten for some time.
With the spread of Christianity, it reappeared as altar and processional decorations. Italian nuns perfected the craft and soon found secular imitators who made the goods from scraps of the northern Italian silk manufactory. Eventually, the craft found its way to the fashion-defining city of Paris. Soon the first flower manufactories in Germany were also established, the largest in Sebnitz, still produces today. The work in the manufactories was mainly done by women and children at low wages. The individual petals were cut out of the fabric with the respective punches, shaped with two-part embossing dies using heat and pressure, and then dyed and assembled to form the flower. A visit to the show workshop of the Sebnitzer Blumenmanufaktur gave us a detailed insight into the traditional handicraft:
Until the end of the 1920s, the European market for artificial flowers grew steadily, until fashion changed abruptly, and with the pursuit of simpler clothing, the decorative elements were abandoned.
Today, the high-quality artificial flower can be found practically only in the haute couture and accessories sector. One of the most famous examples may be Chanel with its Métiers d'art: traditional high-end craft studios producing for the fashion label, among which Guillet is responsible for the production of artificial flowers. Every December, Chanel presents a new collection dedicated to the Métiers d'Art, showcasing the skills of the artisans.
At Kokoro Berlin, we are always curious to learn new craft techniques and incorporate them into our creations. So we ventured into the traditional craft of making artificial flowers. Through much research and trial and error, we self-taught ourselves the techniques that brought us to the desired results. We do not use punches to make our flowers, but cut them by hand. Thus, as in nature, no flower is identical to another. For the embossing of the forms we use different soldering iron attachments, with which we can vary pressure and heat depending upon material.We use only high-quality materials such as tender silk and leather, which are partially still treated before the subsequent treatment, so that they do not deform later and hold the form of the bloom if possible for eternity.
Since we do this elaborate handwork process ourselves with attention to detail in our Berlin studio out of conviction, the production of the art flowers thus demands its time. But the results show that it is worth every second! The fact that our customers are also enthusiastic about our hair accessories made of artificial flowers is shown by our best-selling jewelry pieces such as Octavia, Manolya or Lilian.
A special highlight for us was the production of our accessories line for the collection "La vie en rose" by Kaviar Gauche for Fashion Week 2017. In keeping with the theme, we designed delicate pink silk flowers, which we assembled into hair accessories inspired by Sleeping Beauty. The blossoms are up to 8-layered, each petal has been cut by hand, pressed into shape, colored and assembled by us.
The Capsule Collection is available exclusively at Kaviar Gauche or on request from us.