Arts never gets old. Especially not when it’s been preserved to make it last. Four junior reporters went to RosaGallery in Tseung Kwan O to try their hand at making a unique and beautiful gift using preserved flowers. Although the name might suggest an office or gallery space, founders Ginny Cheung and Minako Wong actually work from home, hosting workshops that people can sign up to using their Facebook page.
Why preserved flowers?
Ginny, 26, and Minako, 25, make a very unusual kind of art. They use a photo of each client to create simple, personalised sketch drawings of them wearing a basic ballgown.
The dress is then elaborately decorated using preserved flower petals, creating a personalised stencil of each client that looks like they are wearing a multi-coloured, 3D ballgown. Each piece takes Ginny and Minako at least two hours to make, including the time they have to create the sketches on the computer and layering the petals to form the dress.
So how are the flowers preserved? The flowers need to be collected when they are fresh and put in a mixture of a glycerine and water to keep the petals soft and pliable. Preserved flowers last for at least two years, but often last much longer.
The process ensures the colour of the flowers stays bright, but sometimes the petals are dyed to produce more unusual shades.
Art that lasts - even for beginners
To tell you the truth, I am deathly scared of anything DIY. Not that I don’t appreciate art, but it’s the glueing, sticking and cutting that gets to me. I cannot glue anything together to save my life. However, I found the process of glueing the petals on to the dress quite easy and methodical, and I would definitely recommend this craft to beginners like me.
In between all the glueing and sticking, we chatted with Cheung and Wong. They told us that they had always had a passion for arts and crafts, and they had been in various other jobs before deciding to open RosaGallery.
“We started out making accessories, but there wasn’t any profit in that so we settled on stencils and flowers instead,” said Ginny.
They knew they wanted to make dresses out of flowers. But because normal flowers wither and die so quickly, they figured out a way to keep their artwork fresh and make it last – by using preserved flowers instead of fresh ones.
It was surprisingly satisfying making a flower dress from scratch, and the finished product is now proudly perched on my desk, giving a sense of elegance to my otherwise messy workplace.
So how does it work?
The use of flowers in art projects is common, but it’s pretty disappointing when the flowers start to die and shrivel up. Before entering the workshop, this was my biggest concern – won’t my masterpiece be ruined in two days’ time, leaving me no time to show it off?
We walked into the workshop and were presented with a small rectangle of thick paper, with black and white images of our faces on them, and each stencil drawing was wearing a ballgown. RosaGallery had asked us to send a photo of ourselves ahead of the workshop, and now it all made sense, as they had used the picture to create personalised stencils for each of us. Before adding to our sketches, we were introduced to the different colours of roses, and were shown different images of how these flowers could be used all together to create a beautiful dress. We were given a few minutes to have a look at the different flowers, and then we were given some design ideas to inspire us. I decided to go with lots of colours to contrast the pastel background of my stencil.
I decided to layer my colours, and my first layer was a combination of dark and light blue. Before I began, I had a question: How will these flowers last more than a few days? The answer was clearly explained to me, as I found out that the flowers were preserved using chemicals, which ensured that the colours would look beautiful for at least two years, and probably a lot longer.
At the end, we got to frame our decorations, making them look professional and ensuring our beautiful creations will last.