I have always loved fuchsias, and so since starting Gilli's flowers I have wanted to find a way of folding a fuchsia flower so that I could make earrings from it.
This love goes way back to my childhood. I remember my parents having a large traditional fuchsia bush in the front garden and I used to love its flowers. As a young child it wasn't just their glorious colour that appealed to me it was that seeing them dancing on the bush they always reminded me of tiny ballerinas. This love stayed with me, and although I love some of the new varieties with their wide range of colours including soft pastel tones and differently shaped petals, that old-fashioned traditional one still has a special place in my heart and I was thrilled when I moved into my house about 15 years ago and found that such a bush was in my garden.
It's not just the shape of the flower, and how they look when the breeze catches them but the combination of colours purple with a deep pink is also one of my favourites – as anyone who knows me well can vouch for. My first pair of crutches I bought myself were fuchsia coloured, my notice board in my office at work is purple with a fuchsia pink border and the colours are also reflected in my wardrobe.
As for earrings, there is a special reason why I wanted to be able to recreate these flowers and form them into earrings.
Many years ago, a couple of years after I'd moved up to London in my mid 20's I visited Covent Garden market and found a stall selling fuchsia earrings. Lots of different colour combinations and made from wooden beads and thin curved pieces of what I presumed was balsawood. Not surprisingly I bought a pair in my favourite colour combination and they remained my favourite earrings, I stored them carefully in my jewellery box because they were quite fragile but loved wearing them. Sadly although I did take care of them in the end they broke and I had to throw them away.
About 12 or so years ago, my wonderful daughter when out shopping for my Christmas present found fuchsia earrings again on sale, this time in Greenwich market and bought me a pair for Christmas knowing how much I'd loved my old ones. I think it was one of the most thoughtful presents I've ever been given and just as before I've kept them carefully in my jewellery box and enjoy wearing them. However they are now starting to fade a little but although I have several times tried searching online to find something similar I've never succeeded.
One of the fuchsia earrings my daughter bought me.
Once I'd started making my own flower jewellery it seemed obvious that I had to include fuchsias in my range. Now the problem was to find a pattern or tutorial on how to origami a fuchsia flower. In the end I found one, a beautiful fold but one which was based around a much fancier type of fuchsia than I was looking for (perhaps because it came from a Dutch origami maker and designer) and which didn't really work on the scale that I needed to.
So it was time to try and design my own, it was the first time that I'd attempted this and it went through several stages until I got something which was vaguely what I was looking for. Eventually I sorted out the "engineering" side and just needed to refine it further – although I must admit it is not pure origami as it involves glue and some use of scissors.
This was my first prototype, colours the wrong way round, not very graceful but the basic elements all came together as I wanted.
I played around with it a little more, made a couple of changes to the fold of the bell of the flower, uses is rather than folding for the tips of the sea pause and generally played around the shape.
This time I was happy, I had my own, unique design of origami fuchsia earrings. All I need to do now is get making some in different colourways ready to sell - as I write this I'm halfway through varnishing my first half-dozen pairs and so they should be finished off by the end of the week.
My next event is with E17 Designers on 24th of September at Merth and Marvel and I hope to have several in blossom by then.
Two fuchsias together, one of my well loved earrings and my completed prototype.