Karen Hsu, of Pom Pom Factory, started making pom-poms for visual merchandising props when she was working at Mercantile in Shoreditch. Since then, she’s turned her craft to entire paper flowers of all varieties. We visited Karen’s studio and home, behind a colourful door painted by her last AirBnB guest, to step into her world of paper floristry and find out more about the craft ahead of her Christmas workshops at our Old Spitalfields Market store.
Do you create the flowers from memory, or do you use a template?
I create templates for workshops, but now I can do it from memory.
How long have you been making these paper flowers and pom-poms?
About six or seven years now! But I learned how to make pom poms, from tissue paper, as a child. From the pom poms I started experimenting with flowers and trying out different types of flowers.
Which are your favourites?
I love the Juliet Rose and the Lily best! The pom poms are great for a spring display – they’re fast to make, very lightweight and really brighten a room.
How did you progress from making these at Mercantile and then going full-time?
I got clients because they saw my work on display in store – slowly the orders came in and then started growing. I was making paper flowers for about 20 clients, then 50, then 100… I ended up having to quit and focus on the flowers!
Is it kind of like origami?
The pom poms are – and they’re actually very simple. The flowers are individual pieces of crepe paper, though. I cut the paper into a rough petal shape and then stretch and roll the paper into the shape of a 3D petal. I can really get into a zone of petal making. Once I have enough petals I fasten them onto a wire ‘stem’ using floral tape.
It seems so simple, yet so complex all at the same time.
You’ll have to come and learn at the Christmas workshops! Roses are quite simple as all of the petals are the same; you can make a handful of them in a couple of hours at a workshop.
What will you teach us to make?
They can be used as table centrepieces or décor, as present toppers, we can add ribbons to make them into tree baubles and the wire stems are also flexible, so they can be used as napkin rings!
Join Pom Pom Factory at our Old Spitalfields Market store for a series of Christmas workshops:
- Sunday 2nd December, 11.30am – 3:30pm – Paper Floral Christmas Baubles
- Sunday 9th December, 11.30am – 3:30pm – Pine Needle and Mistletoe Present Toppers
Sessions start at £10 – book online here or just drop in!
Karen wears the Dawn in Brushed Gold.