For as long as I can remember, I've given my Mum a bunch of daffodils on Mother's Day. There's something about these bright and sunny flowers that she just finds delightful. This year, I found something even better when I stumbled across a small business based on the Isle of Mann called Felt Bloom Emporium.
Owner and maker Bee Gibbons lovingly creates floral designs out of wool blend felt. The result is a beautiful handmade gift that lasts forever. I bought her daffodil bouquet which my Mum absolutely adored!
I knew instantly that I had to learn more about Bee's inspiration and creative process. Read on to learn more...
Where are you waving from?
I am waving from the beautiful and picturesque seaside village of Port Erin in the Isle of Man.
The Isle of Mann is known for its natural beauty, culture and heritage. What is it about this unique island that inspires you to create?
This little island is such a beautiful location with some amazing and diverse features. It is a magical place full of faerie folklore and viking history. The island is only 33 miles long and 13 miles wide. We have mountains and hills, beaches and cliffs and of course the world famous TT course! The flora here is quite unique too, we have many nature reserves which I love to visit with my family. These walks provide an abundance of inspiration for me and I love to re-create the beautiful flowers I see.
Have you always been a lover of flowers and floral arrangements?
Yes! One of my earliest memories I have is spending time with my grandparents in their garden. Tending to the flowers and helping with potting and watering. My Grandad was very green fingered, he could grow anything! I'm at my happiest being outside surrounded by nature.
I have also worked in a cake shop where I made sugar flowers for wedding cakes. I guess I have been making flowers in one form or another for many years!
What encouraged you to start making your beautiful felt bouquets?
I've always enjoyed making things. I love being creative. I first started making stuffed felt animals for my children. From there, I joined a felt craft group online and have been creating felt flowers ever since. I love working with felt, it is so versatile and easy to work with. My house is filled with an array of felt flowers in vases, floral wreaths on the walls and I even have flower garlands in the bedroom. I have a very understanding husband! I started Felt Bloom Emporium when my son was diagnosed with ASD. I needed the flexibility to support him at home. It was daunting at first, but my family and friends have been so supportive and I couldn't imagine doing anything else now.
Who was the first person you made and/or sold a bouquet to?
The first bouquet I ever made was for my stepmother. She adores fresh flowers. Her house is always adorned with them. I made her a bouquet to match her living room colours and she was thrilled. The first bouquet I ever sold went to Canada! I was so nervous and worried that they weren't going to be good enough, but the customer sent me a lovely message to tell me she was over the moon with her flowers. I definitely feel more confident now!
How long does a single flower or bouquet take to make?
It depends on the flower but it can be anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of hours to make one bloom. My large roses contain over 50 petals and can take a few hours to cut and assemble. A whole bouquet can take me a few days to make. I am a bit of a perfectionist though and I like to spend time in getting each bouquet exactly how i envision it.
Can you talk us through your creative process of coming up with a new flower design?
A lot of inspiration comes from gardening books (I have a lot of them!). I also love the British countryside, especially wildflowers, which are my favourite. I also use Pinterest for looking at floral arrangements and colour boards for ideas. I've also spent time looking at flower anatomy, taking flowers apart you can see the petal shapes, stamens and how they all fit together. I also use my knowledge gained from making sugar flowers in my previous job.
Apart from being amazing gifts for loved ones, what other uses have you found your flowers?
I have recently started putting my flowers on painted mdf rabbit shapes. I would love to expand on this. I am hoping to have some swans, squirrels and teapots soon! I've also made bookmarks, paper clips, headbands and my wood hoop wreaths are proving very popular.
Have you ever thought about creating and selling other felt objects?
I love to make things with felt. I still make felt toys for my children and other little things. My little one loves space and I recently made a set of felt planets for his birthday. My passion though is making flowers.
What are your long-term goals for Felt Bloom Emporium?
My business is fairly new but I'm set to do some local craft stalls in a few months, and I'd like to approach some gift stores on the Island to stock my products. I'm also going to expand my range of decor, as I have so many ideas! I would like to stock some wood letters that I can add flowers to. These would be lovely for weddings or to display in a nursery. I love the idea of using empty wood shapes, hexagons, hearts etc and fill them with my flowers. I would also love to create ranges of products around the seasons of the year.
Where can people see and buy your products?
Here are some links where you can view and buy my work:
If you're looking for a unique gift, head on over to the Felt Bloom Emporium shop to see what unique creations Bee has available. Alternatively, if you have a particular flower or design in mind, send her a message to discuss a custom order. Thnaks Bee for sharing your story!
All images and designs are copyright © Felt Bloom Emporium.