Fuchsia whimsy

Black Prince 2

Fuchsia Black Prince in my garden

I have loved fuchsias ever since I discovered their whimsicality in my Nana’s wonderful North Taranaki garden.  Nothing like them grew in any of the gardens I had known until then.  They danced, they twirled, they flirted their bright, fluffy skirts, and I, I was in heaven!


  Cicely Mary Barker  expressed these feelings for me in her painting of the Fuchsia Flower Fairy (from her Flower Fairies Alphabet).  I don’t think she ever expected to meet a flower fairy, but her books were a wonderful way to start learning about flowers and plants.

   http://www.flowerfairies.com/UK/author.html will take you to a brief biography of CMB, and a review of her painting.

    http://www.flowerfairies.com/UK/home.html is the home page to the official website.




As you can imagine, these images have stayed with me, influencing what I plant in the garden, and what I make in the studio.  They’re also linked up with Christmas in the summer, as that is the time of year when they flower, and when I first became aware of them.

So it’s not surprising that I’ve been on a fuchsia-making jag since just before Christmas, exploring different shapes and textures in ribbons and lace.  I started out thinking I would do some more embellishments for bags and gloves, but somehow I’ve been side-tracked into garlands!! Garlands do seem to be a bit of a natural for fuchsias just because of the way they hang.  

Fuchsia garland in full glory!

Fuchsia garland in full glory!

The first fuchsias I made were in “natural colours”:

Fuchsia and tassel garland

Fuchsia and tassel garland


Ribbon fuchsia with tassels

Ribbon fuchsia with tassels



Pink organza and satin fuchsias

Pink organza and satin fuchsias

I didn’t make these up into garlands until quite a lot later.  First came more celebratory ones, perhaps because I had just been working on Christmas decorations.

 Golden Fuchsias 2

Gold and lace Fuchsias on mannequin              








 These garlands, on gold cords, show fuchsias made with gold satin ribbon and gold brocade (left above),  and gold satin ribbon and vintage lace (right above). 

The great thing about garlands is that they can be draped, hung or simply laid out along a flat surface. 

The next photos show the processes of making individual flowers and of attaching them to a cord or, as here, a ribbon—these narrow organza ribbons are so airy, they really add to the dancing feel of the garlands.

Making cream and plum fuchsias

Making cream and plum fuchsias


The skirt of the flower is made first, with stamens inserted (below left).  


The skirt is made from a folded piece of wider ribbon (below right), which is then gathered in a diamond pattern, with the skirt tacked on to what becomes the  centre back of the flower(centre right).       

Attaching flowers to organza ribbon

Attaching flowers to organza ribbon


Each flower is added separately, with a thread taken up from the skirt, through the top and through two or three beads.  A few stitches through the ribbon, then the thread comes back down through the beads and is knotted off.

 I see fuchsias like this, cream and plum, on my walks round the local streets.



The idea for organza ribbon instead of cords came to me when I was making some tiny fuchsia like flowers out of gold organza ribbon (some of them have pearls, not stamens, as you can see ).

Fuchsia-type flowers on organza ribbon drape an old mirror.

Fuchsia-type flowers on organza ribbon drape an old mirror.

 They were just too light and airy to be bound to a cord, and I’m finding now that I prefer this more summery effect. 

I’m enjoying this journey with fuchsias enormously.  I can see it going on for quite some time, and I will report back on more amazing effects as I discover them.

Black Prince crop 2



Thanks to Christine for the lovely photos of the ribbon and tassel garland.

Barker, Cicely Mary:  The complete book of the flower fairies.  London, Warne, 1996.

Kling, Candace:  The artful ribbon.  Concord, CA., C&T Publishing, 1996.  A primary source for anyone looking to make ribbon flowers




One Response to “Fuchsia whimsy”
  1. good to see you blogging, lass… love the fuchsias… (esp’ the fairy, don’t tell anyone!)

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