Interview: Jennifer Tran from paPetal

My friend Jen makes paper flowers; very pretty, very delicate and realistic looking paper flowers that could have any bee fooled. I mean, don't you just want to lean into the screen and give these peonies a good sniff too?
Just this year, Jen started selling her floral wares under the brand paPatel. I had a chat to her recently to find out more behind the brand and what makes her tick. Read on if you're interested...


Tell us more about yourself.

My name is Jennifer Tran. I’m 30 years old. I was born on a cold Christmas Day in Hanoi in 1983. I spent most of my childhood in the city so I never had a chance to be close to nature. My interest in flowers only started recently.
When did you first made your first papetal creation and what was it?

My first creation was a bouquet I made for my best friend’s surprise birthday in December 2013. It was a simple arrangement of white and yellow roses. At the time, I only had two rolls of crepe paper so I needed to be more creative with them. I decided to spray paint on the paper to achieve different tonal effects. The result was quite pleasing. My work has developed greatly over the past few months, however, this bouquet remains my most favourite and significant work.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I am constructing an arrangement inspired by Yves Klein’s work. Just a sneak peak, there will be intricate hand-­‐rolled stamens, intense blue and lots of dazzling gold petals.

Tell us the story behind the brand paPetal.

I came to love flower making last December as I crafted a bouquet for my best friend’s surprise birthday. I was so obsessed that just within the last two months of 2013, I tirelessly crafted hundreds of experimentations. The results were not always as successful as I would hope. However, I enjoyed every bit of this process. It was an exhilarating experience to see my ideas blossoming and unfolding in front of me. I was able to transform ordinary materials into something so charmingly beautiful. I created new forms and discovered new techniques along the way.

There was so much to learn and to explore, I could not stop making ever since. In January 2014, I created a blog share my work with friends and family. As the blog began to develop, I started receiving custom order requests. I decided to open a shop on Etsy not only to sell but also to learn how to manage a "brand". There is a lot of administration involved in managing paPetal, however, I find this process as fun and rewarding as flower making. In March 2014, after several months of brainstorming, paPetal was christened as the official brand name.

How did you come up with the name paPetal?

After a few months of brainstorming with no luck deciding on a name that would suit my brand image, I decided to follow my husband’s formula. First, I wrote down a list of 2-­‐3 word phrases that best described what I was doing. Then, I picked three of most favourite phrases. Next step was to play with the words, mixing and matching them together to create new meanings. After several tries, I found paPetal. It was a non-­‐existing word, short, simple and captured literally what I was doing without being so suggestive. So there, I finally found it.

What inspires you and your paPetal designs?

Besides nature, I find inspiration in textile & wallpaper designs. Victoria & Albert publishing has a great collection of patterns from the late 1800s to Art Nouveau to Pop. I can spend hours browsing through the archive, it’s just endless.

Name three things you love

1. Yoga, because it keeps my head clear and my body fit.
2. My Mont Blanc Meisterstuck fountain pen because it truly is a masterpiece of craftsmanship.
3. Ceramic tableware made by my husband because they make the perfect vessels for my flowers.


Thanks Jen for taking the time out to answer my questions. Your work and creativity is an inspiration to me!

You can see more of her work on her blog, Facebook and Instagram: @papetalcraft. She takes custom orders and event consultations.

21 Responses to Interview: Jennifer Tran from paPetal

Brandi said...

Your friend does such beautiful work. The flowers are amazing and so realistic. I'm inspired to try making some.

Niken said...

she's so talented. her works look like a real flowers.

MaysaAndSunshine said...

Her work of art is just gorgeous. I attempted to make artificial flowers before but gave up too soon. Her flowers look really beautiful. Very inspiring.

Ananka said...

These are absolutely stunning! :-)

Juju at Tales of said...

I'm totally following her now. Her stuff is beautiful!!!!

Beatrice Euphemie said...

So lovely and creative - I wish her all the best with her new business. xo Karen

pretty little things said...

All the best dear. They are such beauty.
xo sabbi

Emily Tang said...

hope your friend business doing good
and you are such a helpful friend!

burntfeather said...

I was fooled! One of the best examples I've seen of artificial flowers for sure :) Fun read too!

Jane said...

definitely fooled! these are gorgeous!! so talented!

monique said...

Great interview. I love the flowers ) They look amazing.

Stacy @ Sweethearts + Sweet Tarts said...

Her flowers are exquisite and life like!

Jessica said...

Whoa! Your friend is super amazing! This is just so creative and beautiful. I agree that they look like real flowers!

Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

Sharon D said...

Woww..the flowers are so pretty. She's really talented. I feel like hugging a bunch and bursting into song..haha

My Garden Diaries said...

Oh my goodness! Those flowers are the most stunning paper creations I have ever seen! And the fact that she has only been at it for a year is just mind blowing! She has a gift and I am so glad you have shared it with all of us!!! A wonderful week to you friend! Nicole xoxo

Rose said...

She is so talented and creative! Wish I have half her talent myself.

orchid Miyako said...

Wow, what a detailed and exquisite works of flowers♡♡♡ I WAS fooled as well.
I wish I had even a small talent for handcraft ;-)

Wishing you and your sweet family are having wonderful week, Trishie;

Sending you lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

Anouka said...

I just love her creations! So beautiful and neat.

Tina Bradley said...

Wow! Jen is so very talented! I adore peonies--so, I'm really digging these! :) T.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Trishie,

The flowers are gorgeous, so lifelike and thought they really were peonies.
Wishing your friend all the best with paPetal and thanks for sharing.


Sam said...

She is so brilliantly creative and talented, these are beautiful. Hope your week is going well :)