See how Ann Wood creates stunning paper flowers that look like the real thing. We sat down with the artist to talk about her inspiration, technique, and road to Insta fame. 

By Hannah Bruneman
August 24, 2018
paper flower art
Image courtesy of Ann Wood

Ann Wood’s art is blooming—literally. She has racked up more than 100K followers on Instagram, where she photographs her unique botanical paper art. The flowers are made from simple paper materials and are awe-inspiring with their incredibly realistic design. Each delicate flower and bouquet truly looks like the real thing.

Ann’s experience in creating art began by building mechanical gumball and pinball machines. With an art degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she experimented with simple materials, making extraordinary projects from ordinary things. The idea of creating paper flowers blossomed after a conversation with Ann’s late father. He became interested in botanicals in his final days, which inspired Ann to use her art to connect with a wider range of people through nature. Read more about Ann and her unique floral artwork, below.

How did your background with mechanics help you with creating paper flowers?

My interest in sculpture is around using ordinary materials and making them into something extraordinary. This has been true around all the different bodies of work that I’ve been involved in. It really is just paper, wire, and paint. Really simple things. It looks like something that is familiar and yet there is some sort of spirit to it. That’s what I’m trying to do with the plants. I want them to look almost real. As close to real as I can get them, but then when you walk up to them, you see that they’re made out of paper. It kind of fools the eye and it kind of has a magical quality to them, too.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve come across with paper art?

The eternal biggest challenge is to keep experimenting; to keep pushing it to see if I can make more and more complex creations. There’s so much to make! I look around outside and think, "Wow, I could make roots, I could make..." It’s kind of like an endless amount of things that can happen.

What project are you most proud of?

Currently, one of the things I’m most proud of is the creation of this large botanical wall. The last year and a half, I’ve made life-size plants that have little hooks on the back. It’s like three-dimensional wallpaper! This big piece will be one big installation somewhere when I finish it—it’s in my studio now. It will be one of my largest scale pieces that I’ve ever made. I’d like to see it shown in an art museum complex or even a botanical center, as one whole piece that is a three-dimensional growing, blooming paper wall.

What kinds of materials do you use? Where do you get your supplies?

I buy mainly white handmade paper from a local art supply store. I look for things that are tissue-thin to a card stock. For me, it’s about having the pliability of the paper. I don’t use crepe paper like a lot of the flower people do. I use more of a handmade paper with different texture and then I paint the paper with acrylic washes so the intensity of the paint is all the way through the paper.

How has your style evolved over time?

I started these around two years ago. I started with feathers first, which look complex, but are much easier to make. Throughout time, they became more realistic and more complicated.

When did your Instagram page grow so many followers?

I think when I really solely started focusing on plants. And I was featured on Instagram; that helped, too. I think my Instagram really started growing when, instead of showing everything that I made, I really focused very singularly on paper botanicals.

Do you have any tips for styling Instagram shots?

I have a secondary degree in photography before I went to art school, which I never used professionally. One of the things that drew me to Instagram is that it combined both the making of art with the styling of pictures. I collect a lot of backdrops for my work—a lot of marble slabs and wood. I am always going to Goodwill and home stores, and collecting items that I use as props with my objects. I love photographing collections of objects. I think those are some of my favorite pictures that I’ve created. It’s collections of similar things. And I love color! I am not a neutral person. I love neutral stuff, but for my Instagram account, I love things with contrasting colors on a really vibrant picture.


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