Luisa Cotardo at "Words and Roses" recently sent me one of her stunning handmade paper roses. Since the current cold and frosty weather isn't conductive to gardening, I thought now would be the perfect time to review her artistic version of the rose. Luisa's roses have been presented to Queen Elizabeth, given as gifts by diplomats, and purchased by rose enthusiasts who wanted to bring the ancient art of 'cartapesta' into their home.
Luisa grew up in Lecce, Italy (a town located on Italy's boot for those of us in the US). Lecce is famous for its 'cartapesta,' which is the antique art of creating sculpture with paper. 'Cartapesta' was historically used to create the Madonnas and other religious figures found in Italy's many beautiful churches. Luisa was trained by generations of artisans and her rose sculpture helped her find a way to bring this timeless art to everyone. Luisa moved to the UK where she works as a journalist and also focuses on creating her art.
I received my rose by mail in excellent condition. One might think a paper rose would be soft and easily damaged. This isn't so, my rose is very sturdy. The roses are formed with a variety of papers. Luisa is constantly searching for unique paper, as well as paper she creates herself. Each rose is entirely handmade and distinctive. The paper rose is held together with traditional glue called 'ponnula' that is created by the artisan from a mixture of flour and cupric sulphate. 'Ponnula' creates a paper sculpture that doesn't hinder the natural look of the paper, but also creates a hard and durable sculpture that will last.
Before my rose arrived I speculated how real could a paper rose actually look? When I opened the box and placed my rose in a vase I couldn't believe my eyes. While the rose is paper, the meticulous detail and petal formation are so realistic that a passerby will definitely give it a second look. I have included several photos of the rose Luisa sent me, and I have to say I think they look great.
Luisa Cotardo was a pleasure to work with. Her roses are commissioned individually and created to your specifications. Starting price is around $20. Luisa chats with each of her customers personally either over the phone or through e-mail to make sure your rose is exactly what you had in mind. Luisa's roses can be used as buttoniers for ushers and groomsmen, wedding favors or garlands for wedding tables.
If you would like to look at more examples of Luisa's work, the link to her website is below. You can also see a photo of the rose she gave to Queen Elizabeth on her birthday at her website. Feel free to contact me through the BellaOnline Rose's editor link if you have any additional questions.