Laurie Cinotto crafts beautiful objects from paper. Her nostalgic bouquets of delicate crepe blossoms, whimsical three-dimensional paper garlands, and miniature birdcage lantern ornaments suggest the handiwork of some nimble-fingered Victorian doyenne channeled through Martha Stewart. Indeed, one of Cinotto’s original paper-and-fabric-flower wedding bouquets landed last year in the pages of Martha Stewart Living (she has also appeared as a guest artist on Martha’s Weddings blog). Her contemporary collection of sweet collectibles is available locally at fly, a boutique that sells artists’ products on Broadway.
The Tacoma-based artist operated her own floral event business for a decade (creating extraordinary, strangely beautiful arrangements, as this writer can attest), but quit in 2009 to turn to crafting fulltime. “Floral work is hard work, and it’s stressful, too,” she says. “Fresh flowers are perishable, so it’s always a race against time when you’re working with them.” Trading in hothouse flowers for the more permanent variety she found herself making helped eliminate stress and stimulate the creative process. What’s more, “As soon as I made the commitment, so many amazing opportunities started rolling in the door. Things I had been dreaming about for years started happening.”
Two of Cinotto’s most popular creations are her corsages and boutonnières – small, poetic assemblages designed from fabric with all the trimmings: ribbon, feathers, tiny birds, buttons, even real starfish. These aren’t your mom’s prom corsage, or the lapel flower your dad assigned to his best man. “Every piece is carefully taped, wired and stitched,” she says. “I don’t take shortcuts when it comes to craftsmanship. Each composition is carefully considered, and I pay great attention to detail.” She credits much of the pieces’ nostalgic charm to the vintage materials she scours for at thrift stores, antique shops and estate sales.
Cinotto is currently working on a book and paper flowers kit for Barnes & Noble, due out in 2011. She teaches crafting classes at her home studio (information at www.lalalaurie.com), runs an Etsy site (www.etsy.com/shop/lalalaurie), and participates in local events such as the popular craft fair, Tacoma is for Lovers. You can find her work at fly, 904 Broadway, open Thurs., Fri. & Sat. 12-5.