According to what I have read thus far, these Flowers started in Brugge, moved to the Low Countries, and spread
from there. The earliest examples I have date to 1480. While they contined to be manufactured until the 18th century, they
were really only popular until about 1520.
Mechelen seems to have been a center of the production as one book said the convent there drove out whatever cottage
industry they had in the area. It would seem that, from the examples of the art I have found, the artform didn't make it to
far out of the region. And yet there are simular flowers from Italy and Malta though I have not seen any historical examples
of either. There are also said to be yet another type of flower from Austria. Again, I have not seen examples.
I find, as I progress through trying to replicate the flowers, that there are only three items needed to make any flower:
silk thread (or floss), wire, and vellum. Any combination of the three can create any number of flower varities. The wire,
formed into bullion by coiling it, can be of numerous base metals and coiled in many different ways but it is still only one
item. To me this makes perfect sense. All three of these items are pretty easy to come by and take more time than money to
produce the finished flower. While I'm sure none of the items were especially cheap even in the early 1500's, the flowers
are on a relatively small scale so very little of each item is required. I have found that the average flower requires approx.
a 2 or 3 inch square size of vellum, 2 yards of wire, and a five meter skein of silk floss. Moreover, those would be
finished amounts, the actual usage can come from much smaller, leftover pieces. As an example, the vellum I'm using is all
small bits left over from cutting full pages out of the hide - the pieces aren't large enough for even a page in the smallest
book or they are irregular enough to be worthless as such. And while I do use some purchased bullion, I end up coiling most
of the wire myself because I can't buy anything as small as I need.
The first flower I replicated contained no vellum and was of a type that are currently being made in Malta (and there
have recently been numerous books written on the subject, giving instruction) and Europe. The second one contained the same
technique as the first, with the addition of the vellum petals. The third one, my latest project, contains very narrow
strips of vellum and wire, wrapped in silk and then coiled. It is a most time consumming process but is very simple in its
technique. I hope soon to figure out the two last flower types that has so far elluded my ability to recreate them. I
will, of course, continue to work on it until I feel I have suceeded.