Written by Maria Allen
A local artist transforms antique book pages, maps and sheet music into one-of-a-kind flowers.
What began as a creative centerpiece idea for a Jane Austin Tea hosted by the Friends of the Milton Public Library in 2017, has blossomed into an enjoyable side hustle for Milton resident Allegra Murray. Her handcrafted paper rose bouquets, fashioned from antique book pages, were so well received at the library event that she was inspired to launch The Petal Peddler’s Shop.
By day, Murray works in the financial services industry, but she spends her nights and weekends working on custom paper rose orders. No two blooms are identical because each is made using unique papers, such as old maps, architectural blueprints and sheet music (Murray happens to have a degree in classical vocal performance from Manhattan School of Music and a master’s in arts administration from Boston University). Many of her roses are made from pages from books that were donated to the local library but unsellable due to their condition.
“I don’t use machines, paper punches or templates,” says Murray, who cuts, colors and assembles all of her creations by hand. Customers often send Murray meaningful papers to transform into flowers. “It could be pages from a favorite childhood book, crossword puzzles faithfully completed by a parent each week, or a map from a cross-country trip with a loved one,” says Murray. “I’m proud that all of my paper is locally sourced and that my artwork gives clients the opportunity to appreciate their paper memories in a new way.”
Murray has created paper flowers for Christmas ornaments and framed keepsakes and recently began turning tiny paper flowers into jewelry. The Petal Peddler’s Shop also offers bulk orders, which are perfect for wedding favors, event centerpieces and corporate giveaways.
For more information, visit thepetalpeddlersshop.com