Quilled Vanilla Orchid with Real Vanilla Pods.
The project that I want to share today is one full of delicious fragrance and aroma: a quilled vanilla orchid to which I’ve attached real vanilla pods!
The Vanilla genus is part of the orchid family and consists of approximately 110 species. Of all these, the most widely known is the Vanilla Planifolia – the Flat-leaved Vanilla, or even shorter, plain Vanilla. Native to Central America and called tlilxochitl by the Aztecs, it was introduced to Hernan Cortes by Montezuma in 1520 and from there found its way to Europe. Today, it is cultivated and exported mainly from Madagascar, Reunion, Mexico and Indonesia.
Vanilla is a vine-like plant which uses fleshy roots to support itself as it grows. The flower has a diameter of 5-6 cm and a blooming life of just one day, from dawn until dusk. In order to bear fruits, the flowers must be pollinated in the window between bloom and nightfall. If the process doesn’t take place, they will shrivel and drop off the plant, usually by the next morning. It is estimated that in the wild, there is less than 1% chance that the flowers will be pollinated. When grown on farms, in order to secure a steady flow of fruits, each worker must manually pollinate around 1.000-2.000 flowers per day. After 5 months, the matured fruits in the form of green pods are harvested. They can be commercialized as such or cured to get a better market price. After the pods are dried, they are graded based on length, appearance and moisture content of the fruit. Because its production is so labor-intensive, vanilla is the second most expensive spice after the saffron.
The idea to make a vanilla flower came to me while I was eating chocolate with vanilla cream filling. 😀 Even though I’ve seen the flowers many times and have always liked the way they look, it never occurred to me to quill one. I guess chocolate works in mysterious ways and besides being delicious, it can also provide a good dose of inspiration when you least expect it!
Because I planned from the very beginning to use natural vanilla pods in my project, I had to get the size of the flowers and leaves as close as possible to the real ones. My quilled vanilla orchid flowers are made of 2mm wide hand-cut paper strips and measure 5.5cm in diameter and the leaves are approximately 11cm long. The inside of the frame is 18cm*24cm. For the background I decided to go with a simple light blue watercolor wash. I can never find cardboard in the shades of color that I want, so I decided to make my own. After days of watching various tutorials on youtube, I finally summoned the courage to pick up a brush and managed to create a clear, blue sky. Weeee!
I also quilled an over-sized ant. Might as well call it a giant ant in an attempt to justify its size! 😀 I used 2mm wide paper strips for the body and 0.3mm wires covered in crepe paper for the legs.
I really hope you like my quilled vanilla orchid! Needless to say, my living room has been smelling insanely sweet of vanilla for days now! Yum-yum!
Thank you for your visit and happy quilling!