By Myroslava Stadnyk, Toronto
She carefully handcrafts each design in her home studio. Her ideas are limitless, full of colour and creativity. Nataliya Laptyeva is a one-of-a-kind artist, dedicated to constructing traditional Ukrainian flower wreaths. She hopes to raise funds by selling her art to help soldiers wounded in the Donbas.
Nataliya’s inspiration comes from a variety of different elements of Ukrainian traditional wear, which serve as the nation’s symbol. When people ask her where she gets her ideas, she says, “I love handcrafting unique things, such as wreaths, and I think that each flower and colour have specific significance.” Nataliya adds that she has done research on the various elements of Ukrainian ethnic embroidery and traditional clothing. Her wreaths reflect a lot of the common designs, which match the ornamental patterns.
Before Nataliya started crafting her wreaths, she was simply looking for a perfect wreath for herself – as their beauty always fascinated her. But she has recently discovered a local shop that sells artificial flowers and considered making her first flower wreath herself. She imagined putting the coloured flowers arranged together. She also began to look for the right materials, such as ribbons and wires. “It took three days to get it right,” Nataliya said smiling. “Though, I was determined and I kept going back in order to get the gap between the flowers right.”
Nataliya’s work gained compliments, as she wore the wreath to several events and protests taking place in Toronto. Soon enough, she started to get requests. She is now followed quite actively online.
Nataliya had found her niche. She began taking orders and became very excited about the venture that allowed her to do something she loves. “I was so thrilled about the idea – I couldn’t sleep,” Nataliya added. She was happy that others appreciated her art.
“Each piece takes five to seven hours, depending on the complexity,” she adds. So far, Nataliya has made thirty wreaths. “I am currently working on finishing two more pieces. And I’ve already designed another twenty, to be crafted in the coming weeks.” Wreaths can be kept as a collectior items, part of a costume, or as a decoration. Nataliya finds time to work on her creations every day. Her home studio is flooded with flowers and ribbons.
Nataliya has recently initiated a project – “1000 Wreaths for Ukraine” – as a way to collect funds for the wounded soldiers. She aims to help the Ukrainian army, by passing on the money to the military hospital located in Kyiv.
Nataliya will be organizing several workshops on wreath-making during Christmas. She hopes others will share her vision for creativity, so that those brave people protecting our homeland may receive the expensive medical supplies and treatment they need.
Follow Nataliya Laptyeva on Facebook, and stay up to date on her projects. She is an active member of the Toronto EuroMaidan Committee, and will continue featuring her artwork during the events. Nataliya also hopes to hold an exhibition in the near future.