Behind the designs at PG Live

Plastic waste, quilling world record and lecturer’s journey to the world of cards


Washed-up plastic, a world quilling record, and designs from a race relations advisor are just some of the amazing back stories from exhibitors at next week’s Progressive Greetings Live show.

With World Ocean Day immediately after PG Live, which runs over Tuesday and Wednesday, 6-7 June, Washed Up Cards founder Flora Blathwayt will be going straight from London’s Business Design Centre to the River Thames for her monthly beach clean-up event, replenishing her massive jar of bits of plastic.

Above: Flora Blathwayt goes beach cleaning to pick up the plastic she uses for Washed Up Cards
Above: Flora Blathwayt goes beach cleaning to pick up the plastic she uses for Washed Up Cards

The jar is the centrepiece of her competition to Guess The Number Of Pieces Of Plastic on stand 17 where visitors can do exactly that with the nearest winning a bundle of 12 handmade cards from Flora, who uses the found items in her hand-finished greeting card designs, and there are six for the runner-up.

“And I’m going to be wearing an old jumper which my mum is helping me make with loads of plastic sewed on,” Flora told PG Buzz.

Above: Found objects are used to hand-finish Flora’s designs
Above: Found objects are used to hand-finish Flora’s designs

Over on Quilling Card’s stand 236, the American publisher will be showcasing its designs hand-crafted from strips of paper, and holding demonstrations so visitors can see exactly how it’s done as well as view the finished cards.

On show will be its latest Artist series, which includes Van Gogh’s Starry Night – the subject of the amazing 287.77sq ft (26.73sq m) largest quilling paper mosaic for which the company was awarded a Guinness World Record last year.

The image was created in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, using 191,948 quilling paper strips and took 3,399 hours to achieve.

Above: The detail on Quilling Cards’ Artist series
Above: The detail on Quilling Cards’ Artist series

Senior creative project manager Veronica Beretta commented: “The Artist series features 12 quilled designs recreating famous works of art into a handmade greeting card. This collection has had an amazing response with its release just this year.

“We will definitely be doing some quilling demonstration in our booth at PG Live. We’re always excited to discuss more about the history of quilling and the techniques of the craft – we have so many amazing card designs but our true mission is to promote and share the lost art of quilling.”

Susan Cousins is the designer of a new range that Alff A Bet Design is launching on stand 319 at the show and she’s found her way into the greetings industry by an interesting route, as her day job is an a senior compliance advisor on race, religion and belief at Cardiff University as well as being a counsellor, psychotherapist and psychosexual therapist, organisational consultant, and official advisor on race relations.

Above: The world record quilling mosaic – the tiny ladies either side show the amazing size
Above: The world record quilling mosaic – the tiny ladies either side show the amazing size

She grew up in the UK after being adopted from a Mumbai orphanage when she was a year old and now draws inspiration from her Indian roots and the natural world for her artwork which is produced under the Bandra Arts name.

Alff A Bet’s directors Viv Thomas and Ros Jones have signed prints of her artwork as giveaways in a competition they’re running at the show, as well as for customers placing orders, and, fresh from the King’s coronation garden party at Buckingham Palace, Susan is planning to attend PG Live for a meet the artist session.

“As an orphan, mum, artist and all-round pretty amazing person, Susan is held in high regard by her peers,” Ros explained. “She and Viv worked together years ago and have remained friends. She’s very modest but completely psyched about us producing greeting cards featuring her artwork.”

And Susan said: “My art is a fusion of ancient Indian art techniques and contemporary styles, resulting in vibrant pieces filled with rich colours and intricate details. The natural world is a significant influence on my art, and I strive to capture its essence in every piece.

Above: Susan Cousins’ Bandra Arts prints are prizes at PG Live
Above: Susan Cousins’ Bandra Arts prints are prizes at PG Live

“Overall, my art is a reflection of my life journey, fusing the ancient and the modern, the vibrant and the natural, and the diverse and the universal. I’m proud to share my art with the world and hope that it brings joy, inspiration, and a deeper appreciation for the beauty of life.”

This year is the 15th outing of PG Live, and it’s easy to bag your free ticket to attend just by clicking here to register, then you’ll be all set to join the wonderful two-day global gathering of the greeting card community.

The full list of PG Live exhibitors can be found here, and everyone who visits the show will receive the special keepsake cloth tote bags sporting incredible artwork from sponsors Abacus Cards and Clare Maddicott, plus there’s the delicious free lunch for everyone on both days, plus complimentary tea and coffee available from the roving trollies, along with the fabulous first-night party at the end of the opening day on Tuesday where everyone is very welcome to pop in to enjoy the drinks and great company.

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