100 Creatives 2013: Khrystyna Balushka, Paper Flower Child

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What She Does: Do you like flowers? Sure, everyone does, but what if you're one of those people that just isn't content with what mother nature produces on her own? Gaia's best just isn't good enough for your wedding or front parlor.

That's where Khrystyna Balushka and her incredible paper flowers come in. Each one is a work of fragile sculpted beauty that tops most simple flora. Each creation is hand sketched by Balushka before being fed into her computer system. The flowers are then tested to perfection by repeated trials through her cutting machine until her vision becomes reality and she officially names the new flower she's crafted.

Balushka comes to us from the Ukraine, where she developed creative interest in fashion by sewing her own clothes since the age of 12. Since creative work is not considered a profession in the Ukraine, she earned a master's degree in math and economy from the Institute of Math, Economy and Technology in Odessa. Once completed, she took a boat to America to pursue a creative path. Now she's here, and you can see her work at the Annie Allbritton boutique, Now and Forever, on the corner of Kirby and Richmond and, Ivory Bridal Atelier.

Why She Likes It: "I love that my flowers bring love and happiness to people. One is never tired or bored to look at my flowers; it always has something new to tell or show you in its paper folds, and it lasts."

What Inspires Her: Obviously you're not going to get into making flowers without a healthy appreciation of nature, and a lot of Balushka's work finds its genesis in the flowers her paper crafts mimic. But her visions grow like flowers, too, being organically inspired by her travels, life, and her emotions. She also has a very healthy love of geometry, which is understandable considering her background.

If Not Here, Then Where: When she was growing up in the Ukraine Balushka lived on the coast of the black Sea, and has always felt a deep connection with the water. Luckily, Galveston is just a little ways away from us, but if she were to leave Houston she would still want to reside near the ocean. Couple that with a love of fresh food and you might one day find her plying her trade in the Caribbean.

If Not This, Then What:Despite her interest in fashion, Balushka would rather try something new if she had to. She's interested in something culinary, or perhaps interior design and architecture to match her visual style and mathematical training.

What's Next: "I am about to buy a real deal laser cutter by the end of the year, so I will be able to expand production and make metal flowers for outdoors (will learn welding skills as well!). Also I collaborate with other artists like my best friend, she refinishes furniture and it is available for rent and purchase at my studio. We are launching hand painted flowers in November (you will be able to order a flower with your portrait on a petal), we will cut out silhouettes on the petals and my other artist friend will perform abstract paintings on the flowers. Fun!"

More Creatives for 2013 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Christina Carfora, visual artist and world traveler Sara Kumar, artistic director for Shunya Theatre Kiki Maroon, burlesque clown Gin Martini, fashion designer Lacey Crawford, painter and sculptor Homer Starkey, novelist Jenn Fox, mixed media Shohei Iwahama, dancer Erica DelGardo, metalsmith Bob Clark, executive director Houston Family Arts Center Kerrelyn Sparks, bestselling romance author Lindsay Halpin, punk rock mad hatter Drake Simpson, actor Shelby Carter, Playboy model turned photographer David Matranga, actor Crystal Belcher, pole dancer Daniel Kramer, photographer Blue 130, pin-up explosion art Nina Godiwalla, author and TED speaker David Wilhem, light painter Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster Browncoat, pin-up pop artist Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist Vincent Fink, science fashion Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer Sameera Faridi, fashion designer Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre Outspoken Bean, performance poet Barry Moore, architect Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist Ty Doran, young actor Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet Justin Garcia, artist Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer Danielle Burns, art curator Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker Amanda Stevens, scary book author Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach Billy D. Washington, comedian Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer Kelly Sears, animator and film maker Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director jhon r. stronks,dance-maker Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer Jordan "Monster Mac" McMahon, artist, designer

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