There’s something deeply romantic about passing paper love notes, but for Tara Lee Bennett, a contemporary artist dating a printmaker, the true magic was in the offcuts her partner left behind. “There was all this paper she wasn’t using,” Bennett remembers. “So I started creating my work with that, and spending more and more time with her… as our relationship grew, so did my art practice and focus on paper.” Now, the pair are married, and Bennett’s botanical, sculptural works are in homes from Vancouver to Saudi Arabia.

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Close-up of hands holding a delicate handcrafted paper flower.
Bennett works collaboratively with clients to create her commissioned pieces, often picking up on botanical trends. “Everyone’s clamouring for thistles at the moment,” she says with a laugh.
Photo by Adam Blasberg

Bennett was born in Zimbabwe, attended school at Design Centre Enmore in Sydney, Australia, and now works out of Vancouver’s Parker Street Studios, where sometimes she’ll spend a whole day constructing a single flower. “Paper is such a simple, humble material, but it’s also transformative, there are endless possibilities,” says the artist. Some of Bennett’s florals are modelled after real species, some are not, the pieces blossom with irises, peonies and dahlias as well as with imagined flowers. “It’s kind of a garden of my own creation,” she shares. There’s no risk of wilting, either: Bennett uses high-quality cotton rag paper and acid-free glue for everlasting wall art.

Intricate black paper floral art composition on a wall.
Photo by Engelbert Romero

While much of her monochrome, textured creations depict flowers, the series is about more than stems and petals. “It’s really about lushness and beauty and abundance,” Bennett explains. She’s botanically minded now, but who knows how the future will unfold: “You can make anything out of paper, so you never know.”


Intricate white paper floral art composition on a wall.
Photo by Engelbert Romero
Intricate black and white paper floral art composition on a wall.
Photo by Engelbert Romero


This story was originally published in the May/June 2024 print issue of Western Living magazine.