By Emma Dunn

A mum created a “fairytale” dress – made of more than 200 fresh flowers for her daughter.

Anita Lee-Archer, 48, modelled the dress on her daughter, Bella, 18, and spent around two hours arranging different dahlias – hand-picked from her garden.

The mum-of-five created the outfit as part of her fine art degree at the University of Tasmania.

Anita decided to go back to university five years ago to pursue her dreams after being told as a child she’d never earn a living if she made a career out of art.

Now she combines her love of gardening with art – creating impressive art installations.

Anita, an artist, from Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, said: “I used bird netting and thread the flowers through the holes.

“I had seven buckets of 30 flowers.

“It turned out how I wanted it.

“It’s really fun.”

Anita says she was discouraged from going down an art route when she finished school and instead worked as a nurse and midwife.

She said: “I have always been a creative.

“When I finished school people always said ‘you won’t earn any money doing art’.”

But Anita never forgot her love and when they moved to Tasmania she asked her husband, Matt, 47, a neurologist, if she could enrol in university.

She started her course in 2020 and has always loved painting flowers in particular.

Anita said: “I went back to university to fulfil my dreams.

“I really want to paint flowers. I breed different varieties and paint them.

“I have always been a gardener.

“It’s nice to combine my loves.

“I was told painting flowers was boring and not exciting enough.

“But another lecturer told me ‘it’s your work, you need to do what you love’.”

Anita created the flower dress by using bird netting and fresh flowers.

She said: “One of my dreams is to do a big public installation.

“So I started at home.

“It was really heavy. She could hardly walk.

“Initially it was going to be a strapless dress. I had to fashion straps.

“It was fun to destroy. I made her jump on the trampoline.”

Anita also created an installation over her ‘apple walk’ – by hanging flowers from the arches and dyeing a charity shop wedding dress pink for Bella to model.

She said: “I wanted her to look surreal. It looks like she’s out of a fairytale.”

Anita graduates from her course at the end of this year and wants to continue creating flower-themed art.

She said: “My garden has been my solace.

“It means a lot to me being in the garden.

“I want to paint things that are beautiful.”

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