DESIGN IN THE DESERT NO.7- Selena of The Wildflowers

Creative and daring to be different, meet Selena- a botanical artist whose passion for nature transforms flowers into works of art- she has grown a loyal following of clients into a blooming flower business in Downtown’s Grande Avenue Arts District. I first came across The Wildflowers account by happenstance. An airy, cloud-like monochromatic arrangement caught my eye as something created with incredible talent, so of course, I had to find out who was behind this beautiful work. I met up with Selena at her beautiful shop on a January afternoon to learn more about The Wildflowers business and inspiration.

How did you come to work with flowers?
My mom has been doing flowers her whole life. My grandma and my great-grandma were florists. I went to college for psychology and then tried art school but realized it’s not as hands-on as I’d like. I was helping my mom with her business and small weddings. We didn’t have as much freedom back then; people didn’t appreciate flower design as much. My mom had the name Wildflowers as her business; at that time most clients wanted more structured traditional bouquets. One day it occurred to me that we should embrace the name, so I started working with wildflowers. We figured out how to embrace it and put our voice into it, and the business took off from there.

You have an incredible following. How did you grow so fast?
I started experimenting with leftover flowers, posting photos of the kind of work that spoke to me, the kind of work that I wanted to do. I also did collaborations with photographers – we did fun photo shoots and started seeking partnerships with people in the wedding industry. It grew organically once we started showcasing the kind of work that we loved doing.

What is it that you love about flowers?
Creating a beautiful piece of art where the only medium is flowers, a vessel, and a few mechanics behind it – the structure that keeps it all together. I love that I get to think on my feet. When we’re doing an installation, I get to be creative and play with nature. I also love that they’re ephemeral. Though most think their beauty is only at their prime, there’s beauty in all stages – even as they’re wilting and losing their petals.

Where do you find inspiration from?
I have so many celebrity florists that I am inspired by. I took a class with Lucy Hunter – she’s an English floral designer. I workshopped with la MUSA de las FLORES, which was so beautiful and inspiring. I look back at the classical artists for inspiration, like the old Dutch masters; they knew how to capture an audience with their art. I want the viewer of our designs to become embedded in our piece – to feel how we used the flowers to create a story.

What colors or flowers do you gravitate towards?
I love a moody color combo, like dark plums. But I love all colors, so it really just depends on my mood. Some days I feel more moody, and other times I love brighter colors like yellows and oranges. If I see a super unique flower at the market, I will grab it. I have no control! I love Butterfly Ranunculus. They have little buds that keep blooming and are beautiful and fluffy.

What is on-trend right now?
People love the neutral tones, beige tones like quicksand roses – that very modern minimalist look. The other one is that very lived-in wildflower, meadowy look. Unstructured asymmetrical, unique shapes with massive flowers like mums or roses or the complete opposite with delicate wildflowers

What’s a goal for the future?
I’ve always dreamed of offering workshops for other inspired florists in beautiful destinations. I’d love to travel and teach people the beauty of flowers and floral design.

What are some of your favorite artists in Phoenix?
I love our community here on Grand Ave. We have the art gallery Belhaus – they have great art, and I love the coffee shop there. Abloom Salon + Gallery is also a salon slash gallery for Abe Zucca’s art. I love being able to support all the small businesses. Even the vintage stores around here – I think that’s an art form as well. I also want to shout out to everyone in the community at Desert Sun Plaza. It’s all locally owned shops, art galleries, and coffee shops. It’s a very tight-knit community of creatives here.

And a few of your favorite spots?
I am obsessed with the lavender matcha at Cha Cha Tea Lounge. I love going to Valentine; it’s so delicious. I’m crazy about Thai food so Glai Baan is high on my list too. Belly is also a go-to.

What does good design mean to you?
To me, good design is classic and inspired by nature. I use descriptions to create my work: “let’s create a mountain in this arrangement, or have a river running through it or a butterfly floating through the mountains… I am trying to recreate the natural world and I believe that’s good design… The essence of nature in everything.

The Wildflowers, 1325 Grand Ave Unit 6 Phoenix, AZ 85007, Ph-602.423.4876

Written by: Ruth Price

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