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Florist Friday: A Chat With Bows + Arrows’ Alicia Rico

Florist Friday is a recurring GC feature where we spotlight different florists who bring a unique, stylish perspective into the world of floral design. This week Garden Collage spoke with Alicia Rico of the Dallas-based floral design shop Bows + Arrows.

The website belonging to the Dallas-based flower shop Bows + Arrows is enough to make you want to quit your job, move to Texas, and embark on a flower adventure of your own.

When we think about the kind of flowers we would want at our wedding, on our dining room table, and just generally surrounding us every hour of every day in our homes, these are the flowers we think about. Luckily, Bows + Arrows does a workshop series that supplements their already-impressive floral fare– the next one will be in France, where lucky participants in the village of Giverny will experiment with color palette, texture, and scale. No Bows + Arrows arrangement is like another, yet all evoke the painterly background of their creator, with rich colors and unexpected, subliminally genius combinations. They create arrangements that feel at one with their surroundings, whether that’s a dusty pinks lakeside or a prickly pear sourced for a desert workshop. Bows + Arrows celebrates the nuance of flowers in every bloom and branch.

Garden Collage Bows + Arrows Bouquet

GC: How did you get into flowers? Did you grow up gardening?

I grew up making crafts and [other] projects with my grandmother, who was a seamstress. She instilled a love for working with my hands to create whatever I imagined.

GC: Did you have a gateway flower? For example, a flower you completely fell in love with that led to a larger love of flowers, or a flower that you tend to zoom in on whenever it’s in season?

I moved to NYC on a whim in 2007 and found a job at a little flower shop, Seaport Flowers, in Brooklyn Heights. I instantly fell in love with the color, texture, and composition of flowers and arranging. My gateway flower was an overdose of all flowers at once because I jumped right into the flower scene head first!

GC: How do you keep your creative drive going?

I studied painting in college, so I always visit lots of art museums to derive ideas. Traveling is another great way for me to keep ideas fresh. When I visit a new place I pull inspiration from the landscape and environment around me. I really focus on the detail of a place and work with local elements to make the design characteristic of the location.

Garden Collage Bowl

GC: What does a typical, say, Tuesday look like for you?

Tuesdays are usually my days off. I like to hang with my two girls, Dotty (5) and Pia (almost 2).

GC: What are some of your favorite local spots?

Sissy Southern Kitchen is always a favorite for southern fare. Grange Hall is an amazing shop with antiquities and a well curated selection of items from around the world. The Nasher Sculpture Center is a world-class museum designed by Architect Renzo Piano that has a wonderful sculpture garden.

GC: Do you have a favorite garden?

We recently visited Oaxaca Botanical Garden in Mexico and I can’t stop dreaming of the wonderful cacti-lined paths among the colonial relics. We are also very excited about visiting Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France this summer, where we will be hosting a garden tour followed by a flower workshop.

GC: How do you dress for summer weather? How does your summer style differ from your winter style?

The summers get hot here [in Dallas]. In 2011 we had 42 straight days at or above 100 degrees! I wear skirts and dresses to battle the summer heat. I always try to wear practical clothes since I’m always moving!

Garden Collage Highlights Bows + Arrows

GC: How would you describe your style? How has it evolved over time?

My style is garden-esque. I try to mimic nature and the way things grow naturally. I love flowers to look overgrown yet not messy.

GC: What are your other floral design influences?

Old Dutch paintings are influences, so are Mexican patterns and pottery, great restaurants, and travel.

GC: If you could travel to any one destination, floral-wise, where would you go?

I would love to travel to Japan and study ikebana! [Editor’s Note: Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging, an approach that often emphasizes stems and leaves, rather than petals, of the plants used in an arrangement.]

GC: How does social media affect your business? How do you interact with it?

Social Media has been a great tool for us! It allows us to take a snap from our crazy schedule and share with others. It’s a fun, personal way to communicate and share with others.

GC: Coffee order?

I have never had a cup of coffee… but I live on black, unsweetened iced tea!

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