Spring has sprung and flowers are blooming all around us. Today, we are featuring Bianca Tafares’s boutique floral studio, Anthemum. Bianca is a graduate of the University of Texas, San Antonio where she studied Construction Science and Management in their College of Architecture. When she’s not studying plans and preparing cost estimates at the construction firm in Austin, she’s using her design skills to craft floral works of art in her floral studio or foraging for installations with her partner-in-creativity, Shane.
Tell us the origin story of Anthemum. What prompted you to start a floral studio?
Anthemum was created to fulfill a void I starting feeling a few years back. I’ve always found myself trying to balance my need for both order and spontaneity. Looking back, I thought it was just an inability to make decisions, but I know now that I really need both to thrive. I have been in the commercial construction industry for 4+ years now, so my need for order has been completely fulfilled. But I felt that it was time to find something that filled my creative heart too. I tried cooking, baking, soap-making, knitting, hand lettering, and almost anything else where I could make something! And it all just clicked when I took my first floral workshop. It was the most fulfilling project I had worked on in a very long time. Every day since then, I would have a moment that made me realize—I’ve pretty much been obsessed with flowers my whole life! So naturally, my spontaneous side told me: “hey let’s just do this already, start a business where you can create beautiful floral pieces whenever you want!!” Enter: Anthemum.
Is there a story behind the name “Anthemum”?
Yes! It includes one of my favorite childhood storybooks: Chrysanthemum. It’s a lovely mother-daughter children’s book by Kevin Henkes that I just adore! And my daughter’s birth flower happens to be a Chrysanthemum. I then learned that in greek chrysanthemum, or khrusanthemon, is derived from khrusos: gold + anthemon: flower. That’s when I fell in love with Anthemum for it’s simple meaning: “of the flower.”
How does your architecture background inform your designs?
Aside from the typical pieces you would expect in a wedding, like bouquets, boutonnieres, and center pieces… We LOVE designing and creating original installations! This is when my architecture/construction background really plugs into my flower world. My husband Shane and I have so much fun brainstorming, designing, and making pieces that celebrate the lush blooms and greenery by creating depth, scale, and experience. Shane has a similar background, we met while studying architecture in San Antonio. Aside from being my design partner in these larger projects, he is my main inspiration. He’s an incredible designer with the most positive attitude, and is always encouraging me to pursue even my most outrageous dreams.
Tell us about your process.
Once I’ve decided on the general color palette and have ordered the main blooms for the project, I take a nice walk around my neighborhood for inspiration. I keep the types of blooms and colors in mind while I’m looking for textures and other complementary colors that I can forage once I’m ready to start the project. Once I have gathered everything, I always start with a prep process that ensures maximum life and health for the stems. Then I can start to create beautiful floral pieces inspired by my mood, the chosen color palette, and the season represented by the locally foraged elements.
Share with us your favorite project thus far.
Recently, I was commissioned to style in a Max Levy building called The Prospect House. It is one of my favorite venues in the area. Here are some behind the scenes shots of the collaboration between Chandra’s Collection Photography and Frankie & Lenee Weddings.
How did you decide which tools to use?
The basic tools are floral tape, containers that can handle water (I say this because I love ceramics and various odd containers, but have found that some containers like to drink the water themselves!), floral wire, and a variety of cutting tools. It’s important that each cutting tool be used for its intended purpose. There are clippers for different types of stems, wire cutters, and scissors for types of ribbon, or occasionally blades/knives in lieu of clippers.
Share with us a resource that you often use.
Practical Botany for Gardeners by Geoff Hodge from University of Chicago Press.
What do you love most about entrepreneurship?
Collaborating is one of the opportunities that I’ve come to love most about the business. I’ve met so many incredibly creative people in this journey, from photographers, to ceramicists, to jewelers, to welders, to graphic designers, and beyond. I believe that makers have a beautiful gift, and the the gift is most beautiful when it is a product of some form of collaboration. Currently, I’m stirring up a project that involves original pieces by local artists/makers! Stay tuned for a collaboration between Anthemum and Austin based ceramicist Whiskey & Clay: http://www.whiskeyandclay.com/
Tell us about your time at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
My time at UTSA was an incredible experience. I started with the intention of graduating with a B.S. in Architecture and a minor in Business Administration. After a couple of years into the program, I learned about the new-ish Construction Science and Management program that was also within UTSAs College of Architecture. I pursued both for a while and really enjoyed the well-balanced curriculum. Diving into both degrees within this same college opened up countless opportunities for me, from multiple options to engage in various organizations, to being a student liaison for interviewing new faculty. Dean Murphy and the rest of the faculty have done an incredible job with each program within the College of Architecture. I am a proud UTSA COA Roadrunner and encourage anyone who is looking for an intimate learning environment, with strong ties to industry opportunities, to consider any of the three great programs within UTSAs College of Architecture.
Where do you typically display your work online?
Instagram @Anthemum – https://www.instagram.com/anthemum/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/anthemumfloral/
Anthemum’s Website – http://www.anthemum.com/
Photographs by Chandra + Daniel unless otherwise noted.