The Floral Artists Bringing a Fresh Approach

Meet six Australian creative florists promoting emotional fluency — and even escape — through flowers.

Article by Joseph Lew

A sculptural piece from Western Australian florist Freak Haus. Photography by Adam Levi Brown.

Flowers have long served as vessels for communication. In moments of celebration, love and loss, we’ve found solace in brightly coloured blooms and their sculptural forms. Perhaps it’s for this reason that we’ve turned to them during the pandemic, drawing on their healing power to find new ways of connecting with our communities, our families and ourselves amid looming uncertainty.

Whether as acts of self-care or giving, we have woven love letters beneath delicate petals and stubborn stamens, fragile blooms offering gentle respite from the chaos of the outside world. We’ve tasked them with saying all the things we’re unable to; to let those we care about know we’re there for them, that we’re thinking of them, when we have neither the words nor the energy to do so any other way. In our bedrooms, our kitchens and our living rooms, thirsty stalks stand tall, lifelines breathing fresh life into jaded homes.

“Even in the darkest moments, people really do want to reach out and connect with their families and their friends,” says Rebecca Trevitt, the owner of Adelaide florist Ponder Posy. Whether through kaleidoscopic orchids or Sailor Moon-reminiscent bouquets, consider connecting through these six innovative floral artists from around Australia who bring a fresh approach to the traditional medium.

A romantic centrepiece from Canberra's Laurel and Lace. Photography by Lauren Campbell.

Laurel & Lace, ACT

As a child surrounded by ardent gardeners, Lauren Gordon had one big dream for when she grew up: to be a forest. “To this day, I’m still unsure if I just couldn’t pronounce ‘florist’ or if I wholeheartedly had high hopes of somehow becoming a large area of trees,” she says. Even though this aspiration may forever remain unattainable for the Canberra-based florist, her fascination with flowers and nature has helped her find the next best thing. “I get to spend my days surrounded by the beauty of growing things,” she says, “working with a forever changing medium, forever inspired by each unique branch or bloom.”

With a focus on weddings, events and corporate spaces, Gordon works across Canberra, the New South Wales Southern Highlands, the South Coast, Sydney and beyond. Featuring a style that she describes as “raw and organic, whimsical and romantic, textural and intriguing”, Gordon’s designs act as an extension of herself and her natural surroundings — a fanciful ode to the changing seasons. “Flowers and nature have always been a huge part of my life and, for me, always evoked feelings of connection, nostalgia,” she says. @laurelandlace

Acid Flwers is based in Sydney. Photography by Sebastian Photography. Styled by Claire Mueller.
Acid Flwers still life. Photography by Sebastian Photography. Styled by Claire Mueller.

Acid.Flwrs, NSW

Born last year out of an experimental collaboration with a graffiti artist friend, Claire Mueller’s Sydney-based studio transforms phalaenopsis orchids into otherworldly forms. Appearing like ephemeral artworks, her hydro-dipped blooms are living sculptures, surreal and seemingly alien.

With a background in fashion design, Mueller is inspired by the everyday. “I feel like I always have a design eye out in the world,” she says. Taking ideas from interesting textures, surfaces and colour contrasts she encounters on her wanderings, Mueller finds pleasure in the hands-on element of her work and the “joy of being able to make, like, a little bit of magic with everyone”.

Mueller’s arrangements are unconventional in their appeal, and she characterises their strange charm as a kaleidoscopic window into a psychedelic new world. “At a time when there’s a lot going on in the world and a lot of heavy stuff that people have to process on a daily basis, it is really nice to have that element of escapism and something that is different and interesting and engaging and beautiful to look at,” she says. @acid.flwrs

Photography courtesy of Blossom Bby.
Photography courtesy of Blossom Bby.

Blossm Bby, Vic.

Melbourne-based floral artist India Robinson’s creations are easily identifiable, a mishmash of contrasting colours. Drawing inspiration from fashion, architecture, Sailor Moon, and her daydreams about travel, the self-described flower fairy’s arrangements are unbridled and uninhibited, subverting the rules of traditional floristry through a “pretty, wild mess of everything cute, fun, ethereal and dreamy mixed with a street sugary pop palette”.

Although some might feel restricted by a lack of formal floristry training, Robinson uses this to her advantage, creating emotionally reactive arrangements that defy conventional ideas of what should and shouldn’t go together. “I’ve never felt any limitations or expectations to match flowers or colours,” she says. “I still remember being told pink and red don’t go together as a child and always living by these unwritten rules. When I was able to let that go, the world opened up.”

Discovered during a period of great difficulty following the loss of her Dutch oma, Robinson’s love of florals serves her meditatively. “They will always connect me to her,” she says. “They have had an extremely healing power in allowing me to connect to the beauty of nature while allowing me to connect to and express myself deeply in a way I’d never had the confidence to do.” @blossmbby

Honesty Flora is based in Thornbury in Melbourne. Photography courtesy of Honesty Flora.
Photography courtesy of Honesty Flora.

 Honesty Flora, Vic.

When Melbourne creative Tegan Ruta speaks about flowers, her love for them is palpable. Openness and honesty underpin her entire ethos, from her approach to flora, to the sustainable way in which she operates her business. “We want to preserve the earth that’s growing our flowers as much as possible,” she says.

Named after the flowering plant Lunaria, commonly known as “Honesty”, Ruta’s floristry studio draws on her childhood experiences and memories of visiting local exhibitions with her mother. “I grew up going to Heide Museum” of Modern Art. “I’ve got very clear memories of going there when I was little and seeing the art and having picnics in the garden,” she says. “Art really does inform the way I approach flowers and colour palettes.”

Ruta has a background in graphic design and curates arrangements that offer beauty through thoughtfully selected colours and emotional connection. Whether it’s for a delivery, a wedding or a corporate event, Ruta uses flowers as a medium for celebration and as vessels for the unspoken. “What’s so beautiful is that flowers have a different meaning to everyone,” she says. “Someone will be like, ‘Daffodils remind me of this time’ or ‘Peonies remind me of this person’, or ‘I remember growing this when I was little.’ I think that’s quite amazing.” @honesty_flora

A dramatic arrangement from Western Australian Florist Freak Haus. Photography by Ricky Gestro.

FreakHaus, WA

Eden Ranelli’s signature floral style is an extension of herself — as unique as it is unconventional. Ranelli applies a mixed-medium approach to her installations and it’s not unusual to find neon lights, milk crates and even disco balls featured alongside gothic anthuriums and sculptural nepenthes. Ranelli has a love of Japanese culture and she named her Perth-based business in honour of Hokusai’s iconic ukiyo-e woodblock print “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. “I was reading how they described that wave and they described it as a ‘freak wave’,” she says. “For some reason the ‘freak’ stood out because they were saying this wave was obviously beautiful but also destructive. That’s kind of like my art — beautiful but a little bit reckless and weird.”

Considering Ranelli works with flowers, it’s strange that her creative process seems to avoid them. “I ask clients to send me five images that resonate with them and I tell them, ‘Don’t send me flower photos, give me a picture of a band you like, a house you walk by in the street, even a picture of your dog,’” she says. Ranelli’s unconventionality may deter some, but authenticity is at the core of her practice. “I’m trying to do things that are a little bit different because that’s who I am,” she says. “I’m not for everyone. I, my work and what I create is for those people who also see the weirdness in the installs or this artwork and the difference in them.” @freakhaus_

An arrangement from South Australian florist Ponder Posy. Photography courtesy of Ponder Posy.
Ponder Posy also use dried flowers in their arrangements. Photography courtesy of Ponder Posy.

Ponder Posy, SA

Owner Rebecca Trevitt’s philosophy is to find beauty in the forlorn and overlooked: “gentle chaos, crooked stems and broken leaves that let the sun shine through”. Using flowers as a conduit between people, the Adelaide-based creative puts sustainability at the forefront of her practice, working solely with local growers and seasonal blooms to reshape expectations surrounding floristry. “I think we’re a bit spoiled in terms of being able to access everything that we want at all times,” she says. “I don’t feel connected to that.” Instead, Trevitt feels we should enjoy the flowers that grow locally.

With a creative process based on “trusting the seasons”, Trevitt takes pride in challenging her customers, questioning why they feel they need certain flowers, before working with them to find seasonal or dried alternatives. “I think over the years I’ve gotten braver at challenging some of those norms around floristry,” she says. “I get more confident the more regular clients that return. You get a clearer voice about why you want to stick to your principles about sustainability.” @ponder_posy