Meet Our Innovative Floral Designers
February 01, 2023 | Flowers
Join us in learning more about two women who are the heart and soul of Colour Republic’s innovative floral creations—their lives, their journey to Colour Republic, and what helped to make them who they are today.
Let’s start at the beginning. Did you always want to work with flowers?
Amarylis: I never thought about working with flowers. For me, flowers were something my mother loved and cared about a lot. She was an incredible flower designer. Me—I wanted to change the world. The best way to do it: through education. I started my own little school, “La Casa de los Niños.” Later, when I left teaching, I started designing clothes for children. My shop was called “Unicorn;” I was inspired by the tapestries of unicorns in the Cloisters Museum at the Met in NYC.
Erika: Flowers make you fall in love—it was something that came to me without planning.
My professional background in graphic design and passion for photography gave me my start with Colour Republic, taking bouquet pictures. Over time, I became more and more involved with the bouquet designs. In a way, I think they naturally compliment each other. As a graphic designer, my knowledge in color theory segwayed easily into floral design, helping me channel my creativity and understand the connection between their beauty and the emotions they evoke.
What did you do prior to working at Colour Republic, and how did you get started in the industry?
Amarilys: I entered to the flower industry by chance. I saw an ad in the newspaper about a flower course and I thought—aha! that sounds interesting, and off I went to my flower design class. There, I met an amazing Costa Rican flower designer, Carlos Gil. I was so thrilled to be there. I loved the way he placed the flowers together, the materials he worked with, his designs concepts . . . I loved everything! And being there surrounded with flowers, and the possibility to work with them, I realized that I wanted to work with flowers. And that´s what I've been doing ever since.
Following that I started my flower shop, which I loved and it was very successful. I started designing for weddings and special events. One day I received a call from a friend asking me to make flowers bouquets. I wondered: bouquets? Interesting! But, do I know how to do that? And yes, I did, and that's what led me to working with Colour Republic since the beginning.
Erika: One of the fondest memories is belonging to a women's gardening club. Besides working with plants, we were taught how to make flower arrangements for social events and even for exhibitions. For five years I learned techniques and fell in love with the variety and generosity of Ecuadorian flowers. This experience, along with creative projects throughout the years, led me on a natural path to the flower industry. This year marks my 10 year anniversary with Colour Republic.
What is your favorite thing about being a floral designer and working with flowers, or your favorite floral design?
Amarilys: Working with flowers reminds me of my mother—as I mentioned before, she loved flowers and always had amazing flowers arrangements throughout her house. Another thing that is really gratifying for me is to connect with people by the language of flowers.
I have some favorite designs, among them are my three children's weddings—all three were unique for me. And I remember with deep gratitude the first wedding I did—nobody knew me as a floral designer, but a bride came into my shop and asked if I could design her wedding, with four hundred and fifty guests—can you imagine? I was scared to death, but we did it!
Erika: I simply love flowers. I’ve always bought flowers for myself and enjoy seeing them as natural pieces of art in open spaces. Flower arrangements can compliment any ambiance, evoking emotions of romance, joy, simplicity, somberness—any feeling you are trying to convey. I appreciate where they come from, and their intricate beauty. It is a privilege to work with such a beautiful medium with endless possibilities.
Tell us about your family.
Amarilys: I have three wonderful children. I have twin daughters, one of them has a degree in early childhood learning, the other one has a degree in international affairs, and my son has a degree in photography. I have five awesome grandkids (pictured). My husband was a rural sociologist, an academic, a historian and a writer.
Erika: I am the mother of three children (pictured) who live across the world: my son lives in Italy, my youngest daughter lives in Canada, and my eldest daughter is back in Quito. I live with my partner and our cat Pistachio.
Where do you get your inspiration and creativity for your floral designs?
How do your other interests or hobbies influence your work?
Amarilys: I nourish myself with anything design related: industrial design of The Memphis Group from Italy; fashion design from Alexander Mc Queen, my favorite; stage design—the one and only Es Deblin; and architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Renzo Piano, Frank Gehry, to mention a few.
Regarding floral design, my gurus are Daniel Öst from Belgium; from Denmark Nicolai Bergman, Erick Bering, Tage Andersen; from England Paula Pryke, the late Jane Packer; Preston Bailys from New York, and last but not least the French and Dutch Masters.
I love to travel, even though I'm afraid of planes—when I travel I learn a lot.
Erika: I find inspiration in so many places: nature, paintings and fine art, interior design and fashion to name a few. I enjoy traveling, going to museums and exploring nature. I always bring my camera with me so I am ready to capture imagery from natural patterns and colors, urban structures and people.
I follow fashion, interior design, color and material trends to understand the current world. I seek representations of these influences in my floral designs.
I like to keep up with some of the biggest representatives of the industry and see what they are creating as well; a few of the designers I follow are Jeff Leatham, Preston Bailey, Leopoldo Gomez and Lewis Miller.
We have to ask — what's your favorite flower?
Amarilys: I don't really have a favorite flower, although I know some flowers I do not really like—but that's the challenge, to work with all of them together, the ones you love, and some that you don't, and create something that shows the beauty of them all.
Erika: I love so many different flowers—all of them have something unique to offer to floral designs. I especially love roses, peonies, tulips and dahlias.
posted in: Flowers
tags: designers designs flowers "women's day"