Flower Press Studio’s Colorful Compositions Preserve Botanicals and Bouquets for Posterity
Knowing that flowers only blossom for a short time, there is romance in their ephemerality. Naturally, we want to preserve their characteristics; we bottle up floral fragrances, and the practice of pressing flowers dates back to time immemorial. It’s thought that the Japanese first elevated the process to an art form with a 16th-century tradition known as oshibana. The practice spread worldwide, and by the late 19th century, it was a popular pastime in England and the U.S. Flower Press Studio keeps this tradition alive through preserving delicate petals, stems, and fronds beneath glass.
A thriving small business run by Rachel Parri and Keith Kralik, Flower Press Studio began as a hobby that quickly blossomed into a full-time occupation. In 2019, they purchased a house in Denver and xeriscaped the front yard, a landscaping method that reduces the need for irrigation by planting flora naturally suited to drier climates. They planted vegetables, flowers, and added two beehives. By the summer of 2021, the garden was producing quantities of calendulas, sunflowers, poppies, and other wildflowers, and Kralik began to press them. He then started designing and gluing the flattened blossoms onto paper and constructing hardwood frames. By the end of that year, demand had grown to a point where the business was formally born.
“Wildflowers are our favorite, but that’s probably because we are in a state that grows absolutely sensational wildflowers,” the pair tells Colossal. “But really anything with color—we look for variety. Size, shape of petals, dying flowers, straight stems versus twisty-turny ones, foliages… non-perfect flowers are some of the best.” A bridal bouquet, for example, typically takes about three hours to deconstruct piece by piece, then it takes several days—often weeks—to make sure the flowers have properly dried and flattened into the desired shape: “We check the presses regularly throughout the first week, going through every page of flowers and adjusting petals, changing out all paper, chipboard, cardboard, and using alternative methods to get excess moisture out.”
Parri and Kralik want to make sure their work remains sustainable and environmentally responsible, and they often practice on flowers that would otherwise be discarded after weddings. The pair’s short-term goal is to work with Colorado-based flower farms, collaborate with other makers and designers, and focus on producing limited-edition prints and online workshops.
You can follow updates on Instagram, where the studio often shares before-and-after images of the elaborate, reinterpreted bouquets.
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