It all began with a cut flower garden that I grew with my mother when I was 18. Although we had always gardened together since I was small—designing perennial beds and container gardens, planting tulips and daffodils by the hundreds, growing veggies and herbs—there was something about that particular cut garden in the summer of 1994 that touched and transformed my life in the most amazing way. Maybe it was really good compost that year. Maybe the bees were especially cooperative. Maybe we had the perfect amount of rain and sun. Who knows exactly, but I can tell you for sure—Mother Nature was very wonderful to us.
A novice at this time, I chose only a few varieties of cut flowers—mainly dahlias, snapdragon, cosmos, bells of Ireland, and zinnias. Colors didn’t really matter. Whatever sounded pretty. Other than keeping neat and weed-free rows, there was no real rhyme or reason to this garden. But the blooms were enormous. Spectacular! Breathtaking! I had never witnessed anything so beautiful. Enormous Dahlias. Cosmos that appeared to multiply before your eyes. It was the most amazing Monet masterpiece right in my very own backyard.
With such prolific blooms, it became only a matter of time before I tried my hand at arranging. Again, there was not much rhyme or reason to my craft at that time. Whatever was ready to pick was what I was going to design with that day, regardless of color or composition. Sometimes I would supplement the bounty with weeds. Regardless, these early arrangements of mine were some of the prettiest, probably because I labored over them the least. My mother had an extensive collection of antique pottery and glass compotes for me to “play with” as well. So I guess you could say that I learned early on in my young flower arranging career just how important the marriage is between vessel and floral material. One must complement the other.
From that summer on, time passed quickly as time usually does. While I continued to arrange flowers for family gatherings, this lovely hobby remained a hobby and nothing more. A degree from the College of the Holy Cross, enrollment in URI’s Landscape Architecture program, and a career in the psychology field filled the next six years. Nothing felt quite right as a career until I smartened up and realized how much I loved the art of floral arranging. Sometimes that happens—you search all over only to come back to what was growing right in your own back yard.
Flowers by Semia began in 2000. Every year we evolve into something greater and more beautiful than the year before, but one thing always remains the same—I am constantly and endlessly inspired by flowers. I’m giddy as I drive up to the Boston Flower Market at 4 a.m. I can’t open the boxes from my Holland growers fast enough when they arrive in our studio. Our own Flowers by Semia cut garden has quadrupled in size. If the day ever comes that I am walking through the garden and don’t instantly want to smell the blooms, or touch them, or fall head over heels in love with them, I’ll know it’s time to move on to something else. But for now, I am as in love with flower arranging as I was at 18 and forever transformed by the wonders of nature.
We LOVE flowers. We are flower LOVERS. We are defined by our love for nature and all that it inspires us to create.
The Flowers by Semia team is a group of ladies bursting with inspiration and a dedication to the craft of floral art. They have unbridled talent and passion, a combination that makes me feel ever so grateful when I look around the studio and see the beauty of their work. Each embodies a unique hybrid of interests, skills, and passions that make them nothing short of amazing!
A true perfectionist and lover of nature. Her arrangements are thoughtful, textured and yet delicate somehow highlighting the beauty of each and every bloom. Petite is her specialty—anything miniature—like filling the most amazing vintage etched glass cup filled with blooms from the farm. By the time she’s done with it, it’s truly a work of art that I could gaze at for hours. That’s not to say she can’t design big (have you seen the size of our vertical gardens?) What’s inside each of her pieces is so very thoughtful that you are just astounded. Her moss garden are breathtaking. Her succulent artwork, truly inspiring. She’s all about the details. Her bouquets are adorned with seed pods instead of pins and her arrangements often emphasize amazing foliage and plant materials in addition to the blooms we love so much. She can walk in a field of “weeds” and emerge with the most interesting bucket of material to design with. The contents of the bucket ultimately making the whole arrangement. In her time spent away from the studio, Chris continues to create art. She’s an amazing cook (lucky for us!) and is currently learning to sew as well as photograph. She also loves the earth—getting her hands dirty in the garden as well as exploring the botanical gardens and nature trails in our area. She’s a true artist, a kind soul, and I’m so happy she’s chosen to be here.
An energy force to be reckoned with. A person bursting with so much positivity you inherently want to be around her! Briana’s work is colorful, bold and often pushes the envelope, just like her personality. She loves color. So the palette combinations she creates are always innovative and inspiring. She is also the FBS social media guru as well as “in house” photographer—always keeping our work connected to the outside world. Briana’s aesthetic has great personality and movement. It has whimsy and life. She can take a simple old glass bottle and fill it with floral in such a way that it ends up having a persona, literally. It looks like it could come alive and speak to you! Her designs are “happy”. She can take the simplest item, like a boutonniere, and turn it into the loveliest work of art through an ingenious use of material. I love her energy, humor and the fact that she’s never afraid to try anything when it comes to design. Outside of the studio she continues to be an artist. She’s an amazing photographer and famous for a myriad of DIY art projects. She is a brilliant “stager”, creating pockets of beauty within an otherwise very messy FBS studio. She’s invaluable at a photo shoot. She’s just invaluable in general.
Designing since her teenage years, Michelle has an aesthetic that is really peaceful. You can tell her hands have been in design for a while. She doesn’t over analyze the flower. She takes it for what it’s worth (in both composition and color) and creates a masterpiece within those parameters. On her first day at FBS she filled probably 40 small vintage milk glass vessels with a myriad of English garden style blooms for an upcoming event. I designated the flowers to be used, described the aesthetic, and left the magic to her. I can remember being blown away. Her pairings were lovely. Each bloom complimented the next. She designed with grace and elegance and the finished pieces made me want to take a big deep breath and exhale slowly. That’s what I mean about a peaceful aesthetic—she makes you feel calm through her design. She’s also brilliant when it comes to mechanics. “Michelle, how do you think you do this?” is a favorite mantra of mine. But she always has the answer. This past summer she created the most beautiful head wreath for a bride that I have ever seen. It takes quite a lot of skill to do this and let me tell you it was beyond perfect. Outside the studio Michelle loves yoga and keeps insanely busy with her adorable young son all while pursuing a new career in nursing. I always hope she’ll continue to “play with flowers” with us.
The newest FBS team member. We first met 5 years ago when she chose me to design the florals for her wedding. From then on we’ve been great friends and design buddies. Katie is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. She works with all kinds of mediums; wood, steel, concrete, fabric, and semi-precious stones just to name a few. She can design AND build an amazing installation for your wedding—a chandelier made out of an old gramophone horn, an organic branch chuppa that will bring you to your knees, unique table numbers, and oh yes, even the jewelry for your bridesmaids. She’s the type of gal who knows true beauty and can also create it. Her energy is limitless and her ideas are truly inspiring. She pushes us in a way that is so good. “What if we could make this. Add this element. Repurpose this. Could you do it a little different? Add that color. Take away that color. Think about it in a different way. I can build that”. I love her drive and her dedication to truly original and inspiring designs. She can take a concept and transform it into something a million times better than where it started. Katie is not only a driving creative force at FBS, she also keeps all correspondence and details running smoothly. She interacts with each client to obtain all the necessary details essential for executing a flawless event. She’s our organization and our tornado all at the same time.
We encourage you to send your resume to FBS if you feel the same way we do about flowers and design. New team members are always welcome.