Andrea Castaneda’s pressed flower artwork is well-known in Dallas, but the market she caters to is nationwide. Her precisely preserved flower art, from original prints to commissioned bouquet presses, captures a moment in time and makes it tangible.
Castaneda’s inspiration to press came from her boyfriend’s grandmother. The couple’s library is filled with her old books, and 40-year-old flowers still rest between the pages. What began as a hobby turned into a full-fledged business after a smashing success at a Dallas marketplace. Castaneda created a library of original pieces and prints, like her homage to Texas: a silhouette of the state, crafted with bright petals. Orders were concentrated in the holiday season, though, so Castaneda pivoted to focus on year-round bridal bouquet preservation.
She also began hosting popular flower pressing workshops, which drew both casual crafters and serious artists from around the country. Castaneda has concluded that the workshops reveal too much proprietary information about her processes. In fact, previous attendees have since opened up shop as competitors. “There was a huge learning curve for me,” says Castaneda. “What glue to use, what paper to use, how to press each flower, what flowers need to be microwaved… It took me years.” Her final workshop will be held on February 9 at the Dallas Arboretum.
When crafting bridal bouquets, Castaneda and her team consider the bride’s vision, the feel of her wedding, and even her home décor to create the perfect piece for her space. Color enhancing is included, too; her team enhances every petal and leaf they receive to ensure that colors remain vibrant.
Bridal bouquet orders are stressful, Castaneda says. Will the flowers arrive in good condition, or wilted? Did the florist add any chemicals that will hinder pressing? It’s all up in the air until the bouquet is safely in Castaneda’s hands. Regardless of condition, “I just have to make sure I make something beautiful [no matter what],” she says.
Because the timeline is critical–flowers must be pressed within four days–brides are required to overnight their bouquets to Castaneda directly after the wedding. If something happens (a bouquet wilts while in transit, for example) Castaneda will work with what she can salvage, which is typically greenery. The staff keeps an inventory of flowers on hand to replace anything wilted, damaged, or missing.
In some instances, the artists can reconstruct a bouquet from just an image–even if your nuptials were 20 years ago, Castaneda’s team could recreate your blooms from photos. Currently, the business does not work with previously dried flowers, but Castaneda is learning new processes to be able to work with such bouquets.
In 2019, the company served 400 brides. With a newly hired team of artists and staff, Castaneda hopes to double the production speed to keep up with demands. For those interested in pressing their bridal bouquet, book as soon as you have your wedding date; their 2020 schedule is half-full already.
Learn more about Designs by Andrea here.