Austin, Texas, floral designer Antonio Bond found his calling naturally. “I come from a family of artists, each one with a slightly different approach and medium, and I knew I didn’t want to be stuck in a nine-to-five,” he says. His start was a humble one—designing arrangements in a local grocery store floral department. “I still laugh about the first arrangement I made,” he says. “Let’s just say the lady returned it.” Slowly, over a decade, Bond began doing small projects on the side for friends’ gatherings and weddings. Those projects morphed into bigger and bigger events and his first breakout gig doing florals for Liz Lambert and the Hotel St. Cecilia. Today his creations grace SXSW, the Texas Hall of Fame Awards, and movie premieres.
In the early days, Bond often faced a limited budget, so he supplemented his arrangements with found objects and vintage items—everything from charred wood from a forest fire to animal skulls and bones to antique lanterns. The style remains his calling card today. His first book, Transplants: Eclectic Floral Design, released in November, celebrates his unique approach.
“I think everyone in the South is drawn to relics of the past,” Bond says. “We feel connected to objects because they evoke memories. And flowers are pretty, but objects have personality. As humans we naturally want to feel connected to objects with history that tell a story or if nothing else start a conversation.”
Bond is always on the hunt for particularly quirky items, but clients and friends also present their own vessels to include in arrangements. Even trees aren’t off limits. For a recent wedding, Bond installed a floral sculpture among the branches of a live oak. He’s even constructed whole living walls and lively combos out of barnacles and allium and peonies.
When it comes to his personal arrangements for Thanksgiving, Bond is partial to edible combinations of fruits and vegetables mixed with driftwood. But beyond the flowers, he encourages anyone to choose the vessel first. “If you have a favorite container, get creative with using it,” he says. “Start with something that is meaningful and experiment with how you can use the flowers to enhance it.” Follow his holiday creations all season long on Instagram @transplantsfloral.
Transplants: Eclectic Floral Design is now available.