As a graduate student studying architectural interiors in London, Gabriela Salazar had a mysterious knack for making every house feel like home. “Each time I moved into a new space, my friends would say it seemed like I had lived there for 10 years,” she recalls. “I realized that it was because I always filled it with plants and flowers—they’re what makes a room feel alive.” Now, as the founder of floral studio La Musa de las Flores in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, she’s made it her mission to teach the world just how transformative a vase of blooms (or vines or foliage or even dried twigs) can be.
In her new book, The Artistry of Flowers: Floral Design by La Musa de las Flores (Rizzoli), Salazar treats floristry not as a technical skill to be mastered, but as a creative pursuit driven by emotional connection. “I really want people to experience flowers in their own way of living, not as an accessory that enters into a house like a stranger,” she explains. “There should be a sense of connection.”
Each arrangement highlights a key element of her ethos: A low vessel accented with long stems of native herbs and Queen Anne’s lace that seem to explode outward like firecrackers illustrates the need to give flowers space to breathe; a monochromatic flurry of pink roses and San Miguelito vine (the latter rescued from a construction site in Oaxaca) tumbling forth from a vase makes a case for embracing different textures. All together, they encapsulate what is perhaps her most important lesson: “Working with flowers is a collaboration between you and nature. You might be the one who plants the seed, but the rest is never up to you.”