There are few things more traditional than flowers for special occasions.

What would a wedding be, for example, without a bridal bouquet or decorative, floral arrangements?

While flowers commemorate the traditional events and major moments of our lives, a handful of Little Rock artists are taking a decidedly avant-garde view of florals and what they mean to the people they touch. 

Brittany Tubbs, Hannah Anderson, Lacey Holder and Erin Pierce are using florals and forage in innovative, unconventional ways, infusing new life into an ancient art form and creating arrangements that make people look, and think, twice. 

Brittany Tubbs

- Emmylou's Flower Bar -

Brittany Tubbs wants people to be impressed when they lay eyes on the arrangements she creates, or helps them create, at Little Rock-based Emmylou’s Flower Bar. But Tubbs also wants her customers to have a sense of comfort that borders on familiarity.

“You know that feeling when you watch your comfort show for the 100th time? A sense of bliss,” Tubbs says. “That's the feeling I want people to feel when they see and come to the bar. I love making people smile when they see the flower bar or when they see their wrapped flowers.”

Tubbs is a Texarkana native who now lives in Jacksonville. She had been working weddings until she opened Emmylou's Flower Bar, named for her daughter, earlier this year, incorporating seven years of floral design experience gained from work on a flower truck in Nashville and for a large-event florist.

Tubbs has adapted the flower truck approach, renovating an old horse trailer that she hauls to pop-ups, weddings and events in central and northwest Arkansas and east Texas. She offers a “build your own” bouquet concept, hand-wrapping the creations herself.

Tubbs is also a “rookie flower grower” who grows many of the flowers used in the arrangements. 

“As far as design, I incorporate a lot of what I’ve learned working with top floral designers, and of course I add my own flair to it,” she says. 

Tubbs comes from an artistic family, especially on her father’s side, where nearly everyone practices some kind of art. 

“I've loved to illustrate since I was a kid, and art has always just been my favorite way to express myself,” Tubbs says. “I focus mostly on surrealism, western and floral illustrations.”

For a time, Tubbs had a shop on Etsy where she sold illustrations and screen-printed items. It was doing well, but she has put it on hold to expand her floral business and be a full-time mom and spouse.

With the flower bar, Tubbs mostly does pop-ups, market days and weddings and, harking back to her Etsy business, has handmade, screen-printed tote bags and greeting cards for sale at the bar. She has also recently begun conducting workshops in which she teaches small groups how to build and design floral arrangements and bouquets.

Looking ahead, Tubbs is planning more workshops and is gearing up for more pop-ups as well as renting out the bar for events.

“Weddings are definitely the hardest to navigate because there are so many options, and I always want to make sure the bride is getting everything they want while still trying to create something that I'm proud of.” 

Find Emmylou's Flower Bar on Facebook & Instagram.

Lacey Holder & Hannah Anderson

- Petal to the Metal -

Makeup by LORI WENGER. Alterations by PAM BOOK. Flowers sourced from SWEET GUM FLOWER FARM.

Hannah Anderson describes herself as “wacky and unique,” and she puts those qualities into her arrangements and floral designs at Petal to the Metal Floristry in Lonoke. 

Anderson embraces a rock 'n' roll ethos, leaning into the idea of “flowers with guts” and referring to her wedding clients as “heavy metal brides.” She has her own rhythm and recipe for what works, favoring dahlias and ethereums, using spray paint and mixed media to create innovative and unique arrangements.

In an oversaturated flower market, Anderson feels she has nothing to lose by doing her own thing.

“I do know what makes my art special is the love and magic,” she says. “I set my intentions before I walk into the studio. I will creep a client's Instagram to get to know their love story. I don't design mad. I learn the rules so I can break them.”

A North Little Rock native, Anderson attended Henderson State on a music scholarship, but dropped out, waited tables and eventually got her associate degree in American Sign Language from Pulaski Tech. 

But Anderson had always been an artist. Her childhood bedroom was covered in murals. She won a seventh grade art contest with a 3D rose made from duct tape and in 11th grade earned a Thea Foundation scholarship with a collage entry. 

Flowers found her, she likes to say, when she took a job as a cashier at a North Little Rock florist and got pulled into filling orders on a busy day. She worked her way up to head designer, and it all came together when she was tasked to fill a fairly simple order for a few wedding bouquets.

“That was the moment I realized I was in love with this craft and weddings were the magical key,” says Anderson, who married her husband, Jordan, in 2021. “Of course it was weddings. I took my job as a flower girl in my mom's friends' weddings so seriously. My favorite part of all the Disney princess movies were the wedding scenes. I love weddings.”

Anderson met her friend and business partner, Lacey Holder, while working at a bakery shortly after quitting school. Holder, a De Queen native who's spent most of her life in central Arkansas, had experience in floral arranging and weddings and, as luck would have it, had a style that complemented Anderson's. 

"I’ve worked in the industry. I know what it’s like. I know what I’m getting into," Holder says. "When you need a helping hand like Hannah does sometimes, it’s easy for me to know what to do.”

The two worked several jobs together before they opened Petal to the Metal on Valentine’s Day eve in 2019. Today, they also sponsor and create selections for the Mutants of the Monster music festival and collaborate with artists and photographers on online content. They're working on a rebrand and website and, while not having many works for sale, do take some “wacky commissions” like creating silk pieces around deer skulls and crafting bone wreaths and silk crowns — all while navigating the never-ending slate of new wedding trends.

"But we fit well with that because we’re already a little bit different, so if you come to us with an idea that’s something we never heard of, we love that. We want to see different, too," Holder says. "It becomes a new challenge, and we put it in the books."

And while Anderson and Holder enjoy creating the wedding arrangements, they never forget who the creations are really for.

“Of course, not every gig I book is black roses and chocolate cosmos; I love making any client's dream florals come to fruition,” Anderson says. “My art is mine until the bouquet goes in the bride's hands — then it isn't mine anymore, it's theirs.”

Find Petal to the Metal on Facebook & Instagram

Erin Pierce

- Organized Chaos Collection | Myrtle & Ivy - 

Flowers are pretty and sentimental, but people also want keepsakes that last.

Erin Pierce, the artist behind the Organized Chaos Collection and offshoot brand Myrtle and Ivy, provides both.

Pierce uses preserved wildflowers and other items found in the wild — mushrooms, lichen-covered sticks, butterfly wings, seed pods, snail shells and more — to create jewelry and other works of art. Through Myrtle and Ivy she focuses on flower preservation in bridal bouquets and memorial arrangements.

“There is a transient nature with flowers that people tend to accept, even if they wish to hold onto them forever. My art allows you to do that. To keep them,” Pierce says.

Pierce, a Searcy native based in North Little Rock, loves natural history museums and is fascinated with all kinds of ologies: entomology, herbology, biology and more. 

She first made natural items for herself before crafting a shadow box for her now-fiancé Cody Mayfield that incorporated items they picked up on their first hike together. 

“It hit me that this is what I should do with all my specimens I have laying around and displayed in jars,” she says. “I made a few more with items I already had, and people started to want to buy them, so I made more.” 

A 2008 University of Central Arkansas graduate with a bachelor’s degree in fine art, Pierce focused on film photography. Crafty from a young age, she has worked in a number of mediums and has had jobs at photography and pottery studios. 

During five years as an instructor at Painting With a Twist, Pierce made her own work at home and began setting up booths at small markets. She realized she could earn enough to live her dream as a self-employed artist and has been on her own for four years.

Pierce collects and presses the wildflowers, cultivated flowers, foliage and other natural specimens while purchasing her butterflies, moths and dragonflies from a sustainable, ethical supplier online. Her processes include pressing flowers and layering to create depth and suspending items in protective layers of epoxy resin using embroidery hoops.

Organized Chaos reflects the chaos of a forest floor and the works in progress in her studio. There are unseen patterns to both, Pierce says, and out of the chaos comes beauty. 

Her work can be found at The Galleries and Bookstore at Library Square in downtown Little Rock, and she has been a fixture at the Oddities and Curiosities Expos, though her travels took a hit during the pandemic. Pierce fell back on the bridal bouquet and preservation work she had been doing in 2019, and Myrtle and Ivy stems from that. 

“I've always been really sentimental and wanting to hold onto things," she says, "so gravitating toward preserving and keeping the flowers looking beautiful forever was natural for me.” 

Find Organized Chaos Collection on Facebook & Instagram. | Find Myrtle & Ivy at and on Facebook & Instagram.