Rhonda Bastien runs Empty Garden Floral Preservation & Keepsakes in Fort Langley, turning flowers from a cherished moment and turning it into an art piece that will last a lifetime.

Rhonda Bastien runs Empty Garden Floral Preservation & Keepsakes in Fort Langley, turning flowers from a cherished moment and turning it into an art piece that will last a lifetime.

Work of art represents cherished memories

Fort Langley artist turns flowers into keepsake

With her sentimental nature and passion for art, Rhonda Bastien’s new business is the perfect career for her.

“I am a sentimental girl and have had art in my blood since the day I was born,” she explained.

“From my art training to landscaping, I am always barefoot in a yard just trying to do the creative thing.”

Bastien grew up on the North Shore and attended Emily Carr after high school, completing a four-year diploma program at the art school.

After she was done her schooling, Bastien shifted her focus and worked in the service industry, but her creative side remained in the background.

“The art took a back seat but I was always creative in whatever I did, whether it was in my home or gifts, or that sort of thing,” she explained.

“(Art) has always been underlying and now finally it has taken a turn and it is at the forefront.”

She moved to Fort Langley five years ago and opened up her new business earlier this year, Empty Garden Floral Preservation & Keepsakes.

“It just came naturally,” she said about the decision to work with flowers.

“Typically, wedding bouquets, anniversary, memorial and other special flowers have been preserved into pressed flower pictures as keepsakes.”

“This is an amalgamation of what I love — flowers, artistic expression, colour and texture,” she added.

“This is a work of art that represents your precious memories that will last a lifetime.”

The process, from start to finish, takes about three months to complete.

“We offer floral preservation with the technique of freeze drying, which is the most successful process to guarantee favourable long-term results while also maintaining their natural shape and colour,” Bastien said.

It begins with the client bringing Bastien the flowers. She then puts them into a freeze dryer for a couple of weeks and then Bastien colour treats them. This is followed by arranging the flowers into a work of art and the process is completed by Bastien framing the final piece in a shadow box or a bubble dome.

“A work of art that represents your cherished moment in time,” she said.

“I love doing it. It is very meticulous, very tedious, very time consuming, but I am focusing in on it and it is giving me everything that I need in return; being able to offer this service is personally rewarding.”

“We are grateful to be entrusted with your precious floral memories which represent the special occasions we all keep in our hearts,” she added.

And in addition to the works of art she creates, Bastien also displays artwork for sale from local artists.

The business is at 101-23242 Mavis Ave. and Bastien can be reached at 778-996-5366.