Updated: Oct 17, 2021
I recently sat down to talk with Erika Eberhart, owner of Betty Moon Studios. We chatted on the patio of a charming little botanical boutique called The Treehouse, tucked away in the artsy coffee town of Holualoa.
GFH: To get started, why don't you tell me about what you do. What's your business?
Erika: My business is Betty Moon Studios, and I started about a year and a half ago. I began working with plants around that time and trying to integrate them into my artwork. A few years back I was working for a sustainable events company doing floral design, and [after I left there] I really wanted to keep doing that in some way, so that sort of interwove into the art that I was doing. I was learning how to preserve plants in different ways.
Right now I'm focusing on bouquet preservation. The floral industry is so huge, and people spend years planning their wedding, and then it's done in a day and they can't bring all the flowers with them. So ideally, the work that I'm doing is to kind of give people the opportunity to use some of their flowers and create a memory. So when they see a piece it will remind them of this really special day. It's this magical thing that you get to keep forever.
GFH: That's awesome. As someone who works in the flower industry, I've seen a lot of flowers going to waste. Cause, you know, they only last so long, especially here in Hawaii. So it's nice to be able to have the option [to preserve them].
Erika: Yeah! I just finished a large coffee table from a bride's bouquet. She had given it to me and then her partner gave me the wood piece to use which was locally grown monkey pod. So that was like a really beautiful combination of both of them working together. I actually dropped that off today. They were so excited they get to think of their wedding day every time they sit down at the coffee table. I love being able to give people that memory.
GFH: You're based here in Kona. How long have you lived in Hawaii?
Erika: It'll be 4 years in December that I've been on Big Island. I've visited some of the other islands - and they're nice - but The Big Island just feels so special. The community here is amazing!
GFH: Is there anything about living and working in Hawaii that has been challenging or different from working in the mainland?
Erika: Well I think living on an island in general, it's difficult to get in certain products consistently. And then the shipping aspect is always difficult. But overall I'm thankful to be here for sure. This is an interesting island because it has that small-town feel but there are quite a few events and everything. If I was to live in a city like LA I feel like it would be madness all the time. Whereas here I can kind of have that space to unwind, which I definitely need *laughs*.
I've had some issues with climate as well. Living up where I live the moisture content is really high, so I've actually moved my studio down to a storage unit that's closer to town. It's warmer too, which is better for what I do as it helps everything dry more quickly.
GFH: Have you noticed that some flowers are more difficult to work with than others?
Erika: A lot of tropical flowers are actually kind of difficult. Plumerias are tough because they have kind of a watery consistency and bruise really easily so they end up turning brown. Anthuriums are tough...anything that's kind of thick and waxy is hard. I can use orchids, but they tend to get pretty thin.
One thing that's interesting is that some flowers tend to change colors. I have no control over that but I think it's really cool that nature just kind of does it's thing. So yeah I'm learning that certain colors like reds and pinks typically tend to turn darker. It's all just a learning process.
GFH: Do you ship your work as well, or is it mainly sold locally?
Erika: I do ship my resin encasements, which are about nine inches -the circular ones- and then I have ten inch squares. I also offer floral inlays with pressed plants on local pieces of wood. As long as they're under 40" I can ship. And then my custom coffee tables I'm just doing local right now. Eventually I plan on making all my work available to ship.
GFH: What's your favorite flower?
Erika: Well my favorite flower is a Poppy, I have one tattoo'd on me *shows me*. But for a flower that grows here...I know it's not a native plant, and can be invasive, but Bougainvillia I absolutely love. I think it's because it's the first plant that I really started using in my artwork...There's a lot. I love all the different ferns here too.
GFH: Anything else you wanna add?
Erika: All of my work is original pieces, so nothing is going to be exactly the same. I really love that about what I do, that [My work] is all completely custom. It makes me happy and I feel that when I'm putting my good energy into the work it comes through.
You can follow Erika on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bettymoonstudios_
To see her work or to place an order, go to her website: https://bettymoonstudios.com