Sometimes I have a habit of (re)reading certain blogs that genuinely appeal to me, I devour them in like bees do with nectar. Marble and Milkweed is my kind of flower. Run by Briar, who concocts botanical and alchemical apothecary creations for beauty, mind, and soul. What separates her from everyone else is how poetically she captures her creations: teas, body oils, etc- and how she chooses to ethically approach and support her shop. Using organic and plant derived materials, her blog doubles as a peek into her workstyle and individual do-it-yourselfs, like this chocolate enfleurage. I was really happy Briar took the time for this interview – I only wish I could have asked her in person with a cup of her tea.
Briar’s blog: http://marbleandmilkweed.blogspot.com
Instagram at: http://instagram.com/marbleandmilkweed
Shop can be found at www.marbleandmilkweed.com
Hello! My name is Briar, and I am a pastry chef, and the maker behind Marble & Milkweed. I’m in love with plants, and I love helping people discover how pure botanicals can make them glow, inside and out. I keep track of developments in the shop, kitchen and studio on
My creative process is very fluid.
There are a lot of things from my formal culinary education that help me enormously in the shop, especially when it comes to staying organized, developing new recipes and creating products that are consistent and have integrity. Most of my inspiration, though, day to day, comes from being around beautiful raw materials. My respect for botanical materials is immense, and I love being able to feel a deep connection to the earth (even while living in the middle of New York City!) through working with them. I work in the studio as often as I can, in between dessert-related projects, and my schedule often varies season by season. In the winter, I love working on new projects in the late morning and afternoon, while in the summer, I often find myself inspired late into the evenings, as the light lingers.
Besides being inspired by exquisite raw materials, I also am in love with my neighborhood (New York’s Lower East Side), and its incredibly diverse and fascinating history. My clawfoot bathtub in the kitchen is my secret hideout, and the community garden that my sweetheart and I are members of is a huge source of inspiration, as well, not just for its natural beauty, but also for the neighborly relationships that it fosters. I’m constantly inspired by my partner, Michael, who is so incredibly handsome, devoted, and the best cook in the world.
I am constantly in awe of the tea plant – camellia sinensis. It’s such an incredibly versatile plant, yielding completely different products depending on where it’s grown and how it’s processed. And the ritual that it has inspired in so many cultures is something that I love learning about and adapting to my own life.
I try to live as consciously as possible,
with the understanding that even my smallest actions can make a difference. This applies to the way I source and eat my food, what I put on my skin, how I treat my environment and the people around me. I want to be a source of good energy in the world.
5 Things that Heal me:
- good food: lovingly grown, lovingly prepared
- a long hot bath
- time in the garden
- time with my sweetheart and people I love
- work that I feel good about doing
Now that I live in New York City
one of my favorite places to visit is the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. It’s so nice to be between the mountains and the sea, and take in the fresh air, especially when the sun finally pokes through the clouds. Another favorite journey was the trip my sweetheart and I took to Italy a few years back. We stayed in an agritourismo on top of a mountain in Umbria. The hospitality was so warm, the food so delicious, and we slept so well. It was marvelous.
A few neighborhood favorites:
There’s always so much going on, between the Lower East Side where I live, and TriBeCa, where I work. Near home, I love the Essex Street Market with its diverse and delicious shops, and I love dropping into Russ & Daughters for a chunk of halvah. In the East Village, we have a wonderful herb shop called Flower Power, they are so kind and knowledgeable, and I also often stop nearby at Sustainable NYC for earth-friendly gifts for special occasions. I also love my local branch of Organic Avenue, around the corner from my apartment. Their Thai collard green wrap is amazing, and I love being able to drop in for a green juice or a coconut water on my way out the door. In TriBeCa, I love All Good Things, a really special indoor market for food, flowers and more, and I also love to go by Birdbath Bakery on Church Street for my favorite chocolate chip cookie. And wherever I am in the city, I always find myself gravitating to the nearest park or community garden for a bit of green respite.
In 5 years,
I want to grow Marble & Milkweed into a way to share my love of radical simplicity and passion for plants with many, many people. I would love for my studio to be a gathering place for like-minded folks, with classes about herbs and botanical fragrance, wholesome nourishment, flower-arranging and gardening, all the things that bring beauty and meaning to my life.
An ideal day:
I feel like there is no one ideal day, I always want to be able to appreciate each day for whatever it holds and to embrace that fully. That being said, a good day should at least contain a portion each of good food, good love, good work and good sleep. The proportions may vary from day to day, but those things are at the heart of it all.
One piece of advice: Go after what you love, and keep doing it. Making it happen takes time, so try to appreciate that part of the process, too!