February things

Sunday, February 22, 2015

I've been preparing for a few days away this week, this time for our annual winter visit to M.'s grandparents on Sanibel Island, Florida. A little escape could not possibly feel more timely, as yet another snowstorm passed through here overnight. February has been a slog this year with all these wickedly cold days alternating with messy slush. The thermostat on my space heater in the studio read 37 degrees when I arrived there on Friday morning. Can't help but feel a bit jealous of the West Coast, which seems to be barreling headlong toward springtime in a whirlwind of camellias and birdsong. But everything in its own time, I suppose. Meanwhile, this, this and plenty of tea are helping to get us through! Orders placed while I'm away will begin shipping on Monday, March 2nd. Thank you, as ever, for your patience.

I had the loveliest visitor at the studio on Friday, too. Carrie from Half Hitch Goods dropped by while she was in town from San Francisco, and we had the most wonderful chat over a cup of matcha. She is really committed to nurturing relationships with the artisans she works with, and it was refreshing to talk candidly about the challenges and the triumphs that come along with building a small business your own way.

I'll also be making a rare appearance outside the studio at Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Herb Day festivities, on Sunday, March 1st. You'll find me in the Atrium of the new visitors center from 10am-1pm with a selection of goods. Stephen Orr, author of The New American Herbal will also be giving a talk from 2-3pm and signing copies of his book. If you're in the area, I'd love for you to stop by and say hello! 

A few good things from this week:

I love photos of Lunar New Year celebrations...

a little insight into the year of the Wood Sheep

these little treats, very much after my own heart


Sunday, February 1, 2015

More snow on the way tonight. Serious hibernation feelings happening around here these days. I'm trying a slightly different heating configuration at the studio this winter, with mixed success. I'd like to think it's something that I could overcome by thinking warm thoughts, but the cold simply has me moving slower than usual. Such a natural thing, really. Mostly, I've been making it through these past few weeks knowing that there's a hot bath waiting for me at home. Cozy wishes to all!

a few things from this week:

// so honored to be mentioned in Amanda's musings on small batch beauty

// this beautiful giveaway over at Cider & Rye

// some nourishing inspiration for starting the year off in deliciously good health

{photos from the 6 & B Garden + from our window on Rivington Street during last week's "blizzard"}

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A new year, a few days to rest. New projects taking shape behind the scenes.

As always, so grateful.

Here are a few photos from our recent trip to the West Coast.

And some words about the shoreline.

notes from last night

Thursday, October 16, 2014

(clockwise from top left):

2/ chilly mornings + vintage silk
3/ color inspiration on my studiomate's palette 
4/ rainy days

For me, the two sides of autumn will always feel a bit at odds. We're torn between the energy of shorter days that ask us to slow down, to gather and rest, and the intense uptick of activity in advance of the holidays. Things have been wonderfully lively around the studio, though I do feel myself dealing with just a touch of social-media burnout. I can't be the only one, right? It isn't so simple balancing the desire to connect with the incredible creative community that works and plays just beyond all these screens with the need for a moment (or more) of analog peace and quiet. 

It's warm out tonight, and raining. I left the studio early to attend a bokashi composting workshop at a community garden on 12th Street. This method of recycling food waste uses microorganisms to ferment (or pickle) food scraps, which can then be added to the soil. It seems like an elegant process, one that makes so much sense, especially for city dwellers. Our compost area at 6&B is in serious need of attention and I'm going to be looking into a grant that would help us get the supplies we need to start using this method. With microbes making headlines in the most unfortunate of ways lately, consciously entering into a harmonious agreement with a few of them seems comforting, somehow. Ancient and life-affirming. In the rainy dark, mixing the starter ingredients together with our bare hands by the glow of a flashlight, my neighbors and I. 

After the workshop, I walked home in the rain, feeling optimistic. I steamed up the house making a bowl of pasta with simple garlicky sauce from a basket of fresh tomatoes, wondering if they are the season's last.  

heartache + handmade paper: a story about tea packaging

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Even though it may reach 90 degrees here in the city today, I can feel autumn sneaking in. We spent two days last week at Early Girl Farm on Long Island checking our bees and getting our hands dirty, and the angle of the sun felt so different. The scent in the air, too.

This has been one of my busiest summers I can recall. It wasn't necessarily something I was prepared for, but it's been wonderful. I also never, ever thought I'd be thinking about the holiday season in July, but alas. This year, it has been a joy to take on so many new stockists and to share my work with even more of you beautiful people. I've been working on a website update that should go live next week-ish, if all goes well. And Autumn Getaway kits are nearly ready, too, full of gorgeous seasonal skin + spirit food for the months ahead.

You'll also notice a shift in our tea packaging. That wasn't really something I planned for either. I've been a regular customer at the Pearl Paint store on Canal Street since I moved to New York twelve years ago. My walk there was always punctuated by stops throughout Chinatown for dumplings, coconut buns, and exotic vegetable ogling. The building is pure magic, one of the old cast-iron factory loft buildings. Two buildings, in fact, connected by crooked little ramps and stairways on each floor. Paints, pastels and paper from floor to ceiling. And the main staircase, the beamy wooden banisters, the wide creaky steps, and the paint sample charts lining the walls. The scent of all that old wood, that I now recognize as belonging to the same fragrance family as the scent of the stairs up to my loft studio, not far away.

It's a place that has always been drenched with feelings of freedom and possibility for me. I've been there alone, with friends, with lovers. When I designed Marble & Milkweed's library card tea packaging, I went to their once-flourishing paper department to source the handmade Japanese paper that I cut out by hand and affixed to the front of each of my bags of tea.

I could hardly believe it when I heard that the store was to close this past spring. I made one last visit while the rumors were flying around, just to be safe. I bought too many bottles of my favorite Sennelier inks in gold, silver and sepia. And sure enough, within a week, it was gone.

Certainly Pearl Paint had seen livelier days, the neighborhood has changed so rapidly that artists can hardly afford to live anywhere near the old cast-iron district these days (I won't use the S-word here, out of respect for Donald Judd, who hated it, and saw it only as a ridiculous fabrication of real estate developers). Also, Pearl is/was a chain (!), a cursory online search indicates that they may be in the midst of closing their two remaining stores in Florida. It's also not the only place that sells lovely handmade Japanese unryu paper, as I was reminded by a recent visit to the rightfully well-regarded paper department of New York Central Art Supply.

Somehow, it wasn't actually about any of that. I went to Pearl for the nostalgia and the romance. And without it, I felt as if I couldn't simply resume buying my handmade Japanese paper elsewhere in the city, or (heaven forbid!) on the internet. So while my heart heals, I've decided to streamline a bit, to find something that's perhaps sleeker, simpler, a bit sturdier for traveling. It's still entirely compostable, and the outer box is recycled and recyclable. I do hope you'll like it.

I'll always be inspired by beautiful papers, though (and the spirit of old New York). So even if now seems like the right moment to take a little break from the handmade paper, you may see it pop back up somewhere else in our packaging in the coming months. And thank you, dear ones, for letting me explain myself.

Marble & Milkweed x One Kings Lane

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Just dropping in for a moment to let you know that there are only 3 days left of our sale with One Kings Lane this week and things are selling out fast! We're thrilled to be in such great company over there, and if you haven't heard from me it's because I'm digging myself out from under a pretty serious stack of orders. Thanks so much to everyone who has stopped by and picked something up! xo Briar

abundance + gratitude

Saturday, July 19, 2014

We harvested the first of our honey this week. It was so beautiful. When we began keeping bees last year in a garden in Brooklyn, we got a late start and didn't harvest honey last fall in order to leave the bees enough to get through the winter. After an exceptionally hard winter, only a handful made it and we had to start fresh this spring. A blessing in disguise, the community garden in Brooklyn wasn't able to host our bees this season, so we moved them out to a farm on Long Island where we had a connection through M.'s work. They have been so happy and productive there, and it has been such a joy to see them thrive. We've been going out to do bit of farm work there, too, when we can. It's a magical place, and tasting the honey made there this week was a reminder of the sweetness and abundance of this season, and all the things we have to be grateful for.

In that spirit, I want to say an enormous thank you to all of you that continue to support my work here. I feel so lucky to be able to do this, and to be able to share the fruits of my labor with you. It's my pleasure to offer 20% off orders in the main shop this weekend only (Saturday until midnight on Sunday EST) with the code GRATITUDE.

Wishing you the most beautiful heart-of-summer days ahead. Get out into the garden and breathe deeply!

p.s. We'll be taking a little break later this month to travel back to the Pacific Northwest, so please note that orders made between July 25th - August 5th will ship when I return, beginning August 6th.

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