1 out of 3 Black men will be sent to prison in their lifetime vs. 1 out of 17 white men. (Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights)
Black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by the police than are white people. (Mapping Police Violence, 2019)
Black Americans and white Americans use drugs at similar rates, but Black Americans are 6 times more likely to be arrested for it. (NAACP)
99% of killings by police from 2013-2019 have not resulted in officers being charged with a crime. (Mapping Police Violence, 2019)
Use of police force is the 6th leading cause of death for young Black men in the U.S. (PNAS, 2013–2018)
These violent patterns continue because of American systems that uphold anti-Black racism, notably including the over-policing of Black individuals, which leads to police brutality and mass incarceration. The preservation of these systems furthers racial inequality in America and serves to maintain white power.
Now is the time to come together as a community and fight for Black people’s right to live. This is not a Black issue. This is a human issue. This is your issue.
Please share this information with your friends, family, and co-workers. Start conversations, raise awareness, and hold yourself accountable. Inaction is not an option. Silence is complacency.
A CALL TO ACTION.
SIGN these petitions:
- JusticeForBigFloyd.com: Demand all officers involved in Floyd’s murder be arrested and charged.
- JusticeForBreonna.org: Demand Taylor’s murderers, none of whom have been arrested, face charges.
- RunWithMaud.com: Demand Arbery’s murderer and his accomplices face just time in prison.
- More petitions can be found at colorofchange.org/campaigns/active
DONATE to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero: Help lawmakers adopt data driven policy solutions to end police brutality across America
- Black Lives Matter: Support the fight against state-sanctioned anti-Black violence and systemic racism.
- National Black Bailout Fund: Help end systems of mass incarceration and free imprisoned Black mothers..
- Louisville Community Bail Fund: Contribute to bail for protestors in Louisville.
- Black Visions Collective: Fund campaigns to empower Black communities in Minnesota.
- Reclaim the Block: Help Minneapolis community and city council members move money from the police department into areas that promote community health and safety.
CALL to demand all officers be charged for:
George Floyd’s death
- Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman | (612) 348-5550 or (612) 348-2146
- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz | (651) 201-3400
- Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison | (651) 296-3353
- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey | (612) 673-2100 Breonna Taylor’s death
- Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell | (502) 574-6336
- Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear | (502) 564-2611
- Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron | (502) 696-5300
- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer | (502) 574-2003
- VOTE!!! Politicians have enormous influence, not only through legislation and legal justice but also in shaping community sentiments and civilian behavior. For example, President Trump recently tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” condoning further killings of Black Americans and directly quoting racist former Miami police Chief Walter Headley’s 1967 statement.
VOTE: Use your right and responsibility as an American to show up at the polls and support politicians committed to ending police brutality. Research presidential, congressional, state, and local candidates. Every election matters. Black voices have long been actively suppressed when it comes to voting. Use your voice to fight for theirs.
To register to vote and to access information about your state visit: votesaveamerica.com
You can shop the VEJA brand shoes for the whole family HERE in our web shop, but be sure to read this captivating story of how VEJA is changing the sneaker industry!
The VEJA Story
In 2003, we are 25 years old and we both find ourselves in a Chinese factory to follow a social audit of a big fashion brand. For three days, we sail among the workers, they have a pale complexion and tired looks. But the factory is clean, and the social conditions there are pretty good. Everything goes well during the audit, until we ask the plant manager to open the doors to the living areas. It is first of all a categorical refusal. We insist, we push, and finally the door opens.
We find ourselves in a room of 25 square meters where the Chinese workers sleep at 30, in bunk beds of five floors. In the middle of the room, a hole which is used for both shower and toilet.
That day, we thought that globalization had bugged. We said to ourselves that these workers make the clothes we wear every day. That our families, our friends wore every day. And we realized that there was a real problem.
In 2003, large companies were already starting to talk about concepts like sustainable development ... but only talking about it. Their speech was completely uncorrelated with actions on the ground.
At that time, we also worked for Tristan Lecomte who had just set up AlterEco, the first French brand of fair trade. He made orange juice, tea, rice, coffee and chocolate and worked directly with farmers around the world. We worked for him, we audited his cooperatives in Brazil. And we found it extraordinary.
With fair trade, the economy could take a different, more balanced path, with fairer exchanges between producers and consumers. So, after working for the multinationals and for Tristan, when we return to Paris, instead of launching ourselves on the Internet like all our generation, we decide to reinvent a product.
We take the most symbolic object of our generation, to deconstruct and reconstruct it differently. For us, it is obvious, this object, it will be a new brand of sneakers.
So why a basketball?
Because it is the symbolic consumer product of our generation. It is at the feet of this generation of the 90s that sneakers have moved from sports fields to the street, that they have become democratized.
But it is also a super interesting product economically because for the big sneaker brands, it is the product that concentrates the most advertising in its costs. In fact, fiction has surpassed reality: for a pair of sneakers from major brands, 70% of the costs go to advertising, marketing and communication, against 30% for raw materials and labor. In other words, only 30% of the cost is spent on the reality of the product.
This observation is the heart of VEJA. By giving up advertising, we could create sneakers 5 times more expensive to manufacture while offering them at the same price as the big brands in stores.
We could reallocate advertising resources to produce, raw materials, the environment and all those who make sneakers. So make sneakers greener, sneakers fairer economically, simply by removing advertising from our business model.
We are 25 years old, we have no money, but we still decide to try. We tell ourselves that we are lucky to have families who love us, lucky to have studied, so if we don't try it, who will? And too bad if we miss each other, we will always have a roof over our heads and the possibility of bouncing. So we are going to Brazil, because it is a country that gathers all the raw materials we need and factories that protect workers. And it is a country where everything is possible, a country which welcomes those who want to try with open arms.
The objective of this trip is to deconstruct this basket and go up the path of raw materials to the starting point, then descend and try to change each stage of production, to have a positive social and environmental impact.
We find ourselves in the Amazon rainforest with syringueiros, rubber producers who live in the forest, without destroying it, without deforesting, but on the contrary trying to live in harmony with it.
And we start working with them. At the start, it's a bit complicated, we're gringos, we barely speak Portuguese, we're in the middle of this Amazonian forest, we have 1000 chances to lose hope every day, but we keep going.
We tell them we want to try to create an incredible product, and make it differently, and they trust us. We are gradually learning to work together. It becomes the basis of our basketball. This wild rubber represents 40% of all the sneaker soles we've made since.
Then, we leave for the Northeast, Atlantic side of Brazil: it is a deprived region of the country, very arid. Difficult to grow something there. However, there are organic contton producers, a very small cooperative, there are 35 of them, helped by a local NGO. But for 6 years, they haven't sold anything. In fact, they grow organic cotton without fertilizers or pesticides but it goes even further than organic: it is agro-ecological cotton.
In conventional agriculture that uses chemicals, crops tend to damage the land in the long run. In the depths of the Brazilian Northeast, we discover the principles of agroecology: to make the soil richer after having cultivated it, instead of impoverishing it.
We stayed for several weeks with the cotton producers, studying their daily newspapers, their methods, their costs. And we decided to buy their cotton. In the first contract, we paid double the market price. They didn't understand, they thought it was weird. And they called us Os Franceses Locos , the crazy French people.
We bought them three tons of organic cotton which became the canvas for our first sneakers. Three tonnes of organic cotton according to the principles of fair trade: pre-financing of crops, prices completely uncorrelated from the market and fixed in a three-year contract. In other words, when they plant a cotton seed, they already know at what price they will sell the kilo.
We then continue the path of production, we find ourselves in the south of Brazil in Porto Alegre in a basketball manufacturing factory. It is a developed region, with strong social rights, 80% of workers are unionized, and reasonable working hours, a way of life and purchasing power close to what we know in Europe. And that's where we decided to have our sneakers made.
Then, the 4th stage of VEJA is Bonneuil-sur-Marne in the Parisian suburbs. There, we meet a reintegration association who is asked to become our logistics provider. That is to say that they are the ones who will receive the sneakers containers, store them, ensure the dispatch, the logistics of the e-shop and send all the pairs of sneakers all over the world.
At the beginning, obviously, it's a bit difficult: we have to be a lot on site, with them, and imagine everything together. Today, it has become an incredible partner with whom we are growing.
We continue, and a few years later, we decide to launch leather sneakers. So it's not like any other leather , but leather tanned only with vegetable materials. And in parallel, with a factory in São Paulo, we are testing a new kind of fabric on our sneakers . This technical fabric is made 100% from recycled plastic bottles.
It's called B-mesh, and it costs more than normal materials. Plastic bottles are picked up in the streets of Rio and São Paulo, they are reduced to flakes, then transformed into fibers in a Brazilian factory.
At the heart of VEJA, there is this idea of connecting extraordinary projects to each other.
In 2005, we started to sell the first sneakers, and it started strong. The Parisian department stores buy from the start. And very quickly, shops called us from all over the world.
The adventure becomes a business, VEJA grows, and 12 years later, we have an office in Brazil, an office in France and a team of 60 people full of talent: we are happy.
We are present in fifty countries in the world, we have sold more than two million pairs of sneakers since the beginning, when we started with not much. We have our feet in several worlds: fashion, fair trade, organic, design, reintegration, factories, travel, cotton fields, the Amazon ... And we see that everything we made to a common denominator: transparency.
And this is the very meaning of VEJA: VEJA, in Portuguese, means "look". For us, that means looking at what's behind the sneakers.
Finally, little by little, we realize that at the start of VEJA, we made a very transparent, very ecological product, with a positive social impact but that the company itself is not necessarily transparent. We say that we have to change the business from the inside. So, we change.
For example, priority is given to banks like La Nef or Crédit Coopératif which do not have subsidiaries in tax havens. We change electricity supplier, we go through Enercoop, a much greener supplier.
And in 2009, we posted our limits on the VEJA site. Everything we do wrong, we put it: we publish everything. And in fact, we love it. We like this transparency which pushes us a little further each time.
And that's what we will continue to do in our future projects: continue to move forward, step by step, staying true to who we are and what we would like to see happen in the world.
Because "changing the world" has become a phrase we hear everywhere. Google, Amazon, Facebook, even they use it for good and wrong. So instead of perpetually trying to change the world and people , what makes us happy is to go even further in transparency. To keep the coherence of the project. To propose solutions that we would like to see emerge. This is how we move forward: we don't try to convince others, we start with ourselves.
Mother is a verb as well as a noun, so I hope everyone can honor whatever mothers them and whatever capacity to mother they have, or the equivalent in whatever gender language works for them. I think of the healthcare workers, the mostly female volunteer maskmakers across the country, the mutual aid projects, and all the other ways people are taking care of each in this most unusual mother's day in memory, and here's something I wrote a while back:
Some people had great mothers but lost them, some had or have mothers who never mothered them or stopped mothering them for some reason, treated them as adversaries or as worthless, and Mother's Day can be a punitive day for all those for whom this is true. The other half of the question of what there is to celebrate is what mothered and mothers you, how you mother yourself, how you celebrate and recognize what cares for you and takes care of you, and what do you care for in return.
I remember once looking at the Pacific Ocean, to which I often reverted in trouble, and thinking "Everything was my mother but my mother." Books were my mother, coastlines, running water and landscapes, trees and the flight of birds, zazen and zendos, quiet and cellos, reading and writing, bookstores and familiar views and routines, the changing evening sky, cooking and baking, walking and discovering, rhythms and blues, friends and interior spaces and all forms of kindness, of which there has been more and more as time goes by.
And of my own mother I wrote, in The Faraway Nearby: Like lawyers, writers seek consistency; they make a case for their point of view; they do so by leaving out some evidence; but let me mention the hundreds of sandwiches my mother made during my elementary school years, the peanut butter sandwiches I ate alone on school benches in the open, throwing the crusts into the air where the seagulls would swoop to catch them before they hit the ground. When my friends began to have babies and I came to comprehend the heroic labor it takes to keep one alive, the constant exhausting tending of a being who can do nothing and demands everything, I realized that my mother had done all these things for me before I remembered. I was fed; I was washed; I was clothed; I was taught to speak and given a thousand other things, over and over again, hourly, daily, for years. She gave me everything before she gave me nothing.
May you locate the ten thousand mothers that brought you into being and keep you going, no matter who and where you are. May you be the mother of uncounted possibilities and loves.
Born in LA to a father in the Marines and a free spirited mother, Gregory grew up living in various towns and cities across the US until making his home on Vashon Island in the 1970s. As he approached his 30’s, he decided to sell everything, pack his two faux alligator suitcases with all he owned and move to New York where he lived at the Chelsea Hotel before settling in Brooklyn. In New York his creative jobs began in merchandising and sales at merchants Artwear/ Robert Lee, Morris, Zona, 5 Eggs, and Umbrello / Portico.
Eventually, he became homesick for the Pacific Northwest, returned to Seattle to help create Nido, subsequently opening Little Nido with his friend and colleague Andrea Stuber. Some years later, after opening and running Hipberry Tearoom in Fremont and side gigging for Foundation, he spent the next 17 years at Barneys NY in Seattle. For the last 5 he has been an integral part of Churchmouse Yarns and Tea on Bainbridge Island, until this January, when we were lucky enough to have him come aboard as store manager for Our Seattle Concept Shop.
Gregory brings his ample experience and specific, soulful perspective to everything he does—a special note, a beautiful display, a tender conversation. Read on to get to know the newest member of the flora and henri family!
a watercolor by Gregory
"I have always been attracted to painting, drawing and what I call 'The Lady in Waiting Arts' (knitting, embroidering, crocheting). Since I was about 10, I was in love with a weird mix of artists from Aubrey Beardsley to R. Crumb."
THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOU-
Practical, I like things to work well and simply, I believe that a fab display always starts with a great inventory (all of it at once please!), lots of cleaning and filling a space with focused energy. I think people respond to the vibe that’s left.
Intuitive, I think it has taken years to learn there is something that happens before first impressions. It’s a gut feeling and sometimes it's not even that, it's ending up where you need to be by what seems to be fate or not pushing too hard against the flow.
Lucky, very lucky. Most things that have worked out well for me are things I feel I had no control over at all; they just appeared out of what seems like the blue, jobs, our house, my husband - (thanks for introducing us Jodi).
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Kazuko- Actress and Jeweler (may she rest in peace, one of the kindest and truly beautiful beings I have ever met).
All kinds of music: Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Bryan Ferry, Taking Heads / David Byrne, Rufus Wainwright, I could go on forever...
My husband Peter. He is a major talent in so many ways, art, music, baking, cooking, you name it, he does it well.
one of Peter's infamous tarts
Jodi and Al Davis of Hound and Bottle-they have created a world that I love out here in Bremerton and not to mention Nancy from the Weekender. This trio of friends have been in my life for years and are my heart and inspiration. They have been manifesting beauty and love in our community since I met them.
Kimmy Siebens, her heart is huge. See her work at Bremerton Homeless Community Coalition.
a Jessica McCourt paper cut
Jessica McCourt @empireofpaper on Instagram is not only an inspiration for creativity but of discipline and humor. I commute with her many mornings out of the week and she always is creating something beautiful and rare.
WHAT CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
That is a tough one to answer because some things are so everyday, and some just silly. Black tea, English style milk and sugar, like Builders or Yorkshire Gold.
Alan’s Vespers Martini at Hound and Bottle.
Really good paper and a beautiful fountain pen, I have a pen that there are only 3 of in the world. They are all named Helena, from Annabella at The Lost Quill, she has one and Gretchen Scoble has one too.
My 2 dogs Lily and Archie.
Cologne = Santa Maria Novella Patcholli, Potpourri (Marescialla), Dries Van Noten by Fredrick Malle, and a new one Peter bought me in Edison called Amor Fati by Sigil
Santa Maria Novella Patchouli Cologne
WHEN ARE YOU MOST HAPPY OR IN BALANCE?
When I am home with my husband and dogs on the sofa knitting and watching T.V., Escape to the Chateau, on Sunday night.
Making a list, on pretty paper with a good pen.
Doing a display with gorgeous stuff at home or at work.
center table display by Gregory at flora and henri
HOW HAS YOUR TIME IN QUARANTINE BEEN?
Honestly, I have loved most of it. To have this much time at home working on our shelter has been perfect. I have felt the losses other folks have experienced and counted myself so far as lucky and grateful for the restrictions that are in place. I know it has been said, but my heart goes out to everyone in the thick of it, from medical workers to the janitors who make very little and do so much. Our local government has done an amazing job of keeping us alive and healthy.
The big project that I have been working on has been our front garden. We live on a very busy and kind of noisy street. The front yard really had no direction, just a funky old fence and a few scrubby plants. Very city living. I have put in raised beds because our soil is so bad and the old trees that have lived there forever suck all the energy and water from our ground. Peter and I have been trying to figure out how to make it work. I have put in 3 raised beds, soon to be 5, stained them black along with our fencing and filled them with flowers, herbs and vegetables. I have also been trying out new colors to paint the house, so our house looks like a Guernsey cow right now, but we have picked our colors and it is starting to look like something good.
Our dog Archie had a big back surgery and had to be watched every day during his recovery. We were both here at home. For this extra time, I am totally grateful.
I am looking forward to time in the city again, commuting with my friends ( I have a brilliant pod of friends I commute with, so lots of quality time in the morning.) I miss working and can't wait to get into flora and henri and shake up the floor with new beautiful displays and return to whatever might be normal.
a shot from Gregory's front yard project
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL WHERE WOULD IT BE?
We were on our way to Palm Springs for our friends 50th Birthday, but it was canceled. We were planning on going to Oaxaca Mexico in the fall, but who knows what will happen. Fantasy would be Portugal and Spain for a big trip. I have never been to Bali or Thailand, and I would love that. We have been to Mexico City and loved that so much. Tulum is so great too, I love the beach.
MY FAVORITE ITEM IN THE STORE IS
The Nymphenburg Egg Lantern by Ted Muehling, with the Santa Maria Novella Patchouli coming right behind.
YEARS FROM NOW WHERE WILL YOU BE?
I love where I am right now, I will take more of the same please.
Over the past few weeks time has taken on a different identity for us all in varying ways. It has felt both frantic and quiet and sometimes both in the same moment. Certainly, no matter what, we have been more reflective and thoughtful, and we at flora and henri felt there was no better time than now to start our bi-monthly 'recueiller' -- a gathering of things we are doing, reading, watching, making, listening to, thinking about. Here is our May 2020 edition!
In our opinion, there are few things in life as brilliant as a book. Some of our favorite, current reading recommendations are:
The Living by Annie Dillard
Pulitzer Prize-winner Dillard turns her hand to fiction with this historical novel of the American Northwest in the late 19th century. Focusing on the settlement at Whatcom on Bellingham Bay (near Puget Sound), Dillard offers a compelling portrait of frontier life. The novel has a large and richly varied cast of characters, from the engaging frontiersman Clare Fishburn and Eastern socialite-turned-pioneer Minta Honer to the disturbed and violent Beal Obenchain and kleptomaniac Pearl Sharp. The Living is unflinching in its delineations of pioneer life at its worst and best--racism and brutality on the one hand and optimism and charity in adversity on the other.
Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller
A master of time and memory, Alexandra Fuller (author of Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight, one of Amy and Jane's absolute favorites reads) moves seamlessly between the days and months following her father’s death, as she and her mother return to his farm with his ashes and contend with his overwhelming absence, and her childhood spent running after him in southern and central Africa. Writing with reverent irreverence of the rollicking grand misadventures of her mother and father, bursting with pandemonium and tragedy, Fuller takes their insatiable appetite for life to heart. Here, in Fuller’s Africa, is a story of joy, resilience, and vitality, from one of our finest writers.
Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
The untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it's the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.
Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook the culture.
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
The winner of the NBCC Award for Poetry offers up a spirited collection of short lyric essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders. We have also included his On Being conversation with Krista Tippett in our Podcast recommends.
No doubt everyone has been spending ample time in front of screens, but if you are in need of some beautiful storytelling, visual inspiration, or momentary escape, check out the programming below:
Unorthodox: Netflix series: A Hasidic Jewish woman in Brooklyn flees to Berlin from an arranged marriage and is taken in by a group of musicians — until her past comes calling.
My Brilliant Friend: Season 1 & 2 on HBO: based on the novels by Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend is an intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. A portrait of two women that is also the story of a nation, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between the unforgettable Elena and Lila.
Though the full streaming of Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf is no longer available, the trailer is a lovely respite and fascinating peek into Piet Oudolf's (garden designer of New York's High Line) process and vision.
‘Plants are characters I compose with and I put them on the stage,’ Piet Oudolf explains, ‘and Tom was able to bring these characters to life in perfect harmony, from Oudolf Field in Somerset, to Manhattan’s High Line gardens and desert wildflowers in West Texas. This documentary shows my working process and holistic approach to landscape design like never before. I hope that watching Tom’s film is restorative at this time, and an opportunity to enjoy nature as we observe the turning of seasons that surrounds us all.’
Bon Appetit: Gourmet Makes: In this creative series, Claire Saffitz attempts to recreate our favorite comfort foods in the BA Test kitchen. Chef Saffitz takes the necessary steps to turn your childhood snacks into culinary masterpieces.
While the Serpentine Gallery's buildings are closed, the Serpentine’s work continues. Collected on their site are some of the ways you can interact with their programs through online exhibitions, digital commissions, podcasts, special broadcasts and more.
If you are able to have some time enjoying your own head phones and head space, here are our recent Podcast loves:
Rich Roll speaks with Dr. Zach Bush for a fascinating and intelligent exploration in how we treat the planet and it's impact on human biology. What distinguishes Dr. Bush from his medical peers is his rigorous application of science, strength of humanity, and the intelligence of nature to his commitment to transforming our world.
In this On Being conversation from 2019 Ross Gay addresses how the ephemeral nature of our being allows him to find delight in all sorts of places (especially his community garden). To be with Gay is to train your gaze to see the wonderful alongside the terrible; to attend to and meditate on what you love, even in the midst of difficult realities and as part of working for justice.
So grateful for our friend Peter Miller's cookbook, Five Ways to Cook Asparagus. Made his White Bean Soup and The Chanterelles (page 145) last eve and it was beyond delish!
And finally, if you are in need of a ridiculously cute and hilarious distraction from our current world, get your daily dose of Chunk the Groundhog here:
Gabrielle Hamilton would be the first to tell you that her career and eventual success as a chef didn’t come easy. She started out her illustrious career as a dishwasher at the age of 12 in her hometown in Pennsylvania, but then went to Hampshire College in Massachusetts before returning to food. She moved to New York and started a catering business, which she later sold in 1995 to, as she says, “escape from cooking.” She then pursued a Master's in Fine Arts degree in fiction writing at the University of Michigan to then return to New York City and promptly open her own restaurant, Prune, where her culinary intentions were simple: to serve the foods she wanted to eat at home.
Not long after Prune's opening in 1999, Jane and I were in New York and ventured to her establishment for one evening's dinner. We came upon the tiny space in the East Village, sat down and fell in love. The intimate atmosphere, the brilliant flavors, the authenticity of that night was unforgettable.
an peek into dinner at Prune
Over the years Hamilton has put not only her cooking but also her writing skills to good use. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Bon Appetit, Saveur, and Food & Wine Magazine. Her work has been anthologized in Best Food Writing every year between 2001 and 2006. Hamilton was nominated for Best Chef: New York City by the James Beard Foundation in 2009 and 2010. And in 2011 her first book, an autobiography, Blood, Bones and Butter was published, further proving her to be as gifted with words as she is with food.
To this day, Blood Bones and Butter is one of my all time favorite books. You can purchase your copy here:
And, if you would like to try your hand at one of her incredible recipes:
Last week, she wrote this poignant piece for the New York Times, chronicling the last six weeks as a small business owner/restaurateur in Covid-19 times, "My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore?"
We certainly don't want to think of a world in which there is no Prune, but there is no doubt we will hear more from this incomparable woman.
As the Coronavirus has turned our lives upside down, we’ve continued to search for the silver lining of this time. Everyday seems to be a grab bag of emotions, but in the face of that, we have been so impressed with people’s spirit and ingenuity. One of our favorite things to emerge in Seattle has been the plywood murals all over the city. The vibrancy, hope and optimism represented in each and every one is a reminder that love runs deep, and creativity will not be dimmed.
Oddfellows Cafe, art by Bella Pham, Benjamin Hubbard and Stacy Milrany,
photo courtesy of Linda Derschang
Percey Seattle, art by Katie Kulseth
Tractor Tavern, art by Andrew Miller
Standard Goods, art by Stevie Shao
Ballard Ave, art by Ryan Henry Ward
King's Hardware, art by Parker Dot Studio
Pioneer Square, art by Tara Velan
Seattle Pinball Museum, art by Protective Arts Collective
Bitterroot BBQ, art by Stevie Shao
Pioneer Square, art by Casey Weldon
It is an honor to be part of such an amazingly creative community. We send a big thank you to the businesses and artists that are contributing this heart lifting work in the midst of the pandemic.
If you would like to see more of the artists work that are listed here, check them out on Instagram:
Bella Pham: @sadgrrlz
Stacy Milrany: @milrany_art
Benjamin Hubbard: @ben_busy
Katie Kulseth: @achene.eye
Andrew Miller: @mantisart77
Stevie Shao: @stepfrae
Ryan Henry Ward: @henry_beyond_museums
Parker Dot Studios: @parkerdotstudio
Tara Velan: @yesitstara
Casey Weldon: @caseyweldon
Thank you, Downtown Seattle Association/Metropolitan Improvement District for this beautiful video!
In 2006, while flora and henri was operating solely as a proprietary children’s clothing brand, we were making our tiny parkas in Eastern Canada. This was in the midst of the massive globalization of the garment industry, the effects of which we were seeing at every trade show and hearing about from each of our fabric vendors. So we were sad, but not surprised, when we were informed that the quilter was closing its doors and selling its machines to China.
What to do?
We had much trepidation about joining the global shift to manufacturing this portion of our business in China. There was much stigma at this time behind joining the wave, but we were without North American options. Our conscientious and thorough production manager, found a company that she thought might consider our quantities ‘sampling’ and produce parkas for us. She felt quite certain from her research that they were an ethical production facility and using best practices. We were adamant that we needed to be sure this was a value-sound and reputable business. With her reassurances, we moved forward, and thus, we met Winnie.
While we have never met Winnie face to face, over the past 13 years we have developed a lovely email interaction with a woman who’s labor for us is essentially ‘sampling’, but which she thinks about and struggles to make happen for us despite our small quantities and high standards. She and Amy have been in a dialogue dance from that time forward, creating the cozy performance parkas, now for women and children, that appear each Fall in our shops.
So what does this have to do with Coronavirus?
When we first heard about Covid-19 in China, we reached out to check on Winnie to be sure that all was OK for her. We did not hear back, but knew that she was located outside of the infected areas.
Then, Coronavirus hit Seattle. The articles began to appear in the news that we did not have adequate protective gear for our medical professionals and masks were not being encouraged for civilians. Then we heard from Winnie:
How are you?
I heard from news that corona virus brakes out in US.How are you doing?Is everything ok? Please advise if I can help on any aspect.
I am planning to delivery some masks for you,I guess they are urgently demanded now. As virus is under control in China, it would not be too difficult to get normal masks—disposable civilian masks.Please let me know the quantity you need.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Hope everything goes well with you, your family and your company !
While we have seen irrational discrimination and racism in the US, where the blame for this virus has been placed on the Chinese, here was the person who stepped up to care for our company and families. Despite having just been through the same crisis in her own country, she was thinking of us, her ‘sampling’ order, and taking action to care for us and protect us.
It is with such honor that I post this THANK YOU to Winnie for her generosity and her years of kindness and talented production.
This was her last note to me:
Feel secure to know that the parcel was well received finally!
Hope all of you safe in this crisis!
It is also my honor that could be able to help in masks in some way, plz don’t hesitate if more masks are needed, plz let me know if there are further request!
Best regards to your parents and your family
Winnie, we love you and are so grateful for the concern and kindness you showed to the members of flora and henri and their families. I hope that anyone who ever wears a parka made for us by you will be protected by the love and care that you put into everything you do.
Almost 22 years ago, I walked into the most beautiful store on First Avenue for a job interview. I had just returned from touring a play that had travelled all across Canada and Australia, I was back home in Seattle and needed a day job. My best friend was nannying for a family in Mt. Baker and had mentioned I was looking for work. They referred me to their dear friend’s new business, flora and henri, and the rest is history! Ha! Little did I know when I sat down for that interview that I would work for this company for 22 years, traversing the trials and tribulations of small business, retail and production, and develop a life long friendship with the woman sitting across from me. Over the years, I have done nearly every job in the company, from sales floor to wholesale, from trunk show faciliator to production developer and manager to buyer to handling social media. I have sourced buttons and ribbon from all over the world, established and maintained relationships with fabric makers and factories near and far (Canada, Nepal, Italy, Switzerland, Madagascar, China, and Boliva).
And then, in 2010 while on maternity leave with my second child, I started making jewelry. I had some ideas (my designs are always based on something I want to wear, but can't find) and started sourcing materials, taught myself some skills via trial and error and put together a few necklaces and bracelets. Upon my return to work, Jane loved them and asked me if I would want to sell any at flora and henri, since we had just started expanding our product selection. I was so honored. Hence, OR Jewelry (the initials of my two sons, Otto and Rowan, along with the double meaning of 'gold' in French) was born. It's been a very cool outlet for me-I really love making something that you can wear everyday and endow it with whatever meaning you need so you always have that talisman in your daily life.
Who or what inspires you? Where do you find inspiration?
I find so much inspiration from the act of creating itself. It’s such an interesting thing how energy begets energy and I think this is true for me on a lot of levels, but especially creative work. I come up with some of my best ideas while doing some intricate beading on a necklace. There is something meditative in the repetition that then frees another part of my self and ideas flow through.
I also get so inspired by my family—we are all ‘makers’-my husband Aaron is constantly generating, whether it’s ink drawings or relief prints or sculptures or music. My oldest son, Otto, is such an imaginative thinker, story teller, performer and musician and my youngest son, Rowan, is a really talented visual artist and dancer. There are times in our house where it's like a hive of mad scientists! Also, because my background and training is in theatre, live performance always gets me excited. Whether it be theatre or music. There is something about the energy in a space when something live is happening in real time in front of you—all that collective creativity. It changes the vibrations in the air!
One of my first and forever favorite jewelry designs-the mirror ball necklace
I recently wrote and performed a short theatre piece entitled 'The Treading' with my old friend Mark Boeker (pictured above). We performed it at 12MM at Base Art Space and will be expanding on it to do a longer form version this year--stay tuned!
Aaron photographed with some of his sculpture orbs during a first Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square.
A highlight of the past 3 summers--Otto playing percussion in the Seattle Rock Orchestra at the Moore Theatre.
A recent drawing by Rowan-his favorite thing to draw are eyes.
Each summer the guys and I go to see theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The combination of great theatre and the beautiful surrounding landscape of southern Oregon fills me up every time.
What can you not live without?
A good book to read! It is truly my salvation in this crazy world. I read a lot and a wide variety. From poetry to personal essay to fiction to biography. So, I guess words are a big inspiration for me, too. Currently, I am deep into Rebecca Solnit’s Recollections of My Nonexistence. I love everything she writes. Call Them by Their True Names is another incredible read of hers.
And, she recently wrote this smart, beautiful article in the Guardian
When are you most happy and in balance?
I love down time with my brood. And if we can have unscheduled time together in nature, even better. A couple of summers ago we rented a little cabin on Orcas Island and had such a blast-everyday was a hike of some sort, followed by a jump into the cold waters of Cascade Lake. We cooked amazing meals with local oysters and roasted vegetables right out of the garden, desert was always sun warmed blackberries from the backyard. I fell asleep every night in the happiest fatigued state of being ‘played out’.
The view from the top of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island.
We hiked up to the top of Mount Constitution and then back down-8 miles roundtrip. This is a photo of us when we finished the hike.
Then we jumped into Cascade Lake!
The lovely garden that was the source of our vegetables while on Orcas.
What has this time during 'Stay Home, Stay Safe', social distancing been like for you and your family?
It's been challenging. Every one of us has had a huge range of emotions. And every day there is different information, demanding different actions from us all. The boys are having to 'school from home' (I refuse to call it home schooling, because that would imply that I was running the curriculum-and if I was in charge it would be art class all day everyday!), along with me working from home. I feel a lot of pressure. To keep them on track and motivated, as well as being in tune to their emotional needs. And my own concerns and worry about the world at large, as well as working on anything helpful to keep flora and henri afloat during this unprecedented time. I feel pulled in a lot of different directions and can feel like a ping pong ball some days. Some days are better than others. I read something recently where the person wrote, "our best gets to change everyday" and that really struck me. I'm thinking about that a lot. I've found myself being very quiet and internal, sitting with the discomfort instead of trying to run away from it or problem solve it. The silver lining has been cooking all together and watching movies almost every night.
A day in the life of working and schooling from home-this one sums up the chaos -so glad we have a giant table to encompass all the demands.
If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
Currently, one of my greatest hopes is that we all will be able to travel again...Jane and I were just in Antwerp in January after we had been at Maison et Objet. With all that has happened since, it feels like a lifetime ago… But I loved that city so much and would love to go back and explore it further. There is a great ‘liveability’ (is that a word?) to it—and culturally it is so rich—wonderful architecture, interesting shops, everyone is on bikes and very few people had their attention solely locked on their phones. I know that sounds funny, but it was so noticeable! There truly seemed to be a more grounded, thoughtful pace to life. I also can't help noting that our time in Antwerp was made all the more marvelous because we were there to simply wander and discover. It was a very special time for Jane and I to be able to connect and brain storm without the distractions of our daily lives.
The train station in Antwerp
a sweet cafe
Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp
Shopped at the wonderful Graanmarkt 13
Experienced an unforgettable meal at the restaurant of Graanmarkt 13.
The bar at the Hotel August--a former Augustinian convent, now a modern sanctuary, designed by Vincent Van Duysen.
The lounge at the Hotel Julien
Jane and I love a good, long meal, so this message felt like it was out there just for us!
Winter florals at Baltimore Bloemen.
Nello & Patrache Statue by artist Batist Vermeulen
Favorite item in the store?
I am obsessed with the Paola Paronetto vessels that have just arrived. Jane and I went to Paris in January to attend Maison et Objet and not only were her pieces such stand outs, but the women that were working her booth were so engaging and charismatic. It was so cool to work with them to put together a grouping that was dynamic and beautiful. That is one of the most incredible parts of my job—the people that we work with from artists, to vendors, to representatives to fellow colleagues at f&h! Okay, but back to Paola Paronetto’s work—I really adore that these are both form and function—they are both art object and vessel (fully water tight so you can use them as vases or planters).
Years from now you will be…?
I have this vision of myself with time —I have always sort of had an uneasy relationship with time, always worried there wasn’t enough of it, that I have too much to do, that it’s all going by too quickly…(I've always said I need 8 days in a week, 36 hours in those days-there is just so much I want to do), so I like to envision a future with an easier relationship to time. I love to think of me being in my house, working on an assortment of projects, circulating from one to another: writing, painting, reading, making jewelry. Music always playing, water always on for a cup of tea, door always open for a dear friend to walk through, arms always ready for an embrace.
During this unprecedented time of social distancing, we are finding it more important than ever to have beauty and comfort surrounding us at home. As we often quote from poet John O'Donohue, "Beauty is that in the presence of which we feel more alive." Never has this felt more true than now, watching Spring arrive outside our windows while we protect ourselves and others from an unforeseen threat.
When we decided to expand the flora and henri vision beyond children's clothing, our owner, Jane Hedreen's, natural inclination was to turn toward the unique and artisanal objects that she lives with everyday - a lifetime of curation through travel - which inspire her and bring her joy. They are the objects which color the living and loving within her family and home. Thus, 'Live and Love', our full concept shop curation was born.
I asked her to share her thoughts and some photos of her current favorite pieces 'in situ' from her gorgeous Capitol Hill home.
One of the first items of porcelain I ever purchased was a robin's egg blue Nymphenburg egg by artist Ted Muehling at his other-worldly shop in lower Manhattan (52 White Street, New York, NY). If you haven't been, add it to your list!
It's become a bit of a problem....
I love the places reading takes me. It is always my indulgence of choice when I get the chance to sit down. Every season a new curation of books makes it to the top of our coffee table ... and the bookshelves at flora and henri.
Coffee Table Books: The Octopus Eats It's Own Legs Takasha Murakami,
I like to acknowledge and engage every sense at home. Like my grandmother, who always smelled of Shalimar and who's home had a mix of scents I will never forget, fragrance is so important to me. Between the Santa Maria Novella altar candle in the Melagrano fragrance or the gorgeous cameo diffuser by Cire Trudon, I have, over the years, bestowed my own signature fragrance to our home.
I was very excited to find the organic Haeckles products from England on my last trip to Antwerp. Their new take on a diffuser, using a graffiti carved chalk block that naturally absorbs and diffuses the stunning green fragrance of lavender and cliff grasses, has added to my 'still life in front of still life' in my breakfast room. Each morning I like to drop some fragrance on the cube and take time to breath it in and start my day.
Nymphenburg Chinoiserie (available for special order, please call if interested: 1-888-749-9698)
Everyone collects too much of something, and for me that is houseplants. I can hear them crying out to me with their needs, and its like having a school room of children to contend with. Leaving town is putting their life in jeopardy, but some have been with me for over 15 years. Finding the right pots and a match between the plant and vessel is given far too much consideration.
Everywhere, I like to have something to intrigue and something useful.
This painted Nymphenburg stag never ceases to delight me. It is a precious art object which has watched over every Christmas and Birthday for a generation and connects with friends who come to visit. I love his ease, confidence and happiness in our home.
Nymphenburg Stag (available for special order, please call if interested: 1-888-749-9698)
The kitchen is the place where I try to live by the idea that useful things can be beautiful. Often I am reminded, by their artistry and craftsmanship, to slow down, enjoy that beautiful cup of tea or slice of cheese, trying to not rush through it, but to set a beautiful table and enjoy it. Now more than ever.
The Mariage Freres hammered tea pot has seen us through so many cups of tea shared with friends. It's probably 10 or more years old now and only gets better with time and memories. The Lobmeyr carafe is on the table every night. I love the way your hand fits perfectly around the neck to pour. Subtle perfection.
Love Pot by Mariage Freres (available in store or call to order: 1-888-749-9698)
I gifted the Edward Wohl cutting boards and rack to my exceptional cook/husband this Christmas. Who knew we needed a cutting board rack? But we are both delighted by it and the beautiful upgrade to our boards.
When we bought our new home a few years ago, I had just met Dechem and the beautiful glass designs they were making. I decided to use their lights throughout our hallway spaces. I love the subtle but elegant treatment of light.
For this Spring in the shop, in anticipation of a very different time than where we find ourselves, we purchased a lovely group of vibrant green glass from Nason Moretti, a traditional Murano glass creator. As Italy has faced such horror, I see this glass and offer up a heartfelt thought for the recovery and solace of that nation which has given us so much beauty and craftsmanship.
For now, this is my office, my home, my safe place. Thank goodness we live in a time where we can still connect and share our love with each other in a moment from afar.
I wish everyone safety, health and a chance to hold your loved ones close; slow down and find beauty in your haven. I appreciate our relationship with each and every one of you.