In the summer of 2019, while preparing to open our newest shop at the Marin Country Mart, we were struck by the idea of having an exterior mural above the entrance to the store. We reached out to our dear friend and artist, Kelly Staton, to create something magical (which she did in the blink of an eye)! But who could paint this incredible mural? Kelly introduced us to her friend and artist (and scenic painter, muralist) Steven LaRose, who immediately said yes to the challenge. What transpired was not only a stunning mural, but a lovely friendship between us and Steven. Over the last couple of months, a conversation began about creating some of his original work for an exhibition at flora and henri. And now here we are! We hope you enjoy this special exhibition and that you fall in love with the world of Steven LaRose as deeply as we have here at flora and henri. Read on for Steven's Inner View.
artist statement on the work:
The cluster of paintings that became this suite were made uniquely for flora and henri during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. I chose specific parameters of scale and materials in a controlled attempt to generate objective meaning extracted from bouquets of flowers. The titles became very important. Teresa Sloven is an anagram of Steven LaRose.
THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOU:
Fluid, goofy, and balanced.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Currently, I'm finding inspiration in flowers. In the past however, I’ve been motivated by garage doors, ink blots, and the human figure.
WHAT CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
To say that I could not live without water seemed such an incredibly snarky answer, and yet, I kept coming back to it. I’m a true Pacific Northwest fan of water whether it be solid, liquid, or gas.
WHEN ARE YOU MOST HAPPY AND IN BALANCE?
When a kitten sneezes on my face.
HOW HAS YOUR TIME IN QUARANTINE BEEN? THOUGHTS? PROJECTS? DISCOVERIES?
Quarantine has been like any other artist residency in many ways. This Teresa Sloven body of work is a perfect example.
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
West Seattle. . . ha ha ha, but really, New Zealand , or maybe the Chelsea Hotel in the sixties.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ITEM IN THE STORE?
Caran D’Ache Fluorescent Pink Pencil, Robert McCloskey’s, Blueberries For Sal, Bright Beam Goods Camel Tangram Puzzle.
YEARS FROM NOW YOU WILL BE?
Playing bass guitar for the new old people music.
Steven LaRose lives in Seattle, WA. He received his MFA from the Claremont Graduate University, and a BFA from Whitman College. He has had solo exhibitions in Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, and Ashland, OR. His work has been discussed in the Los Angeles Times, ARTnews, The New Art Examiner, The Chicago Tribune, and on the Internet.
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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.