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15 February 2011

Emily Thompson Flowers: The New Constance Spry

 
 arrangement of Russian olive, passionfruit vine, peonies, pomegranates, scabiosa, nigella by Emily Thompson Flowers

If the words "the new Constance Spry" send your heart racing and palms perspiring then we are soul mates.  Spry's blowsy, neo-romantic floral artistry set the world of flower arranging on its head in interwar Britain, and a Spry creation was as vital to the decor of a Syrie Maugham room as a Marian Dorn carpet.

 Syrie Maugham's own residence in Chesham Place featuring several sprays of Spry

Spry was just as likely to use weeds or kale as a rare hothouse flower, and gave the unorthodox advice in her seminal book Flower Decoration to stroll outside and muster together whatever was at hand.

 

Alas no matter how hard I've tried to make something out of my own backyard bramble, it has never come close to a Mrs. Spry work, and, halleleuiah, now it doesn't have to.

Interior designer Harry Heissmann clued me into the gloriously talented Emily Thompson whose studio is located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo.  There is nothing she enjoys more than crafting a piece for a specific installation and she has worked with Harry several times...

...including for his recent setting at the Winter Antiques Show seen here.

I wasted no time in shimmying down the hill to visit her (or in sending Mr EEE several links to her website).  My friend Christopher who wrote about Spry here came with and we spent a mesmerizing hour with Emily over tea and delicious macarons from Almondine.

 Emily putting the final bloom in my Valentine bouquet

Besides finding inspiration in Spry's oeuvre, Emily is also fascinated by the picturesque writings of William Gilpin whose idea of "The Magnificent Ruin" informs her work.  Just as the English gardens of the 18th century explored the deliberate art of sharawadgi which tries to approximate the beauty of nature by purposefully making things look haphazard, so do Emily's bouquets appear to have grown organically into their current composition.

 

Some have said her work looks like millinery, and indeed Kate Middleton would look smashing wearing one of these mantel adornments on her soon-to-be royal crown.

Emily is an accomplished artist and often applies her hand to clay...


and wax...


in addition to fresh blooms.   This Baroque octopus seascape sculpture/coffee table is reason enough to stop by her studio.

My very own Valentine by Emily Thompson Flowers

57 Jay Street
DUMBO
Brooklyn, NY 
Tel:  323-896-1494

Open  Friday, 1-7, Saturday 1-7, Sunday 1-5 and by appointment.

11 comments:

The Devoted Classicist said...

These carefully structured arrangements that have such a graceful and carefree air are truly beautiful.

Karena said...

I adore the unstructured look with such a variety of foliage and flowers!!

Emily is very creative!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Brillante Interiors said...

The arrangement at the top is exquisite.

Reggie Darling said...

Fabulous! Watch out Plaza Flowers, Watch out Zeze -- there's anew girl in town! Reggie

emily said...

Thank you for your delightful visit! Can't wait to reprise the debate of the wrinkled linens and share more new projects. Stroll on down the hill...

Divine Theatre said...

She has allowed the soul of the flowers to speak...

home before dark said...

Love the flowing asymmetrical lines of the first one, and of the leaves curling inside the vase. Sounds like you have a marvelous visit and look forward to hearing more about Emily's growing talents.

ps Married for 36 years, I have grown a bit more practical: a new 10" Bob Kramer chef knife—well, the steel looks like moire fabric—does that not count on the girly side?

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Home, Be it blooms or Bob Kramers, I think we're on the same page: husbands do prefer to be given specific gift instructions, don't you think?

Devoted and Divine, I couldn't agree more. Emily's arrangements literally make my heart flutter with their poetry.

quintessence said...

Oh I'm in love with the ones on the mantel!! And just gave the Constance Spry book to my sister-in-law for her birthday last week!

Janet said...

Far more ethereal than our books and chocolate! Happy belated Valentine's.

Enzie Shahmiri * Portrait Artist said...

The flower arrangement is lovely, but I have to say I don't care much about the octopus table. Finding a good florist in southern California, specifically Orange County is just about impossible. All the arrangements here seem to look alike.