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