Emily Thompson Flowers

Emily Thompson is a sculptor turned florist whose understanding of beauty is unmatched.  Emily and I first met last December when Peter and I asked (begged!) her to provide the flowers for our wedding.  We were lucky she could pencil us in - she had just decorated The White House for Christmas!  And the Obamas are in excellent company: her arrangements and wreaths have graced the cover of Martha Stewart Living and the pages of Vogue.  I was lucky enough to spend a recent morning with Emily to talk Valentine's Day and to poke around her treasure trove of a flower shop.

Emily doesn't just arrange flowers.  She sculpts them.  Watching her in her studio is really watching an artist at work.  "Let's make Peter a boutonniere," she suggested.  I squealed and lamented the fact that people so often forget about the simple exquisiteness of a boutonniere.  "I tell everyone they can make 'em look like Cary Grant," she said.  I agreed.  She started with a tiny rosebud and worked around her studio, snipping a little bit of this and that, discarding a bit of roving fern for a bit of leucothe.  She gave this little item so much attention and care, it's no wonder it turned out so beautifully, pictured below wrapped in gold velvet ribbon and resting in a real bird's nest (she has a forager).  She packaged it up for me in a nest of wild spirea, a wild looking branch that we used in my wedding bouquet.  

Peter's boutonniere: picotee ranunculus, leucothoe, red piano rose bud.

Walking around Emily's studio is such a treat.  There is gorgeousness everywhere, literally in every nook and cranny.  But most noticeably in large vases which take their post at the front of the shop.  Emily's philosophy comes through in all of her work, and in the way she works, too.  She mentioned that her cooler was tiny and that she kept most of her beautiful buds out in the shop (seen pictured below).  She said she believes in working with things that are alive.  Coolers often keep flowers beyond their expiration date, so their prettiness isn't really real the way a live flower is and won't last long anyway.  Aside from being completely taken with Emily and her points of view, I love the idea because it means that visitors (like me!) can peep the gorgeousness in person and not behind glass.

Red Francois Raballais Roses - available this week for Valentine's Day arrangements.

...and if pink is your hue, try these Maria Theresa roses, also available this week.

Emily's formal education and training is in sculpture.  When I asked her how she learned about flowers, gardening and botany, she said she is completely self-taught.  She has a collection of vintage gardening books, like this aptly named "How to do the Flowers" (her favorite).  And she says that nothing beats the education a gal gets from experience (is anyone else in awe about how difficult is must be to keep so many things alive).

In addition to the boutonniere, Emily sent me away with a bouquet that she just 'whipped up', and happens to be the most beautiful arrangement of flowers I've received, second only to my wedding bouquet and the Emily Thompson arranagement I received at my office last Valentine's Day (courtesy of Peter).  Again, she just floated through her studio, finding elements that I didn't even notice were there, and working them into an arrangement whose colors and shapes were surprising as she put them together and completely beautiful.  She also has the most gloriously luxurious collection of ribbons.  It was all I could do not to steal them when she wasn't looking.  

Emily with my bouquet!

Emily Thompson Flowers provides a variety of custom services including weddings, events, corporate deliveries, and most importantly this week - personal arrangements.  Call (347) 529.5145 to place an order.  


PS - Head back to the homepage for a slideshow featuring even more ETF studio shots! x.