Maker Series: A Q&A with Nectar & Root
We recently spent an afternoon in the company of Erin, owner of Nectar & Root. Erin is a destination wedding floral designer based in Winooski, Vermont. We had the pleasure of learning about her business, work ethic, and inspiration while getting a peek at her gorgeous studio space.
Tell us about Nectar & Root! Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a destination wedding floral designer based in Winooski, Vermont.
Why do you like making floral arrangements? How did you first start?
I love working in such an ethereal, earthy medium. The impermanence and origin of flowers are a celebration of the specific place and time of their blooming. And they universally make people so happy. I always loved flowers, but I started my career by taking a summer program at the New York Botanical Gardens.
In what ways does living in Vermont influence your work and process? What’s it like to be a maker in a small state like Vermont?
I’m completely influenced by the climate and the local flowers and foliage that grow here. I love to buy product from nearby farms and to forage. More recently, I’ve started growing my own flowers again too. Having harsh winters here means that my hands-on work season virtually comes to a halt December - April. Having an offseason is a great way to stay caught up with the rest of my boring business tasks, and it’s a great time for me to hibernate, reflect and set intentions for the coming wedding season. Being in a small state is a wonderful way to get support and encouragement for the work that I do from peers and other local folks in the community whom I’ve crossed paths with professionally.
What inspires your aesthetic and style?
Setting: the time and place where a particular wedding is happening, the clothes and individual features of a particular bride and groom, and the time of year. I’m also influenced by discovering new flowers, art, music, and films.
What was the biggest lesson you ever learned from failure?
Keep going and don’t give up! Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Tell us what connection and gathering looks like for you?
What value does it hold? Gathering for me is an eclectic treasure hunt of sorts each day prior to putting together wedding flowers for a client. I gather from other local growers, antique shops, fields and makers to create designs that are perfectly unique from one event to the next. At a wedding, flowers encourage people to gather together in celebration. They create a community of joy in the same way that I create a community around all of the local businesses I support in my weekly shopping field trips.
How do you connect to our Vermont Farm Table products? Why do you they stand out to you?
The first time I saw a Vermont Farm Table in person, it had the most unique and natural floral display on it. A tall clear vase held amaryllis still on the bulb and boughs of greenery and roots. I was struck by how unfussy yet exquisite of a picture it made. I continue to enjoy Vermont Farm Table products in the way that they feel authentic and driven by native, gorgeous materials as the base of what they inhabit.
How would you plan on using our product in your space?
I would continue using a Vermont Farm Table to create sample design mockups for clients to see in person. A long time ago, I told myself I would only design wedding centerpieces that I would want to enjoy on my own dinner table. Having a Vermont Farm Table at the studio would be a perfect reminder of that inspiration, for me.
What do you do when you fall into a creative rut?
Usually when I fall into a creative rut, it’s because I’m run down physically or emotionally. I try to raise my vibrations by recharging through rest, a change of setting, time with friends, and immersing myself in other art forms.
How do you approach being a maker in the digital age?
I try to use technology to my advantage as much as possible. Having client software management programs, automated scheduling apps and other online systems helps free up more personal time for me to be creative, recharge, and focus on what inspires me most.
How important is tradition in your field? What are your values as an artist?
Tradition is the constant push and pull in my industry as a wedding floral designer. My work is grounded in the tradition of marriage, which holds many smaller traditions within it as far as weddings go. I often work with couples who take pleasure in picking and choosing which traditions they want to uphold, and which ones don’t feel right to them. I’m a very old fashioned person, and I love that my field is one based in a traditional art form. I often value tradition over trends, and creativity over conventionality.
What are some of your creative influences?
I love bringing weekly floral arrangements to Rhoan in Winooski during the summer. Seeing all of the beautiful clothing and colors at the shop always inspires me, and it’s a fun time to be carefree with flowers without the pressure of performing for a wedding. I’m also inspired by larger brands like Anthropologie, and quiet moments at my house when I arrange my favorite vintage finds on a shelf.
Anything else you want to add?
I feel very lucky to continue reaching for work that I love to do. Thanks for letting me reflect on that today!