LOVE HARVEST

photo: Hannah Rindlaub

photo: Hannah Rindlaub

All weddings are inevitably labors of love. But Anna and Jamie’s homegrown celebration  redefined this phrase. My dear friend Anna grew up on an organic vegetable farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Her parents, Judy and Bruce, bought Riverside Farm in the 80s. Here they would share in all the seasons of life; this earth they would turn over again and again with their hands; where their two children would roam wild and learn the value of eating tomatoes like apples and how community in farm country is as important as fertile soil. Judy and Bruce married wading in the river that runs through it.

photo: Hannah Rindlaub

photo: Hannah Rindlaub

I had the honor of wading in this same river the week of Anna and Jamie’s wedding. I got to return to this homestead to help Anna and Judy harvest buckets and buckets and buckets of flowers Judy had started from seed just weeks after the engagement. Amaranth, sunflowers, cress, sage, eucalyptus, poppy pods, sweet annie, queen anne’s lace, echinacea, asparagus foliage, zinnia, lisianthus, spirea, peonies, black cohosh, white finch orlaya. There is palpable sanctity in knowing the journey of each and every bloom I get to design with. More power in knowing the hands that cultivated them did so in the name of her daughter’s love. As we cut and bucketed the heaping swath of amaranth, I asked if I could take their portrait. It was the first time I had really taken in their striking resemblance. The way their laugh lines echo one another’s and the way they carried themselves with such dignified strength. During this pause in the day's work we all were flooded with the deep love these flowers grew from and radiated. It seemed to hang in sky with the late July sun. Weighty but buoyant. 

And during the next few days as those flowers moved through my hands this is what I felt. I hoped that weight and buoyancy would come out in my designs. I hoped they would do Judy’s bounty justice.

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

There were long nights and early mornings in which I undoubtably overtook the couple’s cottage rental (the only cool place on the premise). Buckets took shifts in proximity to the dinky AC unit during the 95 degree weather. During several of my design sessions I had the company of chickens, alpacas, and pups. This was a real farm wedding. And thus full of authenticity. 

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

As the wedding came together all around me, I realized how the flowers were just a small fraction of the homegrown heart this wedding had. All the vegetables served were grown by Bruce and Judy, 150 jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam made by Judy, loaves and loaves of bread and a cake baked by their long time neighbors, live music played by dear friends. And the list goes on.

I recalled a couple days earlier harvesting with Anna and Judy. A few of the supplemental flowers had been cut from neighboring farms in exchange for vegetables. I had asked Judy, “is that pretty typical for the farming community, this sort of give and take.” She responded with, “Oh yes. Farming here is such a precarious endeavor you wouldn’t be able to survive without each other.”

This sentiment seemed to be ringing true in the endeavor of a wedding. Perhaps that’s what a wedding is all about: the growing, the giving and the nourishing that both partners offer one another. And the community that shows up in support of your love. The fertile soil of their faith in you.

photo: Hannah Rindlaub

photo: Hannah Rindlaub

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

photo: Two of Us Photography

Aside from a couple Riverside Farm photos all the imagery was taken by the talented   Two of Us Photography   .    Venue:  The Vermont Wedding Barn   Coordination:  Carly Irion   Catering:  Woodbelly Pizza   Cake:  Madelyn Emers   Band:  Chris Jacobs + Friends

Aside from a couple Riverside Farm photos all the imagery was taken by the talented Two of Us Photography.

Venue: The Vermont Wedding Barn

Coordination: Carly Irion

Catering: Woodbelly Pizza

Cake: Madelyn Emers

Band: Chris Jacobs + Friends

WHAT DO YOU DO?

OndineABotantBasedDesignStudio

I am sure many of you have watched Ondine morph and evolve over the past three years unwed to a specific trade or title. Wearing a few too many hats. It’s irritating I know. Bad for business, most definitely. When I catch fright at the question, “what do you do?,” I know it’s time to get my story straight.

I was one of the lucky ones and knew I wanted to be an artist as soon as I left the womb and landed in my mother’s hands. Hands so capable of creation sometimes I think she created my hands just to make through me. A seamstress, a jeweler, an assemblage sculptor, a painter, and a poet. So the apple fell. I have bounced around medium to medium my entire existence and enjoy bouncing. I have always learned with my hands and have always wanted to keep learning. Organic material however seems to be my constant. And one that I know I will keep learning from.

My first job beyond my three months as an ice cream scooper was working for a gardener. I spent eight seasons gardening and each season brought new knowledge and new plants and blooms to venerate.

Ondine began as a need to bring creation into a career. It began as a desire to tell a story. A desire to create sacred space. A desire to cultivate marvel and harvest presence. And a desire to grow. Over the past three years these worlds, my art background and my botanical background have morphed into one to define the finally honed but ever evolving Ondine.

WE ARE A BOTANY-BASED DESIGN STUDIO. —And by we I mean myself and hopefully my future team of employees when I make it big but for now just a facade/manifesting of this business of mine being bigger than myself— We offer floral design and styling for events, accounts and photoshoots in Seattle and beyond. As well as interior plant design and styling for residential and commercial spaces. We bring the outside in.

And I am so damn grateful for the work that we do.


DRIFT WOOD

ONDINEdriftwood

Driftwood seems like an intrinsic love, having grown up on an island and a boat. All the people I love dearly are weathered soft by the sea. I think I come back to it again and again as a medium because it reminds me of our bones. How one day we will all be the same, softened by time. Only our most elemental lines preserved. And then my driftwood endeavors cause me to saw through a piece and I am able to identify a limb just by the smell of the saw dust. And I’ll jump about like I have cracked open a geode at the scent of balsam fir. These are the things I muse about.

Driftwood. Old bones. Salt licked. Sun stripped. Out to sea. I love you. I have always loved you. And I’ll keep loving you again and again.

BIG LOVE

OndineDesignStudioGunnera2.jpg
OndineDesignStudioGunnera.jpg
OndineDesignStudio
OndineDesignStudio

Everything about the Pacific North West, including my love for the place, is big. Perhaps that is why my love took hold. The simple magic of feeling small. The Gunnera, its emblem. Grandiose, prehistoric, botanical gluttony. This series is an ode to that big time love. Getting mesmerized, enchanted, perhaps even swallowed whole as I fall forever in love.

LADY SLIPPER

Lady Slipper- Ondine

One of my earliest memories with flowers was finding a sole lady slipper filled with light in the woods in our backyard. I knew magic when I saw it even at age five and my response was to pluck it. I bounded into our kitchen with the bloom cupped in my hands as a gift for my mother. Her response was a gasp and a stern scolding. I learned the New England dogma regarding the endangered orchid. I had plundered our Maine woods. Maybe it was my own dose of karma, but I hadn’t seen one of these flowers since that morning at age five until this June. My dear childhood friend took me on a trail behind her house. Every step you took you saw another dozen. I am still learning not to pluck all the things that are magnificent in this world. But to take the time even if you’re being malled by mosquitos to plunder with the eyes.

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FLOWER FREAK

floral freak -ondine.co

And so beings my Flower Freak series… If you’re a freak like me and blooms are busting out of your hands, head, and heart do reach out and let me take your portrait. Also if you have any flowers in all phases of life and death you would like to offer up to this project I would be forever grateful.

ODE TO THE WREATH

Ondine Wreath

What is a wreath? An emblem of home, of hearth, of merriment. A circle; the primordial shape. A portal to the woods, to the over-grown alleys, to my mother-in-law’s garden. Wreaths are for the meanderers, who quicken at life gone-to-seed. Wreaths are for those that don’t see bracken as browned and brittle but it’s dried curves as the meridian of their final dance. Wreaths are a final dance. I have been weaving bits of botanicals together this season in this form almost daily. I let the materials tell me how they want to move and let them hold themselves together. I have shed wire, glue, and rings in this work. A reminder that all we ever need is our natural world…

WAITING TO LAND

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Most know me as a home body, and yes I like curling up with my cat and my morning coffee ritual. But more than anything, every fiber of my being craves putting my roots down. Digging in. This past July I moved deeper into the PNW and landed on Bainbridge Island, WA. Having grown up on an island, albeit off the coast of Maine, in some ways I was going back to my roots. There have been moments where low tide and Rosa Rugosa stop me in my track. The sound of blue berries dropping into an empty paper cup, roadsides lined with queen ann's lace and red wing black birds keeping pace with my bike. These are the times where all thoughts of doubt and lonesomeness are stilled. And then there are moments when the slightest change in current, perhaps getting someones voicemail instead of their voice, throws me off course.  I am learning to trust the fluidity of not being embedded in the earth. I am trying to remember that the season of the in between is how one should approach every chapter whether or not the discomfort is front and center. These are the times we grow into our stronger, more knowing selves.

MY ANGEL WING BEGONIA

Angel Wing Begonia, Wandering Jew, Staghorn Fern Kokedama

Angel Wing Begonia, Wandering Jew, Staghorn Fern Kokedama

As you may have heard I am in the midst of a transition. Uprooting from the sagebrush and tumbleweeds of Bend, OR to be amongst the moss clad branches and blackberry brambles on Bainbridge Island, WA. I have come to know just how much this dusty high desert soil can nourish. Perhaps it's not the land as much as its people that have helped me grow.

 One of those lovely people has gifted me an arm from her prosperous Angel Wing Begonia. Her Angel Wing has quadrupled in size and split off into mason jars scattered across town. I will hold this one dear. A reminder of its OG Angel, the only girl who brings the fixings for deviled eggs to the park (paprika and all) and makes them right before you on her picnic blanket. The woman who rips down the ski slop in a prom dress, and demands you get the hot pink rubber clogs at your favorite thrift store.

This Angel Wing is also a reminder, like many propagated plants, that not only will I be okay without earth beneath me, I can grow roots wading in water.