It’s a dream when our clients trust us to create florals deeply inspired by place and season. When Holly and Sarah asked us to participate in their wedding at Scribe Winery we couldn’t have been more thrilled. It’s a place with soul, with heart, with time worn details and new life, with magical light and a historic Spanish-style Hacienda and rolling vistas. Holding that place in our minds and channeling Holly and Sarah’s gracious, loving spirits we created in celebration of summer in Northern California.
Trust, faith, and confidence can go a long way in relationships and also in planning a wedding. Franchesca and Che exude these qualities. They booked the modern loft space, The Pearl before it was finished, based on renderings alone. They trusted their team to be inspired by the space and create installations and moments that reflected a contemporary, fresh and fun gathering. Rito-ito was thrilled to have the couple’s trust and confidence to create flowers for their special day. We’re honored the full wedding was recently featured on Brides! Check out the full details here
There are many things to love about Cala, Gabriela Cámara’s restaurant in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. They include: trout tostadas, perfectly pickled onions and chilies, an incredible selection of mezcal, the fact the restaurant goes out of its way to employ formerly incarcerated individuals who are rebuilding their lives, and the energy and vision Cámara’ herself brings to every detail. One of those beloved details is the Oaxacan, hand-built, custom, ceramic light fixtures that radiate pebbles of light throughout the space.
Recently Cala hosted an event to bring awareness to ceramic artisans and craft-women of Oaxaca, Mexico. The event aimed to share their knowledge and talent and ask the community to support the vital expression of culture. Designers and community activists, Collectivo 1050 shared their insights from working with the women throughout Oaxaca and their experience with a rich history of ceramics. Gabriela Cámara’, Alice Waters, and Steven Satterfield were invited to talk about their experience with food culture, craft, and holding strong to values that may seem in peril.
Cámara’ spoke about growing up in Mexico City and remembering the effects of the devastating earthquake in 1985. With physical ruin, infrastructure collapse and tragedy, it could have been remembered as bleak time. Instead she recalled, in the wake of the disaster, the ways the shortcomings of an authoritarian government gave rise to a new community activism, progress and even political revolution. With the destruction, came a sense that anything was possible. It was from this place, she talked about standing up for what is right, and holding on to the light especially in dark times.
I was honored to be able to provide flowers to both Alice Waters and Gabriela Cámara’ as part of the event that day. I created for them a mix of the most radiant blooms even during a dark winter. Each time I have the opportunity to visit Cala, I’m inspired by those lights.
Thanksgiving Centerpiece + Chemex Brew Class
Tuesday November 22, at Blue Bottle Morse
5-7pm TICKETS $125/person
Learn to create your own centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. Color, form, texture, and beautiful botanicals, celebrating the fall season will be topics of exploration. Each participant will have a centerpiece to take home. No experience necessary. While building your work of art, enjoy a Chemex demo with Decaf Noir. And bring home a 1/2 lb. bag of Decaf Noir for your gathering.
Holiday Wreath Making + Pour over
Sunday December 4, at Blue Bottle Webster Street
1pm-3pm TICKETS $75/person
Join for a hands-on class on modern wreath making. A variety of seasonal, textural, wild, materials will used and we will play with shape, scale and color and the idea that wreaths do not have to be traditional. Each participant will have a finished wreath to take home and enjoy all season long. Plus learn to brew using the same method Blue Bottle Coffee uses in cafes and take home an envelope of Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground.
Kokedama + Pour over
Saturday December 10, at Blue Bottle Morse
2pm-4pm TICKETS $40/per person
We'll gather for a hands-on class making Kokedama, moss covered hanging plants. These playful, quirky plants are a perfect gift for any interior space. Learn the technique, and take home your finished Kokedama. Plus learn to brew using the same method Blue Bottle Coffee usese in cafes and take home an envelope of Blue Bottle Perfectly Ground.
Creating Modern Rituals: A holiday workshop with Katie Powers Catering
Wreath making, specialty cocktails, dinner and entertaining inspiration!
Wednesday, November 30 at SummerSchool 1217B Fell St. San Francisco
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM TICKETS $180/person
Join us for an intimate evening as we share some new holiday rituals and encourage you to create your own!
Part I: Modern Wreath Making – Demonstration and hands-on making
Part II: Holiday Cocktail How-To – Demonstration and tasting
Part III: Family-Style Winter Feast – thoughtfully prepared, seasonal sit down dinner to enjoy
Part IV: Pocket Guide – tips and suggestions for beautiful holiday hosting
I have a favorite field in the open spaces in Marin, near my house. It is enclosed by trees and brambles and it has a kind of secret garden feel when you enter. But rather than manicured or planned, its wild and overgrown with native herbs, grasses, wild roses, buckeye, eucalyptus, and oak.
On a recent afternoon walk with the dogs, I noticed the changing light, the colors and the signs of fall. Inspired by the textures and amber colors, I foraged a few things (wild sage, rose hips, and oak) and added flowers from the studio (ranunculus, dahlias, and french tulips) to make a quick spontaneous arrangement, marking that autumnal afternoon.
Growing up in Marin, I was surrounded by people collecting pelican and hawk feathers, small smooth stones, sea-finds, special leaves, and other found trinkets. It was an almost unnoticed ritual that accompanied any walk in nature. These objects would make their way onto informal altars of sorts. Altars to nature were made on bookshelves, dashboards, window sills and were added to over time. These were the collections that made dusting hard, but seemed of value. They taught me the importance of small treasures and appreciating beauty in the bits as you discover them.
The ritual of collecting worn stones, and special shells helps you slow down, take in all the textures, patterns and forms, hidden below a quick glance in the wild. The collections provide a reminder to the beauty of the outside world, once back home amidst the more prevalent human made objects, artifacts and clutter.
On a recent trip to Muir Beach, the protected yet rugged little beach close to our house, I gathered some new beach objects and added some long-held. I created an altar to the natural world, to good spirits and to to treasure. Inspired by the beach outing and by the energy of the Pacific, the wind whipping, and the fog creeping, I created an arrangement full of movement and texture. In contrast to the washed out grey of the beach that day, the flowers celebrate vibrant color and early fall.
My partner, Max, introduced me early on, to a ritual that now crops up at our house multiple times a week. It was a term he started saying while he poured a glass of sparkling wine, or brought out a block of cheese. And like learning a new language, you say it too for a while until the full meaning really sinks in. “Change of day” at its simplest meaning, refers to a small pre-dinner snack sometimes involving a sip of wine or cocktail. It’s never elaborate, but it is considered – the best, simple ingredients – cheese, fruit, olives, roast nuts, cured meats – may make an appearance.
In a deeper way, it always refers to a resetting, a time when the happenings of the day are suspended and left until tomorrow, when the light is changing, and night-time is coming. A change from the outward focus with the world, to inward with family. It feels like a tiny piece of an old-world culture brought into our modern house. We could be in Italy, Spain, France for those 20 minutes. Sometimes we talk, sometimes an article is read. It is a moment to shift the mood, appreciate the dusk hour, each other and transition.
As rituals develop over time, and gestures reflect those participating, I add a simple arrangement of flowers to the change of day routine. It is a gesture that brings awareness and beauty to our space, and elements of nature to our home. For this late summer change of day, I used garden roses, dahlias, and geum. These vibrant flowers quickly fill the room with bold color and faint sweet aromas.
The great thing about making rose petal jam, is the way the roses perfume the air as they heat up, steam, steep, and boil. A single rose can give off complex aromatic notes, from floral, to citrus, to cloves, to honey, to tea. The result is an enveloping sensation that causes one to pause and breathe deeply for a moment and acknowledge something special is transpiring.
Rito-ito + Chris Kallmyer
In collaboration with artist, Chris Kallmyer, Rito-ito created a rose installation at San Francisco Symphony's SoundBox. It consisted of 3 parts: a rose petal jam tableau (for a live recording of the sounds of jam making), a large arrangement to accompany the violinist, and a small arrangement to anchor the space.
The recent show, titled, Obsession & Creation produced by LA group Chromatic, provided an evening to explore art, sound, performance, video and flowers. Kallmyer envisioned an installation as an homage to experimental composer and musician Harry Partch. The installation would highlight one of Partch’s loves: gardening and rose petal jam at his home in Petaluma and one of his hates: Bach. He asked if Rito-ito would participate and I jumped at the chance to create something with roses in an unexpected arena.
Kallmyer and I harvested 3 types of roses for the performance. 2 grocery bags full of rose heads and petals. We arrived at the farm at 6AM, the morning dew still on every petal, the fog lifting off the Sonoma Valley in Healdsburg. We had to be there early because roses retain their most fragrance when cold, after a long night of low temperatures. As they warm up they give off their scent. It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by roses on a cold morning and smell nothing, only later to be blown away by their scent as they rise in temperature.
The first rose, a soft magenta color, flat in shape and ruffled with petals was the Kazanlik, from Bulgaria. The rose is prized for its floral, woodsy scent that makes much of the world’s rose water and rose oil when distilled.
The second rose, a deeper redder pink, and a large specimen was the Souvenir de Claudius Denoyel. A rose from France and cultivated in the 1800s known for its sweet citrusy smell.
The third rose, a variety that greeted us in the dirt parking lot, called Gertrude Jekyll is an English variety known for its old rose fragrance.
As we drove away and the sun warmed the car, the smell of the three roses started to emerge. We would later find it was a fraction of what we’d experience in the orchestra pit of the SoundBox. A space seemingly devoid of smell, its massive concrete beams and pillars, the sterile but highly technical sound equipment ready to delight the crowd – its vacuous space would later be filled with the sweetest, romantic, heady scent of roses.
The 2 bags of petals we harvested would amount to 2 drops of rose oil if we were distilling it. Rose oil is worth more than gold per ounce. And for the performance those two bags of rose petals amplified an experience of delight and intrigue that perfumed and set the stage for an unexpected special evening.
Black is the liaison which connects art and fashion
—Yves Saint Laurent
The Color Black, in Flowers
The color black has a long and symbolic history in art, culture, and power. Black can represent darkness, evil, magic, mourning, authority, law, secrecy, misfortune, falsehood, illegality. Black has another side; elegance, sophistication, solemnity, functionality, and authority.
I am drawn to this duality of black. On the one hand, black can be defined as the absence of all light and all hue—an absolute nothingness. On the other hand, a black pigment can also be defined as the appropriate mixture of all pigments—a total amalgamation.
Since 1984, The de Young Museum, in San Francisco, has hosted an annual Bouquets to Art exhibit, pairing floral designers with the permanent collection to interpret a work of art through botanicals. The 2016 florists were already chosen, however I decided to participate anyways, and I created a floral installation as an interpretation of the piece of art I look at every morning, Make Black, a print by Shaun O’Dell.
Make Black, 30 1/8" x 21 3/4", an etching from 5 aquatint plates by Shaun O’Dell. His piece was made during a residency at Island Press in St. Louis in fall 2013. I’m drawn to the piece for many reasons: its bold use of nuanced color, the way it shows process, and the slow patience required to execute the work.
I have always been sensitive to, and curious about color. My senses are soothed and uplifted when I experience moments in the world of pleasing color harmonies. I am often drawn to dark, moody, full-bodied color with intensity, depth, and saturation. I always get excited by the bold and rich colors nature provides.
I remember drawing with my father as a child. We would look out into nature– the hills in Marin– and he would say, “See how many shades of green there are. There are purples, and blues, and oranges, and reds, and blacks in all those greens.” His drawings would be alive with contrasting and complimentary color, even though we were just looking at a swath of green trees. Its with this lens I look at Make Black and interpret its color through black calla lilies, plum branches, and willow all naturally occurring in their dark hues.
Contemporary Art & Flowers
Contemporary art and flowers are both luxuries, aesthetic pursuits, and at times, seem trivial in the big picture. However, I have spent much of my life in both worlds, and am fortunate to do so. Lately, I have been thinking about how flowers and art fit together. I was enchanted to read a recent NY Times article about a contemporary art gallery and flower shop pairing in London. I immediately felt a kindred spirit.
I think it's possible black is the liaison which connects art and flowers.
Rito-ito had a great time popping up at Erica Tanov for Valentine’s Day weekend and loved sharing our floral designs with the public. I was honored to be hosted by such a beautiful and thoughtful host and are grateful to all who came out to support Rito-ito. Thank you.
I wanted to share a few images of the pop-up event here:
Marin Country Mart Set Up
With ceramicist, Takashi Fukuda
Detail, Marin Country Mart
Berkeley, Set Up
Detail, Berkeley Set Up
Erica Tanov and staff, Max La Riviere-Hedrick, Nicholas Franco, Wendy Stamm, Stacy Boyington, Takashi Fukuda, and Mike Costifas for your support making the pop-up a success.