BRIAR WINTERS OF MARBLE & MILKWEED
As a pastry chef, Briar Winters is obsessed with sourcing ingredients, creating recipes and designing menus. This type of dedication to measuring and formulation made for a natural transition into her venture Marble & Milkweed, a TriBeCa-based micro-apothecary (and all-around inspiring brand). Using raw materials such as witch hazel and apricot kernel oil, Winters creates handcrafted concoctions like her Forrest Facial Tonic and Nourishing Body Oil, respectively, to nurture the skin and soul. [caption id="attachment_4892" align="aligncenter" width="316"] Portrait by Christine Han[/caption] [read_more] Growing up in rural Washington State, Winters was immersed in nature as child and carried this love for the natural world all the way to her tenement apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Since moving to New York, Winters continuously looks for ways to be outdoors and to create a peaceful sanctuary in her home. “I am so inspired by living in New York City, but my desire to bring the practice of slow living to my life in the city is absolutely a product of my rural upbringing,” she says. “Marble & Milkweed is inspired by beautiful raw materials, dreams of far-away places and a desire to share what I’ve discovered about taking care of myself simply and sustainably.” “We all come here with work to do,” says Winters, who between baking and concocting sessions also finds time to work as a tea consultant, community gardener and seasonal honey bee farmer on Long Island with her chef sweetheart. “I think the most important thing is an eagerness to be of service. When I’m looking for a sense of direction, or if I’m making a big decision, I always come back to this. I want to evolve, to embrace change, to love freely and to be of service.” Below Winters shows us how she lives with meaning. on BATHING Spending time in the bathtub is a crucial self-care ritual and definitely inspires the ethos behind Marble & Milkweed. It’s a way to slow down, to allow oneself to be surrounded by the primordial medium of water (I’m a Pisces!) and to be both physically and energetically cleansed. Sometimes I’ll bring a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Sometimes a book, a notebook or The New Yorker. Or sometimes, nothing at all -- just me, the warm water and the sound of the street below. When I was hunting for an apartment, I became infatuated with finding one with a bathtub in the kitchen and was lucky enough to move into one on the Lower East Side. That was eleven years ago. The bathtub sits in the center of the main room, next to the kitchen sink and the oven. It’s really the centerpiece of the house, making it easy to hop in whenever the mood strikes. on CONNECTING I think we all crave more of a personal touch amidst all of the mass-produced items we’re confronted with every day. I think people truly want to make meaningful connections with the people who make their products. The potential for that connection inspires me to do good work. It’s also so healing to connect with the natural cycles of the season, which is why I love to garden. To plant something, nurture it and then to have the great fortune of being sustained by it as a medicine, a meal or just for the sake of beauty. Plus gardening is great exercise and a marvelous way to meet your neighbors and create community. on STYLE I keep it simple and streamlined. Coclico’s approach to creating modern classics with thoughtful details makes them a great fit for the way I approach my wardrobe. Sometimes I’ll go from the kitchen to the studio to a garden meeting and then to dinner with friends all in the course of one day, so whatever I’m wearing needs to be comfortable and versatile. I find myself attracted to the combination of a loose, flowing element paired with something a little more structured for balance. Comfort, natural materials and excellent craftsmanship are crucial. I’m a believer in buying less and buying things that will last both in terms of their materials and their style. on SUSTAINABILITY I feel an enormous responsibility to do the right thing by our planet. With a commitment to using raw materials grown with care for the earth and without pesticides and avoiding plastic as much as possible, I’ve built sustainability into my business from the beginning. I believe that we all have the responsibility to do whatever we can to reduce our ecological impact and I’m constantly looking for ways to do this both at home and at the studio. on BEAUTY My beauty routine is as simple as possible. Before bed I cleanse with my Nourishing Facial Balm or Cleansing Grains and finish with a spritz of facial tonic and a few drops of serum. After a good night’s sleep (always at least 8 hours!) I often just use a swipe of facial tonic on a cotton ball or cleanse with my cleansing nectar. Once a week, I like to add a facial steam and masque to my routine. on THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT The Butterfly Project is a NYC-based organization whose goal is to educate urban gardeners and community organizations about the importance of pollinators and how to attract them by gardening with native plants. I’ve been going to their events here in the city for the last few years with friends from my community garden. I’ve decided to donate to them through Marble & Milkweed because my business, and all our lives, depend so much on the wellbeing of ecosystems in the natural world.