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June 20, 2014

Features

Marble + Milkweed

Meet Briar Winters, the talented lady behind Marble + Milkweed. Briar makes small batch botanical apothecary products out of her TriBeCa studio space and is an accomplished pastry chef to boot. We caught up with Briar to get the details on her process, inspiration and mutual love for chocolate. 

I Make...botanical apothecary products: skin care, natural fragrance and teas with a commitment to using high quality organic and ethically sourced raw materials.

First maker memory...I grew up watching food be made from scratch in the kitchen, and my dad built our family a house by hand when I was very young.

Makers that inspire you...I love following the work of the many talented ceramicists and textile artisans at work both here in New York City and father afield.

If you weren’t making botanical apothecary blends, you’d be farming or gardening professionally, growing herbs and flowers, or making chocolate.

Favorite tool of the trade...It isn't that romantic, but I couldn't live without my digital scale for measuring ingredients out precisely. I also love my small collection of vintage silver spoons that I use to mix up everything from balms and butters to batches of tea.

Material(s) you want to work with...In the next year or so, I'm hoping to delve into the art and craft of distilling plant material. I'd love to learn how to produce some of my own hydrosols directly from the plants themselves.

Top Places to Source...The ingredients I use come from all over the world, depending on where each plant grows best. I work with a few trusted companies that bring in oils and essences from all over and test them carefully for purity and authenticity. Getting to know the subtle differences in plant material grown in different places is one of the most interesting parts of my work. Roses are a favorite example of this, those that come from Bulgaria, Morocco, Turkey and India all have different characters and are good for different applications.

Something you wish you could make...I always wish I were a bit handier around the house. I'd love to have the skill and patience for that. 

Favorite snack of choice....dark chocolate

Scent plays a large roll in beauty products, which herbs or plants do you like using most for they're scent? Rose & cardamom are two of my very favorites, but there are really too many to name! I find that each season has its own scents, and I like to try to follow that a bit in my work. Right now I'm thinking a lot about cool, green floral scents for summer, but come Autumn, I'll be ready to embrace warmer, spicier scents. Scent can be a powerful way to find a sense of place and time.

This month our subscribers are making their own lip balm with beet root extract. What would you suggest to add to lip balm for a nice tint? Infusing the base oils with beet, hibiscus or alkanet root powder can help give the tint a little extra color. Though it is important to note that beet and alkanet will give the tint a slightly earthy scent, and hibiscus has a tart, fruity edge. All part of the pleasure of working with real plant material!

What's next for Marble and Milkweed? I'd just like to put it out there that I'd love to get involved in some fruitful collaborations this year and next. I'm just beginning the process of working with several local farmers to source plant material for my products, and I'm looking forward to seeing where that takes me.

 

Thanks Briar! Make sure to check out Marble + Milkweed online and follow her on Instagram @marbleandmilkweed.