Beyond Beautiful Things

"An inner garden is a place, deep within each of us, that is a haven for our soul, a mirror for our reflection, and our source of inner light. If we nurture and care for it, our inner garden will gift us with abundance and radiance, like an open blossom facing the sun." - Melanie Birk

Hello and welcome to my first blog post! I am enthusiastic about sharing the colorful collections from my studio, Blue Thistle Arts. This also seems like a great time to share my mission with you. 

While I love making beautiful things, the long-term goal of my studio is bigger and broader. My mission is to encourage women to celebrate, conserve and care for Mother Nature - actually, I want to help women nurture the environment and themselves - to “cultivate their inner garden.”


You are probably thinking: How does she plan to do all this with a few scarves and pillows? You may be wondering: What, exactly, is an inner garden? And you may think I sound like a hippy activist or a naive dreamer. But, honestly, I am neither of these things.

Sure, I like to hug a tree now and then, but I do not believe in speeches, demonstrations or wishful thinking. I believe in two powerful elements that will help us along our path: the energy sparked by genuine inspiration; and the amazing influence of many small actions directed toward a common goal.

Before I say more, let me run (sprint, really) through a few important facts that you probably already know - but let's remind ourselves - whether you are a nature-lover, a suburbanite or a city girl, keep reading!

I am sure you have read that time spent in nature is good for us. Studies have shown that walking through a meadow or just gazing at a flower can lower our blood pressure, ground our perspective and create a sense of wellbeing. Even more dramatic is the effect of trees on our bodies. As they absorb CO2 and emit oxygen, trees and other green plants literally clean our air, helping us breathe. Even indoor plants filter the air, making us feel better.

Our planet is losing trees and plants at an alarming rate - about 90 million acres of forest in the past five years. I find that number shocking, don't you? Even if we all drove electric cars, lived in solar homes, and demolished dirty factories, the earth would still be sitting in a haze of pollution, unless we stop chopping down trees and start planting them. 


But - no lectures. I'm here to celebrate our planet and the power we have as women. We are the nurturers of the human race. We nurture our children, our families, our communities - but what about our mother? THE MOTHER? We can take our cues from her - she is radiant, wise, protective, miraculous - but let's not forget, in the wake of many natural disasters, she is powerful beyond words. And, together, so our we. 

I have no problem starting small. Saving the planet can start with a smile at the sky , or a stroll through a park: with a hand in the dirt, or a foot in a field of wildflowers. It can start in a city, in a high-rise building, in a tiny apartment, with one window, with a view of a brick wall, and maybe a pigeon. It can start with a garden book, a sketch, an orchid on the counter, lavender soap, and a floral pillow. It doesn't take much to kindle that first spark of inspiration. Nature speaks for its glorious self, and through many mediums - from cave drawings and weaving to fine art and film. Nature has inspired human creativity for thousands of years.


Even though many of us are captivated by the outdoors, it can be challenging to jump into "conservation." The word sounds serious and expensive, and there are too many solicitations, acronyms, locations and causes. After a while, the whole world sounds endangered and I can't decide what is most urgent! The environment is a complicated and daunting topic, it's true. But a few small actions go a long way.

Consider this: if half the women in Manhattan bought just one house plant each, helping it flourish, beautify their space and improve their mood - then gave their neighbor a plant, explaining its benefits in the elevator while the building owner or manager happened to be present (I know, not that likely, but let's go with it) - which then led a number of managers to fill their lobbies with plants, and owners to build rooftop gardens for themselves - motivating several adjacent owners to build yet bigger rooftop gardens - well, you get the idea. A small gesture can blossom and grow into a movement - a veritable forest, in fact - making all of us exponentially healthier - especially Mother Earth.

So start small. Give a friend a scarf that reminds her how much she loves tulips - which causes her to buy a bouquet, admired on the train by a neighbor - who plants bulbs that fall for her husband, who smiles happily after a Spring business trip, because the snow is melting and his yard is covered in flowers  - so he cuts a few for his assistant, who is inspired to plant a tulip tree - well, you get the idea.


By the way, if you spend $150 in my online boutique, I will plant a tree on your behalf or mail you a gift tree by partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation. If you spend $250 in my boutique, I will partner with the Arbor Day Foundation to conserve 250 square meters of rainforest on your behalf. What could be better than shopping AND conserving at the same time? Let's start now, and together, care for Mother Earth.

Next Posting: More about Inner Gardens