Summer Solstice Flower Power with Entriken
Katherine Carothers is an artist with many passions—fashion, sculpture, and photography, to name a few—but her eye for the art of floral arrangement has resulted in opening her own Brooklyn-based studio. Utilizing all of her interests, Entriken Studio produces an array of floral work that exudes Katherine’s spirit and charm—and The Montauk Beach House is lucky to experience that this summer. I sit down with the floral virtuoso to discuss the floral crowns she’ll be making at the MBH this Saturday and what it is about Montauk that piques her interest.
Give me a little background on Entriken Studio. What’s the story leading up to its inception?
Entriken is my grandmother Jeanie’s maiden name. She was a watercolorist and my favorite works of hers were her flowers paintings. The name Entriken is my homage to her and her love of botanics that was passed down to me.
I grew up in sunny California combing the beaches bare foot and freckled, jumping off bridges, having bon fires and flower picking with my friends, fellow salty haired little ladies. We were always picking up found objects (shells, rocks, frogs, wild flowers growing at the edge of the shore) and taking them home to create little collages. Growing up by the the beach can be so magical so when I moved to New York it was super exciting and fun, but I knew I was missing something.
In the winter of 2009 I interned with Saipua, a florist and soap maker in Brooklyn. It was one of the dreariest January’s that I have ever experienced since moving to this concrete jungle. It was dark and depressing. I had a kind of spiritual longing and needed a breath of fresh air and some beautiful blooming nature in my life. Walking through the blizzardy mess into a beautiful flower haven three times a week got me hooked! (On a side note: I am a Sagittarius and we need 50% city and 50% nature to keep sane so it seems that it was a natural progression.)
Sometimes being a florist means that you are living inan eternal spring. You get to spend 8-10 hours a day with beautiful mother nature surrounding you. It’s hard work and a lot of manual labor, but the beauty of it all seems to add up in the end and is totally worth it.
How did your other passions and studies in fashion, sculpture, and photography culminate with you opening your own flower studio?
I’ve always loved making things and creating a world to sustain my visual fantasies and it would be a fib to say I didn’t find the instant gratification very appealing. The funny thing about flowers though is that they are allotted a short amount of time to be here and then POOF! They’re gone. It’s a full circle in that sense which I love, but I guess sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye to all those beautiful blooms. That’s why there are cameras to take photographs, one of the reasons I love taking photos as well. In my humble opinion, it’s really all the same, just another medium. Making a beautiful dish to eat, writing a story or a poem, shooting…they all have a very similar process in a way: problem solving within a structure and then breaking all the rules if you want!
Where do you typically source your flowers? What makes you pick a certain kind of flower over another? What is the floral “criteria”?
I like to use all kinds of flowers, foliage and plants depending on the mood or what I am envisioning for the project. I don’t have a favorite flower per se. It really depends on the season, but I can’t help but love the Wabi Sabi. Beautiful defects. Also, I think once you start looking at so many flowers you realize that the ones that are perfect aren’t as special or you just get bored of looking at plastic pretty. You want to find that flower with the freaky bend in its stem with a sprinkle of an opposite random color on its petals.
I try to source my flowers locally whenever possible and in season, but I can’t all the time unfortunately. Local flowers a lot of times are more unique and harder to find. Flowers are often grown on trend and that dictates what’s being sold at the market. I also believe that it is important to support the people in your community.
How would you describe your floral aesthetic? What makes it unique?
Natural and surreal, but I also enjoy the juxtaposition of the unnatural in the supernatural.
You’re going to be making floral crowns at the Montauk Beach House! That’s so cool; why crowns in particular?
I mean it’s the Summer Solstice for heavens sake! Very appropriate holiday wouldn’t you say?!
What do you think people can gain from learning a little bit of floral technique?
I just want people to get a little taste of what it feels like to put the ritual of flowers in their lives. Life is short so it’s nice to surround yourself with the simple luxury of flowers and things that are beautiful and smell nice. For me, it’s important to come home to plants, flowers and living things, light a candle or incense and just relax and be present and enjoy the current moment before it passes. I equate it to drinking water: it’s a necessity in life.
Floral crowns seem to be a hot trend thanks to Lana Del Rey and several nationally recognized music festivals. How do you feel about that?
Flower crowns have been around for ages and used for ceremonies and to symbolize life. I like to think of Frida Kahlo with her braided ribbons and flowers in her hair or the Greeks in ancient times celebrating gods and goddesses, dancing around the maypole, having orgies…wait, maybe not the orgies thing. I like the fact that people are incorporating nature and beauty into music festivals. Flowers are for celebrating, whether it be a birth, a marriage, or just plain rock and roll.
Will the crowns be nautical-themed? Will you be using natural elements found along the beach to adorn them?
People can bring found objects if they want and we’ll make some flower mermaid head crowns. The Polynesians would make crowns out of blooms, leaves, shells, feathers and sometimes even teeth and bones. The different elements would symbolize certain occasions…be it a wedding ceremony or making peace with another tribe. The act of entwining the vines would signify the completion of peace between the groups or the marriage of two people entwining themselves together.
Will you be doing any sightseeing in Montauk?! What do you look forward to the most?
I am definitely doing a night of camping with friends at Hither Hills State Park. There I’ll do a bit of beach combing, have a long swim and then we’ll have an awesome fire pit cooked paella, play music and dance around a fire to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Luckily, the boyfriend is a pretty great cook. Then maybe back to the lap of salty beach luxury at the MBH…a girl will need a shower!
Guest Written by Greg Mania.
Join us this weekend for the Summer Solstice edition of Summer Set Saturdays to meet Katherine and snag an Entriken Studio crown for the celebration!