Once a neighbor that's quickly become a dear friend and frequent visitor, Elizabeth Few introduced us to her silks and of course, we fell in love at first sight. The more that she explained to us the benefits of what silk does to improve sleep quality (and skin and hair), it had us investing much more time into our own sleep routines and adding select silk pieces of hers to our wish list.
Her intricate process hand dyeing silk by using raw ingredients from nature has beautifully evolved into an entire line of pillowcases, bed sheets, eye masks, lingerie and likely many more new silk pieces to come. As an extension of her creative process, she also produces fine art collages that are constructed using fragments of materials to create abstract compositions full of rich color, texture, depth, and radiance. This is something that we did not know as much about prior, but adore her process and approach, so naturally we enjoyed getting to know more about this side of her work, in addition to the inspiration behind her creations, favorite ways and places that she fosters creativity and how she defines her personal Boketto Moment before her busy days begin.
Join us as we follow her journey, embrace the ritual of quality, indulgent sleep and the role silk plays in that, along with a host of sleep staples that support your home rituals.
What is the inspiration and philosophy behind your work?
I aspire to have my work - my art and my textiles, tell a story. The silks tell a story about the sun, moon, rain that all played a role in helping to grow the botanicals that I then use to dye the silks that someone is able to take home with them as a part of their lives - creating another layer of the Elizabeth Few story.
I love having pieces in my home that speak to me about a person I love (such as my grandmother's chairs or my daughter's art) or the devotion to creating something meaningful and with intention. The Japanese are so good at this. Every element of their lives is infused with respect and thoughtfulness and it really inspires joy and gratitude. So, I started with wanting my home to be and feel this way, and then having the opportunity to create pieces for others in order to do the same. Nothing reassures me more in my work than having someone tell me how much they enjoy something that I have made.
Silks are more than just gorgeous pieces to slip into - would you mind explaining a bit about their underlying purpose for skin, sleep, etc?
I think silk is a miracle fiber. Like many, I was initially drawn to its luxurious texture, but it’s so much more than that. It takes very little resources to produce a strand of silk as strong as steel thread. It’s hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial and even a natural fire retardant.
The first product in my line was the silk pillowcase, because I knew that silk was anti-aging and great for your hair. It elevated the quality and enjoyment of my sleep on a whole new level, so naturally I then wanted to have silk around me at all times. Once I found out that it was great for controlling body temperature (which plays a crucial role in sleep quality), I created duvets, throw blankets and lingerie. I feel that Leizu is an homage to nature, both through the use of natural fiber like silk and using botanicals to dye the silk.
Many may not be aware that you also create intricate fine art. How would you define your approach to this style of work? What moments seem to inspire you most?
A lot of the materials that I use to create my art have already had a life of their own. They are then reincarnated, so to speak, and I feel like using materials that have a story gives the pieces more dimension and meaning that might not be initially understood at the surface level. My collages are very meditative to create, and I often experience a stream of ideas when I am making the more intricate pieces. But, each piece has a different inspiration and I never know when an idea will strike.
We especially love your "Jellyfish" piece by the way, if you care to explore that piece and its inspiration.
Thank you! That one has always been a favorite of mine too. I love jellyfish and the fact that they usually swim upside down fascinated me. I love to watch them at the aquarium, as they are so fluid and elegant. But I have always been concerned with the state of our oceans, especially after oil spills and other contaminating events. I guess the piece speaks of how our excess and greed can destroy that which is our greatest source of beauty and resources, our natural world.
What are some of your favorite ways (or places) to balance, restore, gain inspiration, and foster creativity?
I am a cancer and all about the home. I need that safe haven and it’s probably why I love creating home goods so much, because I love to be comfortable and at peace in my own space. It’s very much a laboratory for my creativity.
As much as I love peace and solitude, my other great source of inspiration is New York City. It’s incredibly energizing to me, where I can go to galleries, museums, shops and just walk for hours and dine out with old friends. That said, some day I want to settle in the mountains and have lots of animals, take nature walks, swim in fresh water and work in my studio.
Your top three Boketto staples?
How do you visualize or describe your personal Boketto Moment?
I have become a morning person in the last few years and love waking up when the house is perfectly still and the sun is not up yet. I will make a coffee - or these days, a turmeric latte - and put my herbs and potions in it and just sit quietly in my living room, making notes for the day and having that precious moment all to myself, when the world is so quiet and the possibilities of the day are endless. (Then...things get totally nutty!)
And as a part of our August Boketto Ritual series, we're sharing a few of our favorite sleep apothecary staples:
Elizabeth Few Leizu Silk Pillowcase + Eye Mask Set
Anima Mundi Herbals Lucid Dreaming Tonic Tea
Bodha Modern Wellness Calm Incense + Eye Pillow
Ginger Tonic Botanicals Sandman Tea
GROWN Evening Adaptogen: Calming
Maven Made Sleep Serum
Morihata Binchotan Charcoal Sleep Mask
Plant People Calm for daily stress & anxiety
Sun Potion Ashwaganda
Urban Moonshine Herbal First Aid: Hit The Hay Sleep Support
Vitruvi Ceramic Diffuser + accompanying essential oils and blends (we love Quiet)