Something to love about living in/near a busy city: Those moments when you find — amid the concrete hustle and bustle, the glaring hither and thither — a pocket of inspired, fertile serenity. You know, a nook that not only brings you closer to nature but also expands your aesthetic horizons.
In Los Angeles, Twig & Twine is one of those nooks. Located on a swarming block in the East Hollywood/Virgil Village area (on the edge of Silver Lake), Twig & Twine is the creation of floral and event designer Heather Williams. It’s here that Heather and her team conjure up plant-centric dreams for weddings and other functions, and where Heather added a retail location last fall. A space where houseplants curl around products on shelves, the shop carries fresh flowers, jewelry, books, stationery, candles and skincare products from purveyors like our beloved Marble & Milkweed.
We stopped by the shop in late August, finding it flush with dahlias, garden roses, scabiosa flowers, astrantia and fruiting branches (call for the latest; selections are seasonal). Below, we chat with Heather about the formative flowers of her youth, arrangements with that “wild foraged feeling,” the appeal of East Hollywood, and the plants and colors she’s keen to work with this autumn.
Heather, what drew you to floral and event design? And what spurred the opening of Twig & Twine’s retail location last fall?
I somewhat fell into floral design many years ago in San Francisco. I needed a job at a time when a friend needed help at her flower shop, and that’s how it all began. I studied graphic design, so the transition into working three-dimensionally with a new medium wasn’t too difficult. I moved to LA and was developing my company by doing events and weddings previous to opening the shop. I was looking for a new studio and stumbled upon my current location on Virgil Avenue, which isn’t far from my apartment. I didn’t have a retail business in mind but having worked in a flower shop for four years prior to my move, I knew I could make it happen. I really loved the space on Virgil because it was big enough to house a studio and take on the retail portion, so I just went for it!
How would you describe your aesthetic? Plant-wise and product-wise?
This is always a tough question for me. I’ve never been one for labeling, but I’d say I do like things with more of a natural feel — whether it’s with my floral designs or with the products I carry. I’m definitely not an over-the-top type person, so items that are more organic-feeling but still well-designed seem to draw my attention.
Plants you really love working with for fall?
For fall I really love the rich palette that nature brings. Deep reds and oranges, plums, hints of gold and solid greens. Garden roses, dahlias, fall fruits like persimmon and pomegranates and the turning branches are one of my favorites. We don’t have a ton of seasonal activity here in LA, but there are the subtleties.
Products you’re particularly excited about in the shop?
I love finding new products all the time. To be able to support small artisans and designers is great. I really see it as a partnership – they produce great items and I get the pleasure of presenting them to the public. One of my new lines is called Marble & Milkweed. Briar produces the most amazing natural scented beauty products. I’m really excited to have her work in the shop.
You grew up wandering around your mom’s and grandmother’s gardens. Where were they, and what was it about the gardens that inspired you?
Both my grandmother and mother have had lovely gardens since I can remember. Rose bushes, zinnias, cosmos, pansies, sweet peas, marigolds, fuchsia plants, muscari and tulips all remind me of my youth. I never appreciated the flowers when I was young but did often play outdoors in or around them. I grew up in the rural town of Sebastopol, where you can’t escape nature. We would venture in the apple orchards in my youth and as a teenager go hiking or camping in the woods. I most definitely took it for granted but now I realize how special it was to grow up in such a beautiful part of California. When working with certain flowers or foliage, I’m taken back to my youth and hometown, and it’s pretty amazing. Flowers can hold a lot of nostalgia and sentiment.
What are some interesting new directions that floral design is taking nowadays?
The trend in flowers is definitely towards a more natural-looking arrangement. A bit of a garden-plucked appeal. The more up-and-coming florists use wild, foraged-feeling ingredients with natural shape. They tend to have a looser look but there still needs to be a focal point for the eye for me to create balance and harmony. It’s not always as easy as it appears. I don’t think overstuffed and round centerpieces will ever disappear completely but they do feel a bit dated at this point and I think the general public is starting to catch on.
What do you dig about your East Hollywood neighborhood?
Our little neighborhood in East Hollywood/Virgil Village is a great mix of supportive neighbors and business owners. Jessica from SQIRL really opened up that area to new shops like mine, which I am ever so thankful for. The neighborhood needed something and hopefully we are bringing a bit of new growth and interest to the area. It has a gritty charm to it, which can be fantastic but frustrating at the same time. At the moment I’m trying to get something as simple as weekly street sweeping implemented since it’s not offered on our block…not the easiest of tasks, but then again that’s what comes with creating something new.
Twig & Twine | twigandtwinedesign.com, 716 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90029 | 323-660-4100.