At the top of Netil house is Platform, a warehouse style cafe. One of the walls is dedicated to a view of Old Street, with the sun shining directly in I immediately had to shed a few layers before sitting down next to the lovely florist, Lizzie Cook of Field.
How did Field come to be?
Two years ago I started doing a smaller market on Chatsworth Road. My first job was in a flower shop so I’ve always had an eye, I noticed that there was a gap in the market for local flowers, unusual varieties. I also noticed that everything you got on supermarket shelves was very ‘samey’. I really liked the idea of working with local growers, building up a relationship. There are a few that grow for restaurants in Hackney, I thought it would be great to pull stuff from them and then pull from all over the UK.
"I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING THAT INVOLVED WORKING WITH EVERYONE AROUND ME AND GETTING THE COMMUNITY INVOLVED. DO SOMETHING GOOD, THAT I BELIEVE IN, THAT I THINK IS A GOOD, COOL IDEA."
What is the Slow Flower Movement?
It comes from the idea of slow living. It’s just about being conscious. Investing conciously in things that have been produced in a more thoughtful way. I think is a bit of a philosophy, taking things slow, and considering the environmental and social implications of the things we do. Traveling around the UK, I've noticed that a lot of English flowers have gone out of fashion. We import so much that is fancy and exotic a lot of things have been forgotten, I like the idea of reintroducing that stuff.
What projects are you currently working on? You’ve just started at the Slow Living and Food Market in Holborn. Anything Else?
Yes, I've just started over at the Slow Living and Food Market, they have a particular vision and look they're going for and I think it works for the area. I’m also working with a local artist come landscape artist. He builds gardens that are built around a clients particular wants and needs in a spiritual way, blending art and horticulture. He takes beautiful black and white photographs of flowers as well. We were thinking of collaborating with my (flower) scans, combining and having an exhibition and creating an event to talk about slow flowers.
"EVERY BRIDE THAT I’VE WORKED WITH, COMES TO ME BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IN THE IDEA AND THEY LIKE TO KNOW THAT WHAT THEY GET HAS BEEN SOURCED LOCALLY. THEY WANT SEASONAL, THEY’RE ALWAYS REALLY HAPPY FOR ME TO WORK WITH WHAT IS AVAILABLE AT THAT TIME."
Do you bring people on for particular projects?
It’s just me at the moment. I’ve worked my butt off! It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You have to wear every hat. Despite the hard work, it's a really nice job and its really rewarding. Its great to feel part of the community and what's going on in Netil Market, which is becoming one of the best markets in East London – everyone there has become like family.
I’m really happy with the way its gone so far. There are a lot of aspects that are really hard. Getting up and going to those markets and dealing with the guys at the New Covent Garden Market in Vauxhall. It’s an established market, they're old school and you’ve got to take the time to build up a relationship with the sellers. And there still isn’t a massive locally grown section there.
Where do you source your flowers from besides the New Covent Garden Market?
I’ve got two new suppliers, one is the Flower Union, she's a florist, around the oxford area, acting as a hub. She adhears to the 50 mile bouquet rule. she is incredible. She knows what I like, she picks things out for me and then she literally puts it in her car and drives it to London. Thats dedication! Hopefully that will change in the next few years and there will be more of an infrastructure in place for UK flowers.
How long do the locally grown flowers last? Picked Friday, in your shop on Saturday.
Seven days to two weeks, I’ve even had one of my customers have flowers last three weeks! I like mixing fresh and dried so customers can keep adding fresh flowers to their dried arrangements.
What flowers are you getting excited to get into the shop this season?
I love all the spring flowers. I love green iris, and narcissi. Im looking forward to all the stuff I can dry. I’ve got to wait for it to grow first, I’m going to have tons of it this year, a whole ceiling packed with it!
Whats been the best project that you’ve worked on or the most rewarding?
Just collaborating with other people and meeting people from Flowers From The Farm (FFTF), they are another group that is passionate about the Slow Flower movement. They hold a conference every year, it's great meeting like minded people at those events. Debra Prinzing, the woman who coined the term 'Slow Flowers' has worked out an online network in the States so you can search where the nearest slow flower florist is to you. She is a trailblazer!
I also like doing little projects like the one I did for Kinfolk, working with people who like my aesthetic its really rewarding and it communicates that idea really well.
What do you see for the future of Field?
Developing the shop, and making it into a living showroom, getting more suppliers and having the shop packed to the beams with flowers!
What is your local area, what are you recommendations?
Lea Valley Nature Reserve, you come down the hill away from (London) and everything disappears and you look out and feel that you've waived the city goodbye, its healthy. You able to look into the distance, which you can’t do in London.
The Jazz Bar, it has been open since I first came here. It’s the best fun in town. The guy who runs it is lovely and the vibe is like nothing else. It's authentic, it's a really special place.
Ridley Road Market, in Dalston. It's on every day, there are all sorts of good treasures in there.
Springfield Park, its quiet and my favourite park in London.