We had the good fortune of connecting with Marie Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marie, what inspires you?
A nocturne is a work of art or music that is inspired by night. Having named my floral business “Nocturne in Bloom” I naturally pull a lot of inspiration from art, music and the aesthetic of night. My favorite painting is called “Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket” by James Abbott McNeill Whistler. It’s this dark amorphous visual that has a twinkle to it. This is what I seek to create with my floral design; arrangements of nature’s bounty that are dark, magical and melodic.
Music is very visual for me. I always find myself visualizing a scene or setting in my mind for each song I listen to. Florals have become a tangible extension and expression of that experience for me. I think of floral design and music in the same terms. Focal flowers as melodies, color palette as the key, filler flowers and foliage as the rhythm section. It all feels like the same action of balancing and blending elements to evoke an emotion and story.
Frédéric Chopin has a gorgeous collection of piano nocturnes that I often listen to while I work to help put me in the right headspace. Other times I’ll look through collections of impressionist or Dutch master’s paintings to give myself a visual starting point before I dive into designing. My floral work is very much influenced by moody and haunting musical and visual art that show a deeper side of the human experience. I can enjoy bright and cheery pieces as much as the next person (pop music and sunflowers anyone?) but my heart belongs to the rich magic and dark whimsy of a nocturne.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I had the hardest time choosing a major in college. I was constantly flitting back and forth between art and ecology, neither of them ever fully satisfying me. When I got my first job at a flower shop I felt that I had found a place for those two interests to blend and that I was truly setting foot on the path I had been searching for.
I spent the first 6 years of my floral journey designing for and managing different floral businesses. When the pandemic hit I lost my job designing for and managing a high end floral studio here in Venice, and had the same panic attack that everyone else had in 2020. About a month after quarantine began I decided that starting my own floral business was inevitable and that I may as well do it right then and there.
There are 3 elements that make up the core values of Nocturne in Bloom. The first is to provide stunning and unique work to my clients. The second is to create this work using Earth friendly materials and practices whenever possible. We do not use toxic floral foam in our arrangements, we do not use bleached or spray painted product and we buy domestically grown flowers whenever possible. The third element of our business is to support organizations and projects that are working toward making the world a healthier and more equitable place. Each month a portion of our proceeds is donated to a different cause that aligns with these values.
The only thing more beautiful than a gorgeous arrangement of flowers is a gorgeous arrangement of flowers that stands for something! My hope is that the foundations of my practice will help to attract clientele and work that supports those values of high quality artful design, sustainability and equity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My number one spot to take people to in LA is the Museum of Jurassic Technology. It is the most weird and wonderful place and it either freaks people out or totally enchants them. I adore it!
I also love taking people to the LA Flower Market. It’s overwhelming, abundant and so fun!
The Huntington Library and Gardens or the LA Arboretum are another pair of incredible flower filled places worth visiting. I know I’m biased about flowers and plants but anyone will be inspired by their lush grounds.
The last “must see” on my list is my favorite taco spot. It’s called The Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada and I’m not sure about Ensenada but I can tell you that those are definitely the best fish tacos in LA! Affordable, non-fussy and the best damn salsa bar in town. You can’t go wrong!
I’ll usually end up taking people to the Trails Cafe in Griffith Park and then hiking up to the Observatory as well. Sometimes we’ll go to the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store and if we’re feeling fancy, the rooftop bar at the DTLA Ace Hotel is a great place for a night cap.
LA is full of unexpected things to see and do. I’m so excited for things to be opening up again so that I can get back to exploring this City I call home!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be on this path without the encouragement and support of my husband/business partner. Solomon is always pushing me forward both creatively and professionally. He is a musician, artist and producer so he brings a unique eye and value to the table that I couldn’t live without!