Denise wears our Blush Ruffle Body Suit
Welcome to our first installment of Voices - our little space where we can celebrate and pick the brains of amazing women we're lucky to know and/or get to know.
Our first spotlight is on our friend, Denise DeSpirito (@ofthespirit), an herbalist and artist who transplanted herself from New York City to rural Maine. Below we chat with Denise about the benefits of a more natural lifestyle, the risks that accompany the growing commercialization of herbal products, as well as the dangers of wearing fur during hunting season.
Whats your favorite combination of herbs?
This changes so often, due to the season, what I'm doing that day, if its for me or someone else, or what mood I'm in even! Right now it is raspberry leaf, motherwort, rosa rosa rugosa
If you were a plant, what plant would you be?
Grecian Foxglove image via @ofthespirit
What drew you to herbalism?
The superficial answer is getting sick and it being cheaper to deal with the issues with home remedies rather than inattentive clinic doctors, but the deeper answer is probably disconnection. Being disconnected from myself, my needs, my health, nature....plants really have a way of calling you back to yourself and where you are meant to be.
How did your style evolve in New York and how did it change when you
moved to Maine?
I grew up on Long Island and started shopping in the city as a teen before moving there for college and staying over 10 years. So I went from thrifting at some Long Island gems to shopping at vintage stores and Bloomingdales in the city because I got a hefty discount through a family member. Over the course of my NYC life, I went through many
styles but pretty much always wore a lot of black, browns and neutrals. Now in Maine, I really retained the amount of black I wear. When I see someone else up here wearing the same amount of black I know they must be a former city dweller because it is a way less common look....who knew clothes came in some many colors?! I have accumulated some more floral patterns in my wardrobe since being up here, and linen, and still wear sundresses in the summer like I did in NY even though the season is shorter here. I wear Bluntstones all the time, which is utilitarian for the way my life is now with work and outside time intermingling. I also wear more blaze orange then I ever thought I would because people do seriously get shot while in the woods in hunting season.
Denise and her blaze orange hat on top of Bald Rock Mountain, Lincolnville, ME.
What is your most treasured possession?
My book collection, can the whole thing count as one possession? Its full of old and new herbal compendiums, astrology books, poetry, spiritual texts, plant ID guides....
What’s your greatest vintage find of all time?
Probably an old fur Saks Fifth Avenue hat that was in perfect condition that I found in NY, but wear up here as well so it has survived a variety of personal iterations. But I don't wear it in hunting season!
How do you see herbalism growing and evolving over the next 10 years?
This is such an important question right now and in many ways I have no idea because the trajectory of the planet in the next ten years is so unknown with climate change. But plants have evolved with us over centuries and want to support us which is important as there are more and more drug resistant bacteria and diseases that conventional medicine are baffled by, like Lyme for example. I think the role of herbalism now, and always has been, besides just supporting people in physical, emotional and spiritual healing, is to bring attention to the need for the healing of our earth and environments, our connection
to natural systems and to each other. As herbalism finds a place in popular culture though, with chains like Urban Outfitters selling herbal products, organizations like United Plant Savers (https://www.unitedplantsavers.
so people realize that these plants and herbs can go extinct due to over harvesting and habitat loss. There is a need to raise awareness around creating a sustainable herbal industry and implementing what that is, which we are still figuring out.
Where can people purchase some of your herbal potions?
People can get them through Daughters in Rockland, Maine (@shop.daughters) and sporadically at other various localplaces. People can also contact me through my website (www.ofthespiritherbals.com) for herbal consults with custom teas and formulas and medicinal garden design and classes.
Follow Denise's herbal journey and floral baths via her instagram: @ofthespirit