Photos above by Jackie Meyvis
Meet Catherine Constanza of Rochester New York’s Catherine Rising. Located in The Hungerford building, Catherine says she can’t believe it’s been three years since she moved her life and business up to the flour city from Brooklyn. When I met Catherine, I felt like I’d known her forever! She’s here today to share how she stays tuned to nature to be present in her everyday, both in work and her personal life.
Garden Eats: How we mindfully attend to our daily lives is as important as the activities we fill it with — how does your work mirror this attitude?
Catherine: Yes- I feel like I have this idea of this beautiful and mindful life that I want to live. I work to create products that are aligned with that idea so I can use them in my own life, and so I can share those ideas and practices with others.
GE: Tell us about how you stay hygge in your personal life.
C: I pay attention to details, and work to create a beautiful and comfortable space to live in. If I bring something into my home or into the studio, it has to be something that I love. And, then I try to make everything as luxurious and groovy as possible. Light candles. Play music. Spend a little extra time making a really delicious meal, spend time outside, carve out time for self care and yoga….
GE: OH yes, totally our jam!.. You founded Catherine Rising in one of our absolute favorite spots on the planet- Brooklyn, New York. What was it like transitioning the business 300 miles north up to Rochester? Has Rochester been receptive?
C: The move up north wasn’t easy! I left my friends, my coworkers and what felt like my life in Brooklyn. But I have come to really love living in Rochester. I have found a sense of ease that was really missing from my life in New York. It doesn’t feel as hard here. The people are so friendly, and I love the sense of community that Rochester holds. Also, I have realized the importance that being close to nature has for me.
It’s especially apparent now that it’s summer. I love waking up to birds singing out our window, cutting peonies in the garden, having a late night bonfire in the back yard… these are things that have become such a wonderful part of everyday life since we left the big city.
GE: Boho, hippie or both?
CR: hippie. The older I get, the more I find myself leaning into my hippie roots. I made a big push against it in my teens… As a 15 year old punk I never imagined that at 30 I’d be wearing birkenstock clogs, digging up worms for the compost and making my own laundry detergent.. But it’s what feels right to me!
GE: Storytelling and inspiration are pervasive themes throughout your design work. Any fun, recent stories to share?
C: Yes- so I’ve recently shifted my focus (for the time being) to interior design-
Working on a lighting project I happened upon Rochester’s Lamp Repair on Winton Rd. It’s an amazing little shop that has been there forever. I hadn’t been in the shop for 5 min when he offered to bring me down to his basement to show me his collection of vintage glass lamp shades. I followed him down a super narrow staircase to this treasure trove of lighting- floor to ceiling shelves full of unique vintage pieces… and then to his garage out back where he had even more. I’ve been back several times since, and he has even created custom fixtures for me. I love supporting small businesses- not only for the amazing unique pieces I find, but also because it’s such fun to experience. You feel like you’re part of a secret old world!
Photo by Catherine Costanza
GE: When we met I suggested that what you offer is far beyond home decor. I use the one-of-a-kind items you offer as a way to stay hygge and energetically responsible in my spaces. What are your thoughts on energetic responsibility?
C: Ahhh it’s huge. I am a firm believer that (in most circumstances) happiness is a choice. And, also that the energy you give to the world is contagious. So, I work hard to pay attention to details- be mindful about what you give yourself and what you put out into the world.
GE: What is your latest favorite found item?
CR: It’s this rad primitive wolf mask I found at an antique shop near my boyfriend’s cottage in Wayne County, NY. It’s hand carved from a single piece of wood, and it’s super old. I bought it to sell on the website, but I love it so much I think I have to keep it for myself!
GE: Any thoughts to share with skeptics on spatial clearing?
CR: I think there are so many powerful tools we can use here, but in the end, it all comes down to intention. I understand skepticism when it comes to any ceremonial practice.. But not when it comes to intention. I believe in choosing happiness, choosing peace and I love to use the tools provided to me to enhance that experience.
GE: And, what are you up to this summer? Celebrating festival season? Something new the community can look forward to?
C: I just got back from a week long trip to Vermont. My parents live on Lake Champlain so I spent the week on the beach, and antiquing and thrifting around Burlington. I’m looking forward to doing some camping trips with my boyfriend and our dog, Sunny. I also really want to explore areas around Rochester. I’d like to spend some time in Buffalo, maybe a trip to Ithaca and to the Rochester Folk art Guild in Canandaigua!
C A T H E R I N E Rising is a collection of home goods and gifts founded in brooklyn in 2011 by Catherine Costanza. Catherine’s one-of-a-kind products are designed and ethically produced in her upstate NY studio – floral smudge sticks, candles and apothecary items that draw inspiration from natural elements, color and texture, as well as story telling and folk lore. Catherine says to please come by her studio in the Hungerford building for a visit soon!
A special thank you to Rochester, New York photographer, Ms. Jackie Meyvis for intuitively making this connection happen ;).