Story and photos by Laura Lawson Visconti.
The average wedding produces 600 pounds of trash. That’s one billion tons of waste produced annually in the U.S. alone. And it’s a number Christine Pocock, owner and founder of Wilderland Studios, is trying to change.
In a rustic home studio nestled against the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lake Tahoe, California, Christine is quietly and radically helping revolutionize the event-planning business with her sustainable approach to floral design. Teva Explorer Laura Lawson Visconti visits her there to talk about the change in career that led her to on quest to curb event-industry waste.
Pictured: The Teva Women’s Midform Universal Holiday.
Floral design is a major career shift for you. Would you mind expounding on the journey in fashion that brought you here?
After graduating from The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in San Francisco, I pursued a career with this huge athletic apparel company. Then, five years later, the universe provided an opportunity to me to adventure around the world…Peru, Iceland, Switzerland. It was in Aspen, Colorado where I discovered my affinity for event design and planning. I spent countless hours training under Thistle & Honey and attending workshops from esteemed florists throughout the country, all while developing my individual design aesthetic. I’m a dreamer at heart, so my passion for creative storytelling fueled my desire to launch Wilderland Studio this past summer.
How does living in Lake Tahoe inspire your work?
I’m inspired by the ever-changing seasons here. I use those shifting colors and textures to inform our clients’ stories. We create multi-dimensional floral arrangements that are loose, organic, and wild in composition, reflecting their natural habitat. If I happen to stumble upon unique foliage while adventuring around the mountains, my trusty clippers are always at hand!
Pictured: The Teva Women’s De La Vina Dos Shorty boots.
But winter is coming! What will you be foraging for in the next couple of months? All I can think of is pine cones.
My pup, Stella, is a pine cone thief, so I can’t seem to keep a collection in the studio! I’ve been on the search for Lunaria, which is this rare, translucent, moon-shaped seed pod that’s ideal for creating winter-inspired designs. You can find it in the foothills surrounding the Lake Tahoe Basin, so I keep an eye out every time I venture there.
How do you practice sustainability in your business?
It’s not about perfection: We believe all decisions to be more sustainable leave a positive impact on the environment. We are dedicated to supporting local, seasonal, and sustainable flower growers throughout Northern California. We also gift our leftover flowers to The Petal Connection, a volunteer program that repurposes flowers to help bring joy to hospice patients, and we focus on sourcing handcrafted products of the highest quality, ones that are made thoughtfully, honestly, and responsibly.
Christine’s home studio space features natural materials that blend modern design with rustic comfort (like her collection of dried foraged foliage). Pictured: The Teva Women’s Midform Universal Holiday.
What other brands in the wedding and event industry focus on sustainability?
Silk & Willow handcraft one-of-a-kind, naturally dyed silk ribbon using roots, foliage, nuts, berries, and flowers. Florists like Soil & Stem, Beehive Floral, and Tellurian have ditched the floral foam often used in arrangements to focus on more sustainable, natural installations. The Reformation designs effortless dresses that celebrate the feminine figure, and they prioritize sourcing the most beautiful, sustainable fabrics possible.
Christine still finds time to travel often. Her most recent trip was to Peru, where she fell in love with the vibrant culture and rugged mountains. “In the new year, I’m hoping to plan an epic adventure traversing South America, from the Atacama Desert to the Patagonia Glaciers, and beyond.”
What kind of music do you listen to while you’re creating?
A mix of laidback, soulful tunes to inspire my creativity — artists such as Alabama Shakes, Old Man Canyon and Fleetwood Mac frequent my playlist. To be honest, I’m currently obsessed with the soundtrack from A Star Is Born.
You’re on your feet a lot. What’s your go-to shoes while you’re designing?
Lately, I have been rocking the Teva Midform Universal Holiday Sandal in my studio. I love the soft velvet straps and the ultra-comfortable suede footbed. The Midform Universal Sandal is the perfect blend of fashion and functionality.