tess palma-martinez

Tess Palma-Martinez is the founder of Forage + Sundry, a studio and retail shop in Troy, New York: "the retail space is a platform for other, US-based makers focusing on kitchen and garden products. The workshop duals as my personal studio and a space for community DIY classes." The energy of this space is something special, and it matches Tess' unique creative spirit. 


What do you burn for? I burn for creation, in every sense- whether a drawing, a collage, a loaf of banana bread, the coming together of a home or space (aesthetically), a new leaf growing from a plant.  

How did Forage + Sundry come to be? What does this name represent? I have been planning Forage + Sundry my entire life, without knowing it. In the first grade, when asked to draw a picture of what I want to be when I grow up, I drew a store front filled with twinkling string lights and paper star lanterns. Every job I have ever had, related or not, brought me closer. Every item I have bought for myself or my home was for a reason. I was collecting- collecting information and ideas for my future! 

The name Forage + Sundry was a push from the universe. When I was working for Anthropologie, back in 2013, I started planning to, somehow, work for myself, and very easily the name ‘Forage’ came to me. Even in my first note about ‘Forage’ I wrote that it wasn’t quite right, something was missing. I moved to Troy in the summer of 2014, started working with plants, and found myself saying ‘forage’ quite often, in describing where I found my materials. I decided to launch my wholesale business under that name. An herbalist from the community approached me- her home-grown business was called ‘Forage’ and asked me not to use the name. I met with a friend to talk about new name ideas when he said  “your business is more than Forage, you’re Forage... and sundry.”  That was it! The plus sign was an immediate addition. The herbalist was very happy with the name change and grateful for the effort I put in to compromising.

What is the most important thing you've learned lately? The most important thing I have learned lately is to show up for myself. If I fully show up - in each moment, every interaction, every situation - I can truly hold myself accountable for my well-being, while continuing to grow. I have since noticed that if I am upset or angered by someone or something, finding fault in the other or myself - it is simply because I did not show up for me, for my needs or my voice. If I stand up for myself in a situation, I can walk away from it feeling satisfied and stronger. 

Supporting local businesses matters because: 

Supporting local businesses matters because it supports the dream of why they started. Behind every small business is a person, or persons, who had an idea of how they wanted to add to their community. They used their unique voice and vision to bring a business to life, to bring life to their neighborhood. Imagine what the world would look like if we supported everyone’s dreams. 

How would you describe your aesthetic?  My aesthetic is all about color and texture. It has been the same for all of my life- I am naturally drawn to certain pallets and patterns. Chartreuse, Burnt Orange, Mustard, Ebony, that Grey-ish Silvery Blue- the depthful, regal, earthy tones. Everything I have was selected, by hand, with that natural gravitation. So, everything works with everything else. The aesthetic of my home is different than the aesthetic of my store, but both read as me. My home is very bohemian, with blues and oranges, low sprawling day-beds with mirrors everywhere. The store, however, is very linear and minimalist with splashes of bright color. 

Anything else we should know? My mom recently shared this quote by Anne Lamott, describing her 'inner garden'...

"If my heart were a garden, it would be in bloom with roses and wrinkly Indian poppies and wild flowers. There would be two unmarked tracts of scorched earth, and scattered headstones covered with weeds and ivy and moss, a functioning compost pile, great tangles of blackberry bushes, and some piles of trash I've meant to haul away for years.