|What made you want to become and artist or craftsperson? What and/or who influenced your decisions?:
||I’ve been crafting for years — though I started with the fiber arts, embroidery and costume-making. In college I joined the SCA, which is a group of people who recreate the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe. You can buy the clothing — but not when you’re a poor college student, so I learned to sew.
That was a lot of fun, and I still do it every once in a while, but several years ago I started to get interested in herbal lore. A friend of mine in the SCA started a business in which she sold herbs and other ingredients, and I felt it was my duty to support her. Soon I had a whole stash of herbs and essential oils, and figured it was time to do something with it! I played a little with bath salts, but not very much, and it was a couple years before I got really interested.
Not until I moved to Colorado, in fact. I’d spent fifteen years married to a man who said he loved me — and did all he could to make me afraid, unsure of myself, and thoroughly dependent on him for everything. I finally got up the gumption to leave, a little over four years ago, and moved out to Colorado to start over.
And spent a couple of years floundering, flailing around, trying to remember how to be _me_ and not ‘this guy’s wife’. I worked a series of awful jobs, just to pay the rent, and each one just dragged me lower and lower. I distracted myself, when I had the energy, by experimenting with the herbal ingredients I’d brought with me.
See, I’d spent my life in Pennsylvania, Land of Humidity, and moving to Colorado was eye-opening. I loved the dry, but it’s rough on skin, so I decided to use that herbal lore to fix the problem. It was fun, and a nice hobby, and didn’t go any further than that.
Until I was reduced to working at Walmart, which is when I decided I’d had enough, and turned my herbal hobby into a business.
I’m still scraping to pay the rent, but I know who I am now — who _I_ am, and not who someone else has defined me as. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown a lot, and it hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything — certainly not for a life of leisure as someone else’s possession, ever again.
So three years later, here I am, owner of a small business making moisturizing things for anyone and everyone who needs them. And loving it!
|Please describe your creative process. How do you do what you do?:
||A lot of my ideas for scents come from friends and customers — someone will say, how about this, and I give it a try, and as often as not it smells REALLY good. Or I poke through all my oils for ideas, or find scent ideas online; once I even got an idea from a story written by a friend!
If it’s something medicinal I’m much more concerned with how it works than how it smells (though I don’t make things that smell _bad_). I have a library of herbal books for research, and I looks things up online as well. Then I whip up a small batch, and test it thoroughly. On myself first, of course, and then I have a couple of friends who are willing to play guinea pig for me. Only once I know it does the job do I post a new product.