I have been tossing around the idea in my head for awhile that I would like to feature other artists/crafters here on the blog, maybe once a week --- and the perfect opportunity has come along! For the month of march I am partnering with 4 other etsy shops to offer discounts and promote our shops! We are all in Ontario - so shop local and support your local artists!
Take a moment to check them out!
Use the coupon code MARCHON10 when you check out to receive a discount!
*check shop announcements for details
I will feature each one individually over the next few weeks, but here is a sneak peek!
custom illustrated keepsake boxes, shopping bags and art - really cool hand drawn items that are super reasonably priced!
Lovely handmade jewelry - with a really neat twist! I love the juxtaposition of feathers and bullet casings and jewels. So cool....
This is the lovely shop I will be featuring today!! (Officially Honey Pot Herbals and Renegade productions) Read on for details about her all-natural process and how she involves her whole family in the creation of natural herbal body care products!
Another lovely jewelry shop from Ontario - two sisters that make beautiful boho chic wearables! Check them out!
now, onto the main article of concern....
HONEY POT HERBALS AND RENEGADE PRODUCTIONS
sweetgrass soaking in sunflower oil - the sun helps draw out the medicinal properties
and the general awesomeness of Joanne and her natural offerings for caring for yourself and your family. She is a registered Herbalist in Ontario and grows a lot of her own herbs for her products. Read on to find out more about her and her process (AND her goods are totally affordable - especially this month ;) )
|soaking Calendula petals in sunflower oil - basis for lotions and topical baby products|
Here I've asked Joanne to share some info with us about her process and philosophy. (my questions in purple!)
What first inspired you to start your business?
Our business was born from the desire to be able to support our family doing the things we love and in order to try to live the way we want to- gardening and harvesting food and medicine from the bush, living in manner that respects the environment, learning to depend on what nature provides around you, engaging the kids and family in culturally positive activities- powwows, drumming, singing, traditional lifestyle, ceremonies, etc.
We want to pass on to our children as much as possible the teachings and traditions of an Anishnabe way of life.I have harbored an interest in herbal medicine and herbal healing for over 20 years and have always wanted to make a living through my love of herbs and belief in their healing abilities.
|mixing together ground herbs and clay for facemasks|
How long have you been crafting your goods, for yourself and for sale?
I have been making herbal remedies for over 15 years, always with the idea that working with herbs would be my life's work. When our first child was born in 2000 I made a salve to prevent and treat diaper rash, as well as to serve as an anti-sceptic and healing salve for minor scrapes and bruises. I gave samples of this salve out to friends and family. After receiving good reviews for the salve from many people, my husband and I started to put our heads together on how to market it.
During this time, our son was playing outside and scraped his back on a tree. He came inside crying and very upset. We cleaned up his scrape and put this same salve on the scrapes. Then, he smiled and said his owies were gone, "like magic", and so our salve became "Magic Ointment"!
We officially began our business in 2007. In 2012 we began selling at markets and powwows. In October of 2013, we opened our Etsy Shop.
|making rose infused oil and rose glycerite from transplanted wild roses|
What is your favorite part of the process? What part do you find most challenging?
I love working with herbs and learning new things! I love the garden in the spring when everything is fresh and full of promise. I love to create new remedies- which is usually a process that takes some time, often more than a year- because I like to pay attention to detail.
The herbal products I create are a combination of research of scientific findings, experience of actually working with herbs and a certain degree of intuition. Everything starts with an idea and I like to play with it until it has been tried and tested and I feel that something has been produced that is both effective and pleasing to use.
My least favorite part is the business side of business! Keeping track of finances is necessary but not a particular interest of mine. And learning how to be a "business person"- a manager and promoter- certainly presents some challenges. Although, even that has had its rewards!
|The rose oil is used in "rejuvenation face cream" and the glycerin tincture is used for the teething tincture for babies and mild upset tummies|
Do you involve your kids or family? If so, how?
Yes! The whole family is involved! Our garden's are a family project. Our four kids, myself and my husband all work together to prepare the gardens and plant and maintain them through the season.
The kids help with much of the harvesting and many kids in the community stop by for fresh veggies or just to satisfy their curiosity about the medicines we grow.
We also make maple syrup, harvest firewood and medicines from the bush for family and community use. It is important to us that the kids be involved in every aspect of this so that they can learn these traditional harvesting skills and also learn about giving back to your community by sharing what has be taken.
|fresh harvested raspberry leaves for tea|
Why is it important for people to find and use alternatives to chemical products?
There are so many good reasons to use a natural alternative! Many of the chemicals used in personal care products are harmful to both ourselves and the environment. Some chemicals used in personal care products are synthetic estrogens which, when used continuously over a long period of time, can wreak havoc on our bodies. And when these chemical wind up in the environment-through being washed down the drain- they wreak havoc on wildlife, causing problems with reproduction.
Also, many toiletries and beauty products contain "ethoxylated" ingredients. This means that some ingredients have been treated with "ethylene oxide", which is a known carcinogen. The process also creates and leaves in the products a compound called "1, 4 dioxane", which is a probable carcinogen. But, its not listed on any labels because it is a by-product of manufacturing, not an ingredient per se.
Many commonly used preservatives and synthetic fragrance can have a detrimental impact on our health, also. There are many good resources out there for those who wish to learn more about the dangers of conventional personal care and cosmetic products.
Using natural products, on the other hand, is gentler on the environment and safer for people. Using plants and natural materials to care for and heal ourselves also teaches a greater respect for the natural world as we learn that our well being is connected to the well being of the plants we depend on for our health. In this way we become more cognizant of the need to maintain the necessary natural habitat for healthful plant species to flourish.
|All Natural insect repellant! and after bite stick -- the background is the herb used for the insect repellant (GET LOST SPRAY) soaking in homemade distilled witchhazel...the first step in making the insect repellant.|
What advice do you have for parents who want to treat their families with herbs?
Herbs and other natural remedies can provide safe alternatives and adjuncts to conventional medicine. There are good books and resources out there for those who wish to learn more.Parents should proceed with some caution, however; just because something is "natural" doesn't mean that it is safe in all cases.
In Ontario, the Ontario Herbalists Association maintains a list of Registered Herbalists. (I am one!) A Registered Herbalist can help you figure out a safe and effective manner to proceed with herbal health care for the family. Registered Herbalists are knowledgable about using herbs to treat common health concerns as well as herbal interactions with other prescription and over the counter medications.
|whipped butter salt scrub with calendula oil (making it yellow) just before packing into jars|
Many herbs and herbal remedies can be used by parents and families with a minimal knowledge of herbs. Sometimes it is necessary to consult with someone- a Registered Herbalist- who is trained to know how herbs behave in the body and interact with other medications, so that those who take herbs do so safely. This is especially true for children, expecting moms and people who already use prescription medications. Herbalists can also help with dietary recommendations to treat health concerns.
How does your art and craft intersect?
Actually, my husband- Martin Kewageshig- is the artist! He creates culturally significant artwork and attended George Brown College to learn graphic design. Martin designs the images and labels we use on our products. I would be challenged to draw a decent stick person if my life depended on it, lol!
Thank you Joanne for answering some questions and sharing more about your goods with us! If you haven't tried natural products for yourself or your kids I think you will be pleasantly surprised by just how great they work -- and how much less stress you have to feel about putting questionable chemicals onto/into your body, especially for young, growing bodies that just soak everything up!
p.s. draw winners will be announced tomorrow! yay!