Friday Featured Artist – Om Shanti Handcrafts

Every Friday I feature a different etsy artist here in my blog.  If your trying to remember the name of a particular artist that’s been featured here, just check the side bar!  I have a section reserved just for the shops of previously featured artists.  And now, without further adieu, today’s interview with Kate of Om Shanti Handcrafts!

1. Tell us your story…what first got you working with jewelry and
all-natural herbal bath & body products?

The jewelry — I’d been buying pretty pretty beads for something like
the last ten years, with no idea what I was going to do with them.
Then I wound up working for a friend of mine last summer. She owns a
jewelry shop and had the tools…and I didn’t have a whole lot else to
do after I’d polished the jewelry…so I started making things. Had a
really fun time with it.

Eventually I ran out of beads and space, so I started selling it. More
space! And money for beads! What’s not to love?

As for the bath stuff — someone gave me some bath salts a couple of
years ago. I didn’t take a lot of baths then — who’s got the time? —
but eventually I made time. And they were wonderful! So soothing, and
they smelled great too. It was a year or two after that that I thought
to make my own, but I had a friend who owned an herbal supply shop at
the time and once I got started I just kept buying supplies from her.
To support her, y’know. 🙂

Again, I got to the point where I was running out of stuff and space
to keep it — so I decided to start selling it.

I can identify with that one!  You can only wear so much jewelry personally…if your a true addict to a craft you have to start giving it away or selling it at some point!

2. Can you tell us a little bit about what goes into creating one of your
products (with out giving away any secrets of course!)?

Usually the jewelry come to me when I’m listening to music. It won’t
spring full-formed into my head, no, but I’ll start getting an idea of
colours and shapes. Then it’s time to go pull the beads out and see
what happens.

If I’m doing a custom piece for someone, I think about them. I’ve got
a picture of them up in front of me if I have one.

And sometimes it happens when I’m pulling out new beads to show
someone. I’ll put one strand next to another that I haven’t seen
together before and wham, there it is.

I’ve got a number of herb books and several well-regarded websites
that I consult for the herbal things. I’ll get an idea — I got bit by
a mosquito a couple weeks ago, as an example, and while I was
scratching away I thought ‘bug spray’ and ‘something to make the bite
not itch’. So I go looking to see what’ll do the trick. I try to work
with the herbs I already have but I won’t hesitate to go and get more
if that’s what I need.

Sometimes there’s a little voice in the back of my head that says ‘put
the raspberry leaf into the Spring Cleaning Tea’ and suchlike. I’m not
crazy, I swear! Well, maybe I am, but it nearly always works, so I
don’t worry about it.

For the lip balms and bath salts I mostly just put together things
that smell good. I’ll dig out a couple of bottles of essential oils
and smell them together. I still wind up with surprises, though — the
Tangerine Vanilla lip balm smelled good, but it wasn’t until I’d
poured both oils in and the balm had cooled did I realized that I’d
reinvented the Orange Julius.

3. How did you come up with your name?

I had a cat for a while named Shanti. I found her in a field near
where I used to work, skinny and matted and crying. So of course I
took her home.

After almost a year, I had to give her up to the Humane Society. My
other cats (horrible creatures, all) would not leave her alone, and
keeping her in my bedroom all the time was making her crazy. She
needed more room. I took her for walks (on a leash, no less) but it
wasn’t enough for her.

She found a new home quickly. It’s their policy that they won’t tell
me where and I’m fine with that, but I imagine she’s living on a farm
now, somewhere she can chase mice in the barn during the day and curl
up by the fireplace at night.

I suppose I named it in her honour though I wasn’t entirely thinking
about it that way at the time. The fact that ‘Shanti’ means ‘peace’ in
Sanskrit is a nice side benefit. 🙂

4. What are some of your favorite things you have up on etsy right now?

The Minty Footy Spray is a real favourite right now — I cheat and
spray it all over. I just love the scent. 🙂

Four Color Love (bracelet and earrings set) is bright and has lapis in
it. I love lapis. Note: Kate’s fully aware that there are actually only three colors in this set, but it’s based of a song…go check out the listening and see why!

And the Wintry Mix lip balm is always a favourite of mine. It tastes
so good half the time I forget and lick it off. 🙂

5. Where do you do your work…and do you watch or listen to anything while
you work?

The herbal stuff is all in my kitchen. Mostly if I’m listening to
anything it’s the kitten playing around my feet. (Unnerving when I’m
pouring molten salves into jars…) I actually do most of my jewelry
at a friend’s house so it’s whatever they have on.

When I’m really listening to music is when I’m working at my computer.
I’ve got a rotation of all kinds of things — Dar Williams and the
Indigo Girls, a bunch of world music (Brent Lewis, Insingizi and
Krisna Das among others) and a lot of filk. Lately I’ve been addicted
to Seanan McGuire who writes and sings truly lovely filk.

I just had to follow up that question with another…what on EARTH is filk?  I’d never heard of it before and I wouldn’t be surprised if you, dear readers, hadn’t either!


Filk is, generally, music done in the fantasy and science fiction
fandom tradition — sometimes to the tune of other songs, sometimes
original. Sometimes it’s based on a particular book (or movie or TV
show), sometimes it’s not, but just follows the themes.

Here are a couple of relevant websites:

On another follow up note…I’ve been listening to some of this filk this morning, I thought it fitting as I formatted the interview, and while some of it is, um, rather roughly put together, a lot of it is really good!  I’m listening to the artist she recommended (Seanan McGuire) right now and it’s really good!  On with the interview…
6. Tell us one fun, random thing about yourself!

I’m the only female in the apartment — living with four cats and four
rats, all boys. Fortunately they don’t care about gender so I don’t
feel too outnumbered.

She has pictures in her blog of her various companions, including the newest, an adorable kitten!

And now for a couple of my favorite products of Kate’s!  I honestly haven’t gotten to try any of these yet…but the one’s I think look the most tantalizing are:

Tangerine Vanilla Lip Balm

Roses, Roses, and Roses Soap

Long Day Working Bath Salts

Have a great day and don’t forget to check out Kate’s shop and blog!


3 responses to “Friday Featured Artist – Om Shanti Handcrafts

  1. Wow — this looks great! Thanks for putting together such an awesome interview!

  2. I’m glad you liked it 🙂 Thanks for participating!

  3. Pingback: Another interview! « Om Shanti Handcrafts

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