Rachel, owner of Oast, is our fifth business owner in our Conscious Family series giveaways. Rachel is an amazingly crafty individual who makes breathtaking and whimsical waldorf-inspired dolls. I can't wait for you to become acquainted with her work.
In addition to her donated giveaway, know that she has also offered a discount to doulas and midwives if they would like to buy larger quantities of the newborn knot dolls as gifts for their mothers. How awesome is that? I love her work and am saving her as a favorite not only because I love her dolls, but also because I love her answers to my inquiries and want to support business owners such as her.
Can you tell me a little about you, as a person, and then a little about how you, the business owner, came to create your store?
I am traveler, mom, artist and writer born. I started in Canada but have spent more time away from my home country than I have lived there. While living in Thailand, I crossed paths with a wonderful man from England, and a few years later, we are married and parents to a beautiful little girl. We rent a little cottage on an old hop farm and the view from my craft room is that of the oast houses that used to dry hops before they were processed for beer. The rolling green countryside of my new home, the warmth of my family, and the time I get to spend working on my art is nothing short of a living a dream.
I have had a diverse background in holistic health but once my daughter was born my energy that went out into the outside world went right into my home. For my daughter’s first birthday I made her a doll based on the traditional Waldorf model. This crafting reignited a spark in my matriarchal inheritance. I grew up with the most talented crafter I have know, my mother. Quilts were here specialty. It is such an honor to carry on this tradition in our house and I truly have not been able to stop! I have heard other people say similar sentiments when it comes to doll making and I really think it is true. It is a meditation and it is a birth. I love the creativity that goes into making each doll. The intention that it will be played with for years, and the way the doll comes alive with personality as it is being made, are all things I find very gratifying.
What were you like as a child?
I was loved and I imagined. I believed in Santa until I was in grade six. I wished more than anything I could be a mermaid. I stared at unicorn posters until they would leap off the paper. I believed, as most children do, in the world that adults can’t see. I still do.
If you had to pinpoint one turning point in your life/career, what would you consider that defining moment/event?
I had just returned from a very grueling trip to India and felt lost in the luxury of the West. I did not want to return to my existing job as a massage therapist and yoga teacher right away. I wanted to help a different economic demographic. I was young and having a hard time reconciling my feelings about my career path. I sat, crying on a bench, when a woman I had been in a play with the year before came and sat beside me. She was getting married in a few days and hadn’t found a replacement for the position she held as a caregiver for an elderly man. The next day I started working with him. We moved to Thailand the following year and lived there for years. The amount I learned is immeasurable. I met my husband, who is English, and a few years later I moved to the UK to be with him. Without that trip to India, and without my crying under the tree, my life would be much different then it is now. I am forever grateful.
You offer some attachment and family-oriented products, so tell me why these things are important to you both personally and professionally.
My use of natural products in my dolls came from Waldorf pedagogy. It has to do with children being surrounded by life. Life in the form of all natural materials imbued with the energy of their origin, and life of the intention of the maker of the toy. The making of a doll and what it is made out of is a meditation. All materials came from the earth and can go back to the earth. While in the form of a doll, they possess very practical qualities. They retain heat, because of the wool stuffing, so when a child cuddles with a doll while they sleep, it will be comforting if they toss and turn. Wool also retains smell. This is particularly useful for new babies.
A parent can wear the doll prior to giving it to the baby and the baby will smell its parents on the doll and also find that comforting. They are made with love and also with the sincere intention that they will be loved. The dolls are an extension of how we live our lives as a family. We try to nurish our bodies with food that is a pleasure to eat but that is also good for our bodies. We try to use products around our house that don’t have negative effects on the environment, but that smell really good. We craft to create natural beauty so that there is comfort in our home visually. Most importantly, we respect the gifts our environment provides and know that if we don’t reciprocate, it will not be there in the same manner in the future.
What do you hope your clients get from your products?
Generally speaking, the dolls are bought by parents to give to children. I hope the parents are able to take comfort in the extra details each doll comes with. For example: reinforced double stitching and double threading on major hand sewn seams for safety as well as longevity. I hope that children will hug and kiss their doll until the stuffing moves like a favorite pillow. I hope that there is a little stain on the bottom of the doll from where it was dropped on a painting project. I hope that its blush has faded from being held close while going on car rides. I hope, perhaps more than the rest, that the doll is loved dearly and is a companion throughout their childhood.
Can you share something personal (a memory, etc..) with my readers?
When I was in my late teens, I moved to the USA to go to massage school. I tried to make friends with people who looked like my friends back home in Canada. Earthy folk music loving people. Only where I was in Canada, the folk scene at the time revolved around traditional Irish folk mixed into an occasional punk beat. So when one of my newer friends came to tell me that Jerry Garcia died, I thought, no worries, the company will still make Cherry Garcia ice cream. I thought that the Jerry in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was Jerry Garcia . That friend never called on me again yet I learned something very valuable. Every thing you are ever into has a clique of people more into it than you. That know the lingo more than you and that dress the part more than you. There is also always someone who knows more authentically than you. So whenever I get into something new, I always know there are teachers out there and that I always have room to grow.
Rachel is giving away a beautiful doll worth $30! This delightfully spring-y waldorf-inspired doll is so adorable!
|look at that smile!|
|Custom sunshine baby bunting|
RULES FOR ENTERING:
To enter, you MUST complete #1 on the list. After that, feel free to enter as many additional times as you would like (#2-#6) and in any particular order you so choose. You must leave an additional comment for each entry for it to be valid. Please don't forget to leave me some way to get in contact with you if you are the winner.
- Like Oast's Facebook page, leave a comment on her wall saying that I sent you, and come back/comment here to let me know you did. :)
- Like my Facebook Page, then come back and let me know you have. If you are already a liker, let me know. :)
- Share this giveaway on your own blog, then come back here and comment, sharing the link to that post in the body of your comment.
- Share this giveaway on your own Facebook wall, tagging my or Rachel 's FB pages, then come back here and comment, letting me know you did.
- Go to her etsy shop and browse around, come back here and let me know what item you like the most.
- Become a follower of Rachel's blog, then come back and let me know you did and what your google name is.
Entries must be received by April 30th at midnight. Drawing will occur in the first week of May. Good luck!!!