Having personally hand-picked and invited over 100 artists to take part in both the annual Carlisle Country Craft and Old-fashioned Market Mercantile as well as the Rural Creators’ Collective (the 1st and premiere Artists in the Attic!) I feel as though I want to keep up the momentum of promoting others who have a passion for the rural traditions and spirit of our ancestors as I do…
Tara Patey, On A Branch Soaps, Burlington, ON
A lovely woman I feel proud to have called my friend and colleague for many years now is being featured along with the Rustic Restroom Renovation posted a few days ago. It only makes sense to feature Tara Patey’s On A Branch Soaps in relation to the bathroom being finished, as I ordered 3 of our favourites from her, which also match the gold and grey (barnboard) décor of the new laundry/bath area. And they look fabulous in there! (see end of this posting)
Tara has been a stalwart and loyal artist of my Carlisle Country Craft and Old-fashioned Market Mercantile pioneer show in Ontario, has helped with extra committee work for both it and the Rural Creators’ Collective retails shop, and won one of the “Best Vendors” awards at the 2012 show both for her dedication to the theme of the show and for her booth set-up. She also had, in my opinion, one of the best-designed areas in the retail shop, as well!
Tara’s On a Branch Soaps are hand crafted in small batches using a traditional soap making process. Only natural essential oils are used to scent the soaps rather than synthetic fragrance oils. Clays, herbs and botanicals are added to the soaps that not only beautify it but also enhance the skin-loving qualities of the soap. All skin care products such as lip butters, facial oils and moisturizers are oil based and do not require the use of chemical preservatives and stabilizers. The three soaps I recently purchased were: her “Clean Sweep” with coconut oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, rice bran oil, water, sodium hydroxide, australian black clay, essential oils, organic shea butter. This has the wonderful grey colour I wanted… Also, her “Bee’s Knees” (gotta love Tara’s quirky punny names, too!) with olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, rice bran oil, organic carrot juice, sodium hydroxide, local ontario honey. And her “Penelope”, with olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, rice bran oil, essential oils, cocoa powder, and rhassoul clay. Richard’s favourite is her “Tiger Tail” which smells and looks like Tiger Tail ice-cream and emanates the most marvelous smell of black licorice. He’ll probably receive another bundle of it for his X-mas gift again this year.
Tara also kindly sent along a bottle of her “Ray of Sunshine” liquid soap, which certainly makes it easier for Richard’s greasy hands to keep off the pretty bars ! I have always loved Tara’s On A Branch name, and her little bird. Here’s what she says about that:
“After a curing period of 4 weeks, each bar of soap is wrapped in decorative, recyclable paper and hand stamped with my blue bird of happiness. The decorative paper means the soap is ready for gift giving as is. The little blue bird ensures that each bar of soap is ready for use. Since I designed the bird and hand carved the stamp I use, each bar of soap truly is an expression of the artisan who made the soap.”
I hope anyone reading this blog will purchase a selection of Tara’s great On A Branch products. She also has balms, lip butters, deodorants, insect repellants and much more. See her etsy site to purchase, (below). Her prices are unbelievably reasonable considering the work involved, and she has a great offer for 3 soaps for the price of only 12.50 (u.s.d.). Tara’s background is eloquently described here, in her own words:
‘It all began when I was 5 years old, making mud pies on the side of our dirt road in Newfoundland. It continued when I was 7 years old, to the great delight of my mom, by mixing her various cosmetics and toiletries together in the bathroom of the two storey house built by my grandfather. A seed was planted in my 21 year old brain by the discovery of an old soap making book found in a used bookstore in Guelph, Ontario. The confidence to mix the various ingredients required to make soap was gained from a degree in applied chemistry and biology. Many years later, inspiration was found from spending my days with two young boys that make me laugh, from the books that have been my companions since childhood and from stepping outside my front door.”