Here we find ourselves, once again, at the Etsy Artist once a month feature. On this seventeenth day of June I bring you an individual I discovered rather auspiciously. One day on the front page of Etsy I saw an image of some brightly colored balls, I clicked on them because I thought the image might work nicely in a treasury. To my delight, I discovered that those colorful round objects were gluten free aromatherapy clay balls!! The creatrix of these enchanting and soothing clay balls is Kari Erickson of Seattle, Washington.
Rather auspiciously my aromatherapy teacher and very dear friend Jade Shutes lived and taught aromatherapy in Seattle. Jade currently lives in back east in North Carolina with her sweet little son Soren and partner Matt.
The three of us, Greg, Eve and myself had the pleasure of experiencing all of Kari's scent charming aromatherapy balls. We each seem to have our own favorite. Eve, my teen age daughter, adores the bright magenta colored ball scented with geranium essential oil. As she plays with it she remarked, "Nice texture, almost like its not there. It's as if your playing with air. The ball feels so nice in your hands, it's the perfect size and makes my hands smell great. I'd like to be able to take the geranium scented one to school and whip it out during stressful classes."
Greg, who we refer to as the critic, was very impressed though and through. He loves the presentation, the materials and the graphics. His favorite ball is the Cardamom with Lemongrass and Lavender coming in second and third. As he played he remarked, "I like the consistency, it's very soothing to squeeze it in between my fingers."
As I type this post I have just been kneading the Bergamot scented ball while drinking my Earl Grey tea. Wafts of bergamot float up from my typing fingers, how grand. These balls work on so many exquisite levels, I am so enchanted! First off they are vegan, made by hand and support a mother with two young children. Next, they are made with pure, essential oils so while you experience the tactile aspect of the ball and the joy of play the power of aromatherapy comes in as well. Once you are done the packaging suggests washing your hands, however if you are off to the office I suggest allowing the aromatherapeutic aspects of the essential oils to continue their work.
We noticed that some of the balls are more fragrant than others. Although the Bergamot seemed light upon whiffing from the container, once I began handling it the aroma was much more prominent.
These are probably the best kept secret on Etsy, I highly recommend getting at least one of these and experiencing them for yourself. I can see therapists utilizing these with their patients as way of unwinding and getting individuals to get out of their heads. perfect for taking along car or airplane trips. This Christmas they will make fantastic gifts for all ages, stock up now!
See Kari's shop on Etsy here: http://www.MamaKs.etsy.com
Now...time for the interview, let's get to know Kari shall we...
1.) What is the one thing you find most inspiring to feed your creative spirit?
Everything in my life is in a huge state of flux at the moment. I'm in the midst of what I'd call 'intensive mothering'. Both of my kids are under 4 so things that I may have done just a few short years ago (singing from a rooftop at 4 am, bottle of wine in hand, for example) are out of the question. So now I play a little music when I can, play with my little growing ladies, get my hands dirty in the garden, and cook a lot. I think that growing our own food is hugely inspiring. Eating something fresh from the garden almost always makes me feel alive. And cooking
and being in the kitchen have always brought me a sense of peace, a release from frustration, and a creative boost as well. And there's nothing like eating your creation when you're through! If only we could do that with other things we make.
2.) What is your favorite scent from the natural world?
It's funny you ask that again, because I was reading one the giveaway with Xenotees on April 15th and her answer was the smell of tomato plants. I have to say that I agree with her wholeheartedly. My husband built me a greenhouse for Mother's day this year (romantic, no?) and it is full to the gills with tomato plants. There is something so intoxicating about walking in there. Magical. I have also just discovered Moroccan Chamomile. Oh wow. Of the clays that I make it is the most soothing to me. I keep one in my bag and get it out in the car or at random moments and just breathe it in. It's amazing how well it works.
3.) If you were Queen of a village what would you wish for your kingdom?
Since I AM the queen of a village, albeit a village of four, plus the occasional straggler, that should be an easy one! but alas, it's not.... I suppose I would like a village of easygoing, smart creative spicy people that still had the ability to work hard! So, a well fed, well rested, smart, zesty, fulfilled village. We'll get there some day, I hope.
4.) How did you find yourself creating clay aromatherapy balls?
The evolution started really with the growth of my 1st daughter, Olimpia. As I said before I like to be in the kitchen, so it's natural that our activities are sometimes centered around it. I started by just making the plain ol' play dough recipes you can find on the internet and in activity books. Of course as time went by I started refining the recipe and just for fun started adding essential oils. We would experiment with what felt the best and smelled the best. Olimpia (she's 3 1/2 now) is a great tester. I started giving it to friends and some of it ended up in the hands of a therapist here in Seattle. She suggested that it would be better for her clients were it gluten-free. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with a recipe that is totally my own invention. And then, I must confess, the real push came when I read a horoscope by Rob Brezny that said that if I wanted to end up like Darwin and not like Alfred Russell Wallace that I had better hurry up. And 'Mama K's Aromatic Play Clay' was born.
5) As a work at home mom what tips can you give other work at home moms?
I've got a lot of learning to do as far as that's concerned. One thing I'm trying to be conscientious about is not dividing my time and attention in a scattered way. I'm generally a fluid person, so it can be hard for me to set boundaries and stick with them. Work time is work time, play time is for play. Also it can be hard to feel like you're ever going to get anything done. But there's a lesson in Aesop's Fables that has been with me my whole life and that I think everyone should always remember: slow and steady wins the race.
Thank you so much Kari for sharing a bit of yourself with all of us!
I feel so blessed and grateful to have met you.
I feel so blessed and grateful to have met you.
For the giveaway today Kari has generously selected her Aromatic Play Clay Tube of Five. This set of clay includes one a 4 ounce tub of each of the following: lavender/soothe, sweet orange/uplift, bergamot/ ease the anxious, lemongrass/inspire, geranium/balance and chamomile/relaxation. This is very generous of her, the containers are much larger than they appear in the photo above.
Here's how to enter:
Begin by leaving a comment on this post mentioning your favorite item from Kari's etsy shop. She would also appreciate any suggestions you have for her regarding her current products or suggestions for new items. You may only enter once and you must include your first name -and- etsy username or email address with each entry or it will not be included.
For additional entries, you can do the following and post in the comments to let me know:
(2 extra) Twitter this Giveaway and supply your twitter name
(3 extra) Follow my blog (if you already follow, just let me know)
(3 extra) Become a fan of Mama K's Aromatic Play Clay on Facebook, (if you already are a fan of Mama K's on Facebook, just let me know)
If you do any of these you must let me know for your additional entries to be included. You got the "let me know part" right?
More fine print, learned along the way
1. If we cannot contact you we will give your prize away to someone else.
2. The featured seller will do their very best to mail the winners package in a timely manner, please contact them directly if you have any questions.
3. Each entry is printed and cut out, I then place the entries into a hat, basket or bowl and have someone handy pick a name from all the entries. We now choose a runner up.
4. If you have won the Artist Feature and Giveaway in the past you may enter again.
The giveaway ends Sunday, June 21st (The Summer Solstice) at 1opm PST with the winner announced on Monday, June 22nd. Please get the word out, these are really fabulous and the whole world kneads them.