I am an artist, educator, gardener and fermenter whose interests are rooted in transforming earth based raw materials and plants into things that are beautiful, tasty and useful. I founded Karen's Botanicals-Natural Skin and Body Care Products and I am co-owner of Nu-Art Graphics-Industrial Screen Printing and Die Cutting, located in West Chester, PA. Until recently when the newspaper downsized, I was writing a column on fermentation for the Reading Eagle. Those articles continue now on my blog.
I began gathering wild plants and turning them into potions as a child. My first product was called Huckleberry Finn Water (Wildberry Lifesavers soaked in warm water). Later, I learned to raise and preserve food- canning, pickling, brining, salting, fermenting everything from vegetables, beer and bread to cheese and sauerkraut. Later, living in Kodiak, I made plant medicines and healing lotions and learned how to smoke and pickle fish, kelp, and tofu. Meanwhile, as an artist/ceramicist, I learned how to blend and form raw materials- earth, fire, water, and air- into pottery and sculpture. In 2004, after 20 years of teaching high school art, I resigned in order to start a business manufacturing organic skincare products made from plant-based raw materials, a process in which fire is also essential.
In June, 2011, I sold Karen's Botanicals to a wonderful couple, Pam and Edward Mitchell from Taylorsville, Georgia. With new found time, I am now transforming the alchemy of making lotions and potions into the alchemy of making organic goat cheese, wild yeasted beer, fermented foods, and ceramic fermenters, along with music and art. My interests remain rooted in a fascination of transforming earth-based, raw materials into useful, tasty, and beautiful things.
Today, I make and sell stoneware crockery and pottery and teach classes in all kinds of fermentation and herbal lotion and potion making. I study and learn constantly and almost every day can be found working in the studio or garden, trying a new kind of fermentation or pottery technique, collecting wild plants, or designing new classes. It really doesn't matter that much what I make, as long as it starts with raw materials.
I love sharing my passions with others; join me for some of my upcoming classes.
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