Over the next several months we'll be sharing the who and why behind handmade. One of the many facets that makes a handmade item so very special when you pick it up in your hands, when you use it every morning or night, is the story that comes with it. We will introduce you to our makers, who they are, why the do what they do, what story is behind what you cherish.
We bring these words through our soap maker, Jana Hester with Little Cabin Soaps, and Lawrence Peters, with BeWoven Studio. When we say from our heart to your home, we mean it.
From Jana Hester:
With every addition to the Bright Angel Collection....my heart breaks a little bit more. The Kimberly Blue soaps are now cured...it was her birthday last week. Her family will spread her ashes at the end of this month.
Soon there will be a peach scented Georgia soap ..... and soon an addition to the Bright Angel Collection, called Jetzskis.
Why do I make soap in honor of those we've lost? I don't, I just do. It is a tangible thing I can do, I can focus, I can create with major purpose and intent. I can create something solid, something that IS, something that exists.....when hearts are breaking and ache for what is lost - the physical hug, to hold the one they love. The face you've shared coffee with. The friend you've called so many times. The eyes of the creature you've loved for SO many years. The paws that have trotted beside you for so many days... weeks ... months... years. You don't know my bright angels, however I can allow you to know them through a bar of soap. I can share my broken heart, my great great love, my deepest loyalty with you, through a bar of soap.
Something I hear SO often when someone picks up a bar... "oh my gosh this smells like..." and they share a story of someone they loved with me, they REMEMBER. Memories are held in that bar, memories I didn't know were there. It brings such joy to my heart to witness someone become flooded with memories, and smile. Comfort, a hug, through a bar of soap. Sometimes it helps me, the maker, to bring you something you can hold again in your hands. Sometimes it helps me, the grieving soap maker, to let you know the great loves of my life. Sometimes it helps you, the grieving person, to share the great loves of your life with me - and we come up with something to help you remember, the way you want to.
Together we can honor and remember my yellow dog...who I will miss more than I thought my body could take. I can introduce you to my friend Kim, who I miss so much. I myself can get to know Georgia, through Lawrence and creating this special bar to honor his friend. I thank you all, humbly. From the bottom of my heart. With all that I am. For supporting handmade. What is in handmade? Handmade is a focus when life is felt through a wall of tears. Handmade is a purpose when the days are dark. Handmade is an idea when life is calm. Creation truly comes from my soul. When I say from my heart to your shower, I mean it with all of my being. When I say it is a hug in a bar of soap, truly, it is.
From Lawrence Peters:
Her laugh... I met her at a party and heard this boisterous, high energy laugh - I had to find who it came from. The laugh is a reflection of her love of life and of people. No matter where she went, she embraced who she encountered. She was full of stories – the end of her marriage which involved a gun, her grandmother’s way of checking the hens for eggs, her stint as a coat check girl in NYC night club checking in & out coats all night long with ear plugs in her ears.
Her spirit was always unbowed regardless of what challenge she faced. I do not think that Georgia truly knew the word, no. Or the term, can't do. She went from being a mother and wife to founding and running an arts council. She went to New York City and worked for a major ad agency and then for big name accounts. She eventually ran her own public relations firm handling small businesses in the fashion industry.
She did not begrudge the tough circumstances that came her way. She was fearless. If money was tight, but she wanted to go back to South Carolina for the holidays, she would take the all-night bus south. Doing this was an adventure. She looked forward to meeting who she met. She was the least judgmental person I have ever known.
Georgia hosted wonderful barbecues in the backyard of that Brooklyn apartment. There was a fortunate gang of us who were privileged to be invited and to partake in the conviviality that buzzed around her. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Greek Easter were all wonderful. People were crammed everywhere but it was a delightful swarm of revelers. She so loved cooking especially Greek dishes – pasticcio and dalmatas were her signatures. I cherish the fact that I convinced her to use ground turkey instead of beef for those stuffed grape leaves she brought to my gatherings. And, the egg-lemon sauce she paired with it makes my mouth water as I remember the taste.
I will never forget the time we had to redo her birthday. Somehow her friend, Nick, was told the wrong day. He adored Georgia and the “gang” knew that he would be disappointed to have missed the party. His health was rapidly declinding, so we did the party again the next day. Another cake, another barbecue, the whole shebang. I think that Georgia even rewrapped the gifts.
A few months later a number of us and Georgia attended his funeral. We were a multi-racial mosaic surrounded by individuals of clear Greek descent who were dressed in black leather jackets or coats. When we left, we took a car service back to Georgia’s apartment. She swore that the white limo was the same one that picked up Nick when he had the first date with the love of his life.