– When Ms. Wilder approached me about an interview this winter, I admit I was hesitant. It seems strange to talk about yourself but at the same time I liked the idea of someone asking me about my work rather then me putting it in your face as I tend to do all on my own. Her questions were thought provoking and a good exercise in affirming where I am coming from and where I am going with my work. Please check out this article, give it a share and add your thoughts in the comments there or here! Thank You Zoe and and Skirt Collective!
Photo By Geraldine Vallecillos
“As an empathetic artist, I am constantly absorbing energy from my customers and situations. In business, you are supposed to look out for your bottom line. My bottom line is the customer. The balance is tough.”
The terms “homesteading” and “DIY” are relatively new. They didn’t exist because that was simply how people lived their lives. Our great grandmothers had gardens where they grew vegetables and fruit. Everything had natural ingredients. That’s all there were. It was the norm. In so many ways, the world has wandered so far away from that connection between who we are and what we consume.
However, I’ve noticed a growing awareness in the world about where our food comes from, whether it’s made with love and good intentions, and how that affects our health. I see this awareness moving towards skin care products, jewelry and fashion. As people become more enlightened about intention, more spiritual entrepreneurs are rising to the occasion to meet the demand.
One of the most prolific conscious creators I’ve met is Jersey Shore artist, BethKaya. She’s been making jewelry, perfumes, soaps and intentional tonics for me for years. It’s been a real pleasure to watch her succeed. I’m continually inspired by her creations, which inspired me to reach out and ask her a few questions about her craft.
ZW: When did you know you wanted to- had to- create art for a living?
BK: At a very young age, I knew that art, ancient culture, and gems were things I couldn’t live without. As an adult, I did hard time in corporate marketing for a decade with an end goal to make art the full time gig some day. In 2002, I started making various goods like candles, jewelry and salves. I had intended to be a jewelry designer and gemologist by trade, and that’s what I studied at night at the Fashion Institute in New York City while doing that hard time, but it never felt like a real possibility until I had my son. Something about that forces you to give it a go for the sake of being home, and needing a unique income option. I figured I might as well give a go at everything I had pipe dreamed from the beginning, and see if it would stick. Some things did, some didn’t but my voice and identity as an artist started to emerge and so far, so good.
ZW: How do you incorporate holism and spirit into your practice as an artist?
BK: Frankly, it’s the foundation of my work. As I got deeper into motherhood (one of the holiest sacraments) and being a one income family, I started to see every opportunity to do – from less and closer to nature. There’s so much waste spiritually and literally in society, even in business. I realized that the practices I was using in my home to keep my faith and family healthy were the very things that people were connecting to most within my body of work. We have a massive garden. We preserve flowers, herbs and spices. I connect so deeply to our garden and its gifts. For that, I am so grateful. The gratitude is a major component to the spiritual part. Sacred geometry is an inherent component of this because it IS nature, and spirit’s language. Being an international business woman and gem dealer gives me the unique ability to connect with different cultures all over the world for the raw materials that I make my products from. The connections I make seem to trust me in a special way, and offer their customs and rituals to me with an open mind. I believe all of our cultures are meant to be celebrated and am thirsty to connect to sacred customs and mythology. Intention is another facet to my work. It is an energy vibration I deal with, by imbuing these thoughts into my pieces and ministry works.
ZW: I’m in love with your gemstone and botanical infused oils and perfumes; and I’m not the only one. You’re ability to combine scents is out of this world. You have a “superpower” called synesthesia that allows you to smell and taste colors and sounds. Tell me more about this and how it informs your practice.
BK: I never really knew my senses were different until I asked other people if they too tasted color or could smell something like sound. I mean, I knew I was out in left field for other reasons. But, this realization and perfume was a fork in the road. I think that this crossing of sensory wires grants me to cross-create a product like a perfume that will recreate a moment in time for someone on a 360 degree level with a specific energy.
ZW: What are you focusing your creative energy towards lately?
BK: It’s always hard for me to focus on one medium, but the theme is just gemstone and botanical infused products with a specific intention – mostly holistic body care and perfumes. I still am doing custom jewelry pieces as well as orgone energy devices, but that’s being pushed more into the background.
ZW: When you are feeling spiritually bankrupt, what inspires you?
BK: Shutting everything down, and going out into nature with my husband and son. We reconnect and fuel up on the good stuff that life is about. Also prayer – I think praying is really a conversation with our higher selves, spirit and our guides. It’s important to check in with that on a regular basis. This plays into an attitude of gratitude that resets me when I am down on faith.
ZW: While more and more people are becoming hip to the concept of intention and the role this plays in what they eat and wear, there are still many people who have not been introduced to this idea. How do you reach the mainstream? Or rather, how does the mainstream make its way to you?
BK: A lot of spiritual concepts seem to come in and out of vogue. Right now “crystal energy” and “intention” have become hot buzzwords. Frankly, I see a lot of it watered down as a marketing gimmick, but I also see a lot of genuine interest in boarding a “spiritual arc” so to speak. This is an awakening that is growing rapidly, and extending itself to social media. Partnering with peers who are participating in this journey as well as using hashtags to call in those interested in seeking out what I am putting out there has drawn in the unique audience that appreciates and utilizes my work to the fullest.
ZW: How do you balance being an artist with being an entrepreneur?
BK: This part is pretty tough, admittedly. As an empathetic artist, I am constantly absorbing energy from my customers and situations. In business, you are supposed to look out for your bottom line. My bottom line is the customer. The balance is tough. I have to create for myself in addition to the demands of my clients. So I try to create a few things for myself before I jump into orders and purify my space via prayer and smudging. I focus well at night. And, I really am a better business woman in that zone than I am by day.
ZW: Homesteading is a big part of your life: gardening, canning, making natural cleaners, etc. It has even inspired you to make your amazing natural skin care products. At first glance, becoming so self sufficient can seem overwhelming. What advice do you have for aspiring homesteaders?
BK: It’s overwhelming because it’s exciting. My first piece of advice is to grow something that will provide you with something in return. An herb garden is a great thing even if you are in an urban setting. Then, I recommend getting a big jug of white vinegar and two essential oils: tea tree oil and lavender. Those three things have a myriad of uses! Cleaning products, antibacterial functions, and crafts galore. There is so much information out there: forums, Pinterest, books. Dive in. Solve a problem for your home in a self sufficient way. This is the foundation!
You can follow BethKaya on IG and Twitter: @BethKaya
FACEBOOK: BethKaya Design & Consulting
ETSY: BethKaya Etsy