Tell us about you
Hi, I am Rachel and I am a Canadian living in the UK. I live in a small farmhouse in rural Kent. We don’t work on the farm but benefit from watching the seasons change in the orchards and the beautiful birthing that takes place with the cows and sheep in the spring. The mark of the land in this area is the oast houses, which are the buildings where hops are dried for making beer. We happen to have a group of them that I look at as I craft and others on the rolling hills beyond the farm. My environment is very important to me and my surroundings are the ideal place for my small family to live. I have one husband, one child, and one one on the way. Another child, not another husband… oh you.
Tell us about your business
Oast is a Waldorf Doll shop. I have focused mostly on dolls for children 0 – 3 years old. That is starting to shift and I am enjoying the process of making jointed dolls for older children but they rarely make it as far as the shop.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in children. I love to watch how they connect with their toys and what they chose to attach themselves to. It is a powerful thing to observe, and often far out of the rationalization of adults. By this I mean, what we would chose for our children seems to rarely be what they would chose for themselves. Like the idea that children like the box a toy comes in more than the toy itself. I see that with dolls as well. Parents are drawn to the dolls with full heads of hair a bit more detailing while their young children are attracted to the simple faces and soft bodies. This helps me trust my craft and inspires me to see the special qualities in each developmental stage that corresponds to certain doll types.
What got you started in your craft?
As is the story of many Waldorf doll makers, I made my first one for my daughter and have been going strong ever sense. It is addictive to create something that a child will grow and share with. After seeing and hearing how children respond to the dolls themselves, I fell even more in love with the process. There is nothing like watching a child hug one of my dolls for the first time.
What’s your favorite thing you have ever made?
My daughter. Seriously the best craft project ever, and the most consuming.
How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I have been on Etsy nearly a year and I have found it slow going. I sell a product that has a lot of competition and I am just slowly making my way. I enjoy the process of creating and know that as long as I maintain the standards I have set for myself, the rest the sales will continue to come.
What do you hope to gain or contribute to the Natural Kids group?
I am pretty isolated where I live. The UK has amazing fiber arts and a lot of natural crafts people. I don’t have access to them on a regular basis from where I live. I hope to continue to be inspired by the NK community. I love the process of creating and also the professionalism projected by the team. I work very hard at not only making a high quality doll that is safe for children but one that will make many journeys. The Natural Kids group follow this same ethos. The doll makers on the Natural Kids Team are all amazing and I feel so happy to be amongst them. I am hoping that I will be able to contribute to the team through my enthusiasm and love of community.
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