Pick Me! Pick Me! Portland Saturday Market's Member of the Month

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If you’ve been following us this summer, you know our weekend plans are always the same: Portland Saturday Market. After all, what better place to be? So, we were thrilled when PSM organizers chose First Sight Soap as their Member of the Month for September. Here’s our featured profile, in case you missed it.

1. How did you get started in your particular craft medium(s)?

After years of trailing behind my wife in the body care aisle while she read labels and rejected products containing harsh chemicals and other irritants, I started to research making our own soaps and lotions. I had studied ceramics in school and worked for 15 years as a mason, so I knew I could learn how to mix and source ingredients, and that I would enjoy the creative side of designing color and aromatic combinations. I started reading and watching videos about soap-making and just began experimenting. Now I build my own soap molds, and use my own techniques for add color and other design elements. It’s always been my goal to make skin products that work really well, and reduce the toxic chemicals that we expose ourselves to. 

2. Where do you draw influence from?

I’m part of a network of soap makers within the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild, and that community influences my work. But I’m also heavily influenced by the people I meet every day who use our products, or who are searching for something that meets their needs. I learn a lot from just talking to people about why they’re interested in natural body care. I look to nature for new combinations of colors and scents, but then, I guess, ideas about packaging and the quality standards for our ingredients are influenced by like-minded people pursuing a natural lifestyle. 

3. What is the difference between PSM and other markets?

Being at PSM has helped expose our products to a much broader market – people visiting from other parts of the country and the world – and we’ve seen an increase in our website traffic as a result. Of all the markets and fairs we’ve worked, PSM is the best.

4. How would you describe the difference between "arts" and "crafts"?

I suppose a craft is something you learn and practice by replicating someone else’s process or technique. Art, on the other hand, can spring spontaneously from inside the artist, and might take shape in ways you never expected. 

5. What’s your favorite thing in the world right now?

I don’t have much interest in ‘things’ per se, but what I’m enjoying the most right now in my life is noticing all the ways life is interconnected. If you pay attention, you can see how energy flows and affects everything we do and feel. 

6. How long have you sold your wares at PSM? What encouraged you to apply/ keeps you vending with us now?

We’ve been at PSM since spring 2018 and it’s been a great experience! There’s a real camaraderie among the vendors, people sharing advice and just generally being a friendly, upbeat bunch. 

Jennifer SmithComment