If you're lucky enough to have a conversation with leather maker and naturalist Sarah Wilson (of Arc of a Diver fame), you'll be hard-pressed to find a more passionate and heartfelt and advocate for slow, alternative living. Nestled in the woods of Washington, she crafts women's leather and wool goods (between raising chickens, studying naturopathy and banning plastic, of course!) with a detailed eye and emblazoned soul. Meet Sarah, today's Everyday Icon:
You're a leather maker who lives deep in the woods of Washington. Tell me how you carved out such a slow lifestyle for yourself? Have you always been prone to a more natural lifestyle, or was this the impetus of a particular experience?
My husband and I just want to live in a setting surrounded by nature and don't want to see any civilization from our home. We want the ability to grow food, have animals, find discoveries on nature walks and hear and see wildlife and rugged flora transform throughout every season.
I think the development of a rather 'slow life' started after high school, when I went to school in Hawaii. The 'island living' really ingrained itself in me, it was a simple life that appreciated the natural beauty and bounty of your surroundings and the word 'overwhelmed' was never used or applicable. I try to live like that- be it in Hawaii or now, the Pacific Northwest.
A call to a natural lifestyle came together when my dad gave me a book that was about bringing your life back to a simpler time that honors ancient traditions, foods, herbs, the earth and the God who created all those things.
While there may be people who scoff at the practices of our previous generations and ancestors, there are many things to glean from them that would help many modern situations physically, environmentally and even relationally.
You're currently studying ancestral health, Naturopathy and herbal medicine. Why are these subjects important to you, and what are you learning so far?
These subjects are important to me because it is so sad how far we have wandered from them. While there are some benefits to modern technology, many modern practices, companies and organizations are sacrificing what is beneficial for our health, families and environment for pure greed and control.
I became more and more passionate about these subjects when I found out more about the organizations and companies that we trust. How many more chemicals and toxins will be regarded as safe after you and your family have been the guinea pigs for years, or the quality and array of life giving organisms in our soil is completely depleted, or cancer is the number one killer? So far, I have learned so much it makes me crazy.
I have become enlightened about plants, herbs, balance, food and the body, but there is such a vast amount that we have left to learn about the power of plants and how the body works. It's like the oceans, we have only explored and understood so much, and just when we get confident that we know it all, we find new species of life- even into 2014!
In a 'controlled paragraph' (ha!), I have learned: to identify wild edibles and weeds that are great for the health of the body, the strong importance of beneficial-bacteria-filled soil for our foods, essential oils are powerful, lacto-fermentation, anaerobic fermentation, consuming beneficial bacteria makes all the difference in the world, permaculture, the importance of grounding your bare feet to the earth, traditional peasant food recipes are the most nourishing, raw milk heals, local produce should be your only produce, know your farmer very well, avoid everyday toxins by making products yourself or knowing the companies you buy from very well, saunas and hot baths should be done regularly, turn off your wi-fi when not using it, drink pure water without fluoride or chlorine, ban plastic from your home, do yoga or another likeable movement, buy second hand instead, sun on your skin is important, don't eat GMOs, make as much time as you can for the things that you enjoy in life and empower yourself with knowledge and information!
I love this stuff.
How can busy, modern women adapt a portion of a slower, more authentic and natural lifestyle?
Stand back and look at your life and readjust your priorities.
Really, just look at your life with fresh eyes. What is it all about? What is really going on? Critique it, and then throw out a few things, at least, and then move forward. If your life is busy then just choose. You can't do it all, and do you really want to?
Also remembering that money is never what is most important.
Do you live by a particular mantra or motto? If so, can you share? If not, what drives you instead?
I don't know about a mantra or motto, but I know creativity drives me pretty strongly. I have to create and make things, and they have to be legitimate to me- no crafty hour around here. I have to really stretch myself to think of designs and executions in many different facets. From when it comes to what to build for my chickens so that they can free range and also be protected from coyotes, to making my wedding dress with 30 yards of fabric or just having a typical day at work in the studio. I guess I am a little extreme too, which helps.
My parents have always been crazy supportive of me and any tangent or avenue of creativity I venture down. I can come to my mom with ideas, inspirations and brainstorming and my dad helps with direction, wisdom and reassessment. My amazing and strong husband is the real drive, he is the yin to my yang. He will see something that I never would have noticed or picked up on. He has different perspectives and strengths and really sharpens me as a person and as an artist. But I would not be where I am in life and so blessed if I didn't find my strength and purpose in the Lord. When I don't spend time in meditation with Him, I am lost.
Clementine Daily's mission is to live a simplified, intentional and authentic lifestyle while celebrating the simpler pleasures of our days. How do you relate to this mission?
Oh, I love it. It is so concise and pure. My favorite part is the authenticity. I want women to find their genuineness and individuality. How much more beautiful everyone's days would be if they were doing what they were born to do, regardless of discouragement, low self confidence or an unwillingness to even try!
What are a few everyday items you wouldn't want to live without?
I don't want to live without my Le Creuset, I cook everything in it, my Keys Skincare items, Uncle Harry's tooth care products, Wigwam wool socks, Frankincense essential oil and my Genesis tour of '86 shirt.
Anything you'd like to add?
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, dwell on such things.”
p.s. Our slow fashion favorites.