(Me:...mixin' soap, ...painting faeries, mermaids & witches, spinning fiber, in the garden. )
Greetings & Welcome Visitors...I'm Carol Ochs (like "Oaks")
Take a child of the forest with mad wizardry skills...sprinkle with herbs, spin with yarn, sift in Wise Woman ways, drizzle-in a passion for the magical, tap with a magic wand...err... paintbrush, and what do you get? Wull...ME, I guess! For this is what I do, and make my living at! Old World crafts I offer in celebration of the natural, magical, perhaps *other* world! I'm self, or family-taught at all the crafts I create, and hope to share them in a way that inspires you to connect (or re-connect) with "hand made", Earth, Old Ways, childhood memories,...and perhaps feelings unseen but felt,... magic invisible but known!
I live and work in a cottage in San Diego with my adorable musician/contractor husband whom I'm madly in-love with. My home-based workshop and art studio are surrounded by gardens and our many critters. We have three grown & amazing children whom I also adore who are all off on their own now- two sons and a daughter....a paralegal/artist/crafter, a carpenter/musician, and a professional women's soccer player.
I LOVE being able to craft and work from home! When I'm not creating things for the business, I like to hike, mountain bike, get lost in forests, play with my pups and cats, garden, enjoy music, reading, writing, sports, and pretty much anything that is "throwback" old, including typwriters. And I seriously doubt there is any craft that I have not tried!
Autumn is my favorite time of year, Halloween my most-cherished holiday that I spend way-longer than the month of October enjoying! In fact people often ask me if and/or assume I'm a witch, because I love the magic of Halloween so much, and am always concoting things, own black cats, and talk to my animals a lot, and yes...DO wear black a lot! If that's what consititutes a witch, then I must BE! LOL! I hope to one day live in a forest of my very own, perhaps homestead, raise my own vegetables, horses, goats, chickens, and an alpaca or two!
I appreciate your visit here, and hope you find a treasure or two for your own realm or circle of gift-giving! Come again!
When did you start your businesses?
Which business came first, soap or art, is hard to say; as I've been mixing potions, loving baths, scribbling and painting, stitching and looping, with a busy imagination all my life. But the invention of the internet REALLY opened entrepeneurial doors.I started my soap business in 1994, art in 2004....and more recently (2010) offering my handmade fiber arts - shawls, etc.
Is this all you've ever done?
My past occupations include a 14-year career as a surgical assistant in the field of plastic surgery which I LOVED! I had the opportunity to do much traveling in this work, around the USA and South America!
But another path lurked, especially upon David & I finding one other! The sky cracked, stars shot, we both instantly knew we'd found our other half, it truly was love at first sight! We married, started a family! I enjoyed a 10-year career as a childcare provider while raising my own three beautiful children, two boys and a girl, now grown. Wee ones have always been my favorite folk! This can cause one to become quite creative seeking stay-at-home income! It gave me the chance to reconnect with past callings I've always had. Jack of all trades & with a lifelong love of words, I was also a staff writer for a community newspaper, and freelanced as a proofreader/typist of student's papers/theses for a local college. I became a graduate of The Institute of Children's Literature. I also worked as a calligrapher, hired by wedding coordinators and event planners to artistically pen invitations & announcements.
Gardening, a love of critters, herbal lore & the history of natural remedy medicine, Old World and Wise Woman Ways, medieval history, mythology, all funnel themselves into my current ambitions.
Thanks for your interest! It is an honor I never get used to ,or stop appreciating! I welcome your notes and comments: simplysoap(at)aol.com
If you'd like to follow our updates and new products and art, please make avail of our newsletter sign-up and the social networking links on the upper right hand corner of this page and throughout our site!
More questions about becoming a soapmaker answered at the following link....
About Carol (MORE)
I'm asked almost daily if I conduct tours of my workshop. Not at this time, unfortunately. My residential zoning and liability insurance prevents me from being able to do so. However I appreciate the interest folks have in asking about where I do what I do (I'm always curious about the creative spaces of other artists/crafters, too!) and I consider it a real joy & gift to be able to work-from-home! Apparently this page is listed on several soapmaking sites as an example-workshop.....so here are some photos for ya's:
Ten steps out my backdoor is a custom-built (by previous owner) 3-car-garage-size, 800 sq. ft. workshop. My first "workshop" was the kitchen of our previous house just down the street. But it didn't take long before the soap biz was taking over the household and every spare top of furniture was covered in curing soap bars! So while it is certainly possible to have a soap business working from your kitchen, there is undeniable space advantages to having a separate work area! I happened to get very lucky when a neighbor/soap customer was selling this house (and we were looking to buy) and he had built this workshop on the property for his exotic car repair business. But really, any garage can be converted, or a shed added to property! I've known of soapmakers who space-share with bakeries or other industrial type facilities, even use their RV for soapmaking. I've heard of a number of creative crafters transforming travel trailers into Vardo Gypsy Wagons to serve as both their manufacturing "plant" as well as their store-on-wheels to take to faires and other selling venues! How cool is THAT? There's always ways around finding room for a business that requires more space, and perhaps avoid, or lessen the overhead cost of building-from-scratch, a new structure to your own property! :) An impressive gallery of ideas is at www.tuffshed.com!
In the house, I turned this room into my art studio when middle child Nick grew-up and moved out. Prior to that, I had an art table set-up out in the workshop. But I often only have time to paint at night, and nights got REALLY cold out there in winter! I asked my husband if he wanted the now vacant room for his music studio, but when he took more than 10 seconds to respond I said "OK, it's MINE then!"--heh heh. It doubles as my fiber storage room, and a spare bedroom for company, and mostly the bed serves as a dreaming bed, a place to lie and catch the most perfect breeze, ...and imagine things to paint! (In the tank is "Newman", our baby ball python snake....also inherited from son Nick along with the room, and he's really quite charming as far as snakes go!)
I'm just as likely to be found drawing or painting in any of the nooks or hidden benches in the garden, or spinning yarn on the patio....outside is where I feel most creative! Lucky for me, I live in a warm climate that allows for lots of time outdoors! But a blustery cold day is just as inspiring!
Thanks for visiting! ~Carol
About Carol (MORE)