Meet the Crafters: Goldfinch and Thistle
Goldfinch and Thistle describe themselves as a “two part collective with a passion for old-time remedies”. While new to the Crafters Market, Sarah-Jean and Najet knew each other all the way back to high school and recently reconnected after over their shared love of the outdoors and plants.
Goldfinch and Thistle prides itself on offering natural, chemical-free cosmetics, as well as advocating for what they call “nature intelligence” as part of a healthy lifestyle. “This is as much about taking time to build our relationship as friends, as it is about building a relationship with the area we live in,” they say. “We take a lot of time to make our product and we strongly connect with the Slow Movement; our focus has really been about the process and not taking shortcuts.”
About Goldfinch and Thistle
Why did you choose the elements you did?
“We love being outside and going for hikes. We are always trying to test ourselves to identify more native plants each year. We started taking samples with us so that we could sketch them and learn more about their medicinal properties and uses. “We love the fact that our products are made from ingredients we have harvested ourselves.”
What is your process?
“Our practice follows the shifting seasons. In the spring and summer, we harvest herbs from trips to walking trails within Nova Scotia, and elsewhere across the country. In the fall, we dry our collection for use in herbal preparations such as infusions, decoctions and tinctures to be made in the winter months. By starting our process at the source, we make a connection to our home by seeing our ingredients alive and growing. This slow, seasonal method gives us the satisfaction of knowing the life cycle of our products. From hiking journal entries, we record where each ingredient was harvested and offer that information to our consumers. On the occasion that we run out of our harvested material, we substitute with organic dried herbs from local small businesses.”
How long have you been creating in this way?
“We have been experimenting with ingredients for 2 years, but we only just started our branding and defining our product line within the last 6 months.”
How did you find your business niche?
“We really lucked out. We just started posting things we were doing on social media sites and giving out samples as gifts. So far it has been pretty well received and we feel really excited with all the support and feedback we’ve been getting.”
If you were to describe your work’s personality in 3 words, what would they be?
“Honest, responsible, patient”
What inspires you to create?
How do you begin a new project?
“We look at the plants we’ve collected and review their medicinal properties. Then we narrow down possible combinations a bit further by experimenting with their fragrances and how they interact with each other.“
Where do you do your work?
“We work in SJ’s kitchen! There is lots of natural light, and a cat, and a rabbit, who provide inspiration/entertainment.”
What kind of music do you listen to while you work?
“We need to communicate a lot while we are making recipes, so we don’t often listen to music while we work. But this one time we listened to Klezmer music. It worked. Also, SJ plays accordion and drums in a sweet doom metal band and sometimes we’ll listen to new songs while we are getting prepped.”
A place you love?
An artwork or artist you love?
“We like the work of New Brunswick artist Graeme Patterson and New York artist Lori Nix. Basically, we have a mutual love for miniature things. Both people make tiny scenes and/ or stop motion animation sets.”
Favourite time of the year?
SJ “I like every part of every year.” Najet “Fall. The best of everything comes out in the fall.”
Three things you need in order to create?
“Humour, coffee and cheesecloth!”
A favourite quote?
It changes frequently, but Najet is pretty into these Shakey Graves lyrics as of late:
“If you value your life, stay off the drugs,
If you value the drugs, stay off the map,
If you value maps, you better travel son,
If you don’t want to travel, then you better run.”
SJ says, “Big sunglasses – cool band.” -Fenriz
A film or book you love?
“We racked our brains for a book we both read and came up with Fall On Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald. We both read it at a young age and it has left a lasting impression.”
What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?
SJ, “I can’t answer this question right now, I need to go make a stew.”
NG, “I get really, really clean when I’m putting something off. There is always enough time for a bath.”
What do you do when you’re not crafting?
“SJ is pursuing her degree in Early Childhood Education. She dances Flamenco and plays in her band Sea Witch”
“NG is a sculptor who graduated from NSCAD in 2013. She currently installs work in local galleries and does film set construction.”
When you’re not creating for the Crafters market, where can we find your work?
“We are working on launching our Etsy shop and have a few local companies we are in discussions with at the moment. In the meantime, orders can be placed by reaching us through our Facebook Page.”
What makes Halifax Crafters different from other shows?
“We love how it showcases young, local talent and is supportive of new start-up ventures. It helps to put young entrepreneurs on the map and spreads the word.”
The Fresh Catch Category is Sponsored by Made In The Maritimes