Interview with The Base Element

Tell us about you and your work as an artist? What might we expect to see at Queen and Jackson?

The Base Element is alchemy for bath and body, so you’ll find body lotions, scrubs, soap, bubble bars, bath bombs, candles, and cosmetics. Good for everybody and every body! Everything is made with luxury ingredients that are fair trade whenever possible, not tested on animals (all my micas and colorants are Leaping Bunny certified), in small batches, and are free of scary chemicals with six-syllable unpronounceable names. If I can’t say it, I don’t use it! Shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, pure Castile soap, vegetable glycerin, castor oil, beeswax… all tried and true ingredients that are good for your skin.

Tell us about your inspiration for your art making?

I’d started making bath bombs with my niece and nephew when they were small. Then one Christmas, I made whipped shea butter with Kerry Turcotte of Lyer Lyer Soapcraft and a light went off in my head: if this is so easy, maybe I can make other things too? I was clueless but eager. And it spiraled out of control from there.

What is your favourite music? movie? book? podcast?

I love classical music and jazz, and sing traditional Irish music (rather well) and play the bodhran and tinwhistle (rather badly, but with great enthusiasm). I love Old Time Radio: Round the Horne, Beyond Our Ken, Goon Show, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, and Burns & Allen. I listen to podcasts CONSTANTLY. My iPod is 160GB and it is 7/8ths full! I love BBC podcasts like Comedy of the Week and News Quiz, How Stuff Works podcasts Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and Stuff Mom Never Told You, but the best of all are from our very own CBC: Under the Influence, Ideas, Tapestry, And the Winner Is, Rewind. Perfect to listen to especially when you’re doing a repetitive job like labelling soap. Music podcasts like KEXP Song of the Day are also awesome. You’ll be amazed at the gems you’ll find in their playlist.

I read voraciously but not very selectively. I prostitute my literacy. I feel disloyal about how much I love my Kindle, but nothing will ever replace the feel of a physical book in your hands. Plus Kindles don’t have that lovely book-y smell. I hate bad writing, so the Twilight and 50 Shades phenomena passed me by completely. My favourite book of all time? Anne of Green Gables. I learned to read on that one.

Films are among my favourite things and I love independent productions and blockbusters both. I’m first in line for a superhero film! It’s too hard to choose a favourite, but definitely among them are the Empire Strikes Back (blasters, not phasers) and the animated feature The Book of Kells.

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