Gallery carrying locally-made line of soaps

If you scour the local landscape, you can clean up your act and shower yourself in natural goodness.

A local artist and entrepreneur has a growing business based on a principle she calls "wildcraft" which uses handmade creativity and ingredients from the local garden, farm and forest.

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Teresa DeReis is the forager and financeer behind her newly released Signature Artisan Soap Collection, which was released for the public at the Two Rivers Gallery Gift Shop.

"This collection represents what is most important to me: community, nature, the simple beauty and abundance they provide," said DeReis, who made the soap from her own garden, wanderings in the forest and visits with local farmers.

She was inspired, she said, by local businesses like Hope Farm Organics, Betulla Burning and Birch & Boar which all work together to bolster their individual business case but at the same time help out the others. They stand together, which gives them each a more personal sense of where their products and services come from, which gets passed on to their customers.

"I love seeing local restaurants buying from local farmers - it's one of the best things that can happen for the sustainability of our community," she said. "Anyone buying from local farmers, it's so important. It's something I try to do as much as possible."

DeReis had made soaps before, so this collection was an extra step up on a familiar task. She worked closely with Hope Farm Organics and enjoyed the results so much it spiraled into this new collection.

Some of the bars are labelled as Happy Hippie, Goat's Milk Oatmeal & Lavender, Wild Mint and Blue Chamomile. There are also shampoo bars, as well as organic and vegan bars. The local and handmade nature of her work qualified the Signature Artisan Soap Collection for the Two Rivers Gallery shop, which puts strong emphasis on locally and artistically made commercial products.

"I was honoured to be invited by Two Rivers Gallery to have my soaps available in their gift shop," DeReis said. "They're familiar with my products, since I've been doing their Artisan and Maker Fairs for a few years now, and I really appreciate their support of my work."

The collection is finite, so when it's sold out, there is not automatic resupply until DeReis can craft more.

She also writes a blog and teaches do-it-yourself classes to help people with their own adventures in self-sufficiency. That's the name of her online column. Find her on Facebook under the page title Adventures In Self Sufficiency or look up her website at www.adventuresinselfsufficiency.com.

She has a range of nature-based products and services for sale, but she is also keen to teach her ways to others interested in the roots of sustainable living.

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