Natalie - Bright Star

The path that led to my defining myself as someone who takes action with awareness in order to reconnect with the sacred, began in a timeless place, but the seeds of its consciousness sprouted in my childhood.

I was both a happy and sensitive child. I felt deeply; imagined richly; and dreamed freely. Then the death of a beloved aunt and the divorce of my parents (two unrelated events), caused me to imagine at that young age, that the world was no longer safe, and so I withdrew. Despite this inward shift, I never lost the belief in something inherently benevolent within the chaos I felt and observed. This belief in an inherent benevolence came to be a lifeline and anything that brought the scent of its sanity closer to me, I immediately grabbed hold of.

In the early 1980’s, at the end of the “summer of love” and the year of my eighth cycle around the sun, my mother and I moved to live within a community practicing Eastern spirituality. This was not a popular decision among my extended family, friends or the patrons of our Natural Foods store that we owned. But the move was a pivotal one , informing my context for life to one of spirit and living with awareness.  

Fast forward to my twentieth year around the sun—I took a trip to India. It was there that I met a people who really know ritual! There were Gods and Goddesses lining the dusty streets; plastic bobble-heads in rickshaws, forged of bronze and carved in stone in shops, in restaurants, homes, and in the slums. These iconic objects of ritual and the peoples’ ritual acknowledgement of them, wasn’t relegated to their temples. Instead, pujas were being practiced everywhere I turned; prayer filled lips and radiated from eyes, as chants and mantras seemed to float in the air thick as incense. Nothing appeared to be without purpose. No act bereft of intention or attention. Rich and poor, master and servant… ritual threaded through everyone and everything, holding all of life together in one vibrant fabric of intentional living. Every moment felt imbued with gratitude; each day a celebration of the mundane …and the mystical. I was hooked! For the first time in my life I felt completely at peace in my soul.

Grant it I understood that everything I was observing could easily be attributed to religious fervor and superstition, but whatever the case, the experience was a catalyst that activated a longing in me that was coded for melding the secular and the sacred in everyday life.  

The next 20 + years were filled with, falling in love, getting married, becoming a mother, earning an associate of Arts and a BA in Creative Writing/Studio Art as well as Certifications in Ayurvedic Head Massage or “Champi”, Shirodhara, Foundations of Ayurveda, Western Herbalism, Intuitive Plant Medicine, Holistic Crystal Healing, Facial Gua Sha. I have also studied other Ayurvedic modalities including Kansa, Abhyanga and Vastu Shastra. I consider myself a Holistic Wellness Advocate - drawing from my personal experience and ongoing education in Eastern Spirituality/Philosophy, Ayurveda, Western Herbalism, Energy Work and other esoteric teachings.

Like the right mixture of water, light and nutrients that germinate a seed, these events blossomed into my life’s work. Whether it is formulating my botanical remedies, my sculptural designs, or the beauty/body work treatments I offer, these are the bold and loving way I bridge the gap between what is sacred, and secular.

The essence of the work is love.

It is my fundamental belief that we are profoundly connected to each other—interwoven bits of the Universe. And that we each must find, create, and practice our own rituals in order to engage this connection in some way each day. And in so doing we build an inner substance—the stuff of joy—that brings meaning to existence.  

If like me you long to find your way back to spirit, and partake of the nourishment that exists within each unique moment, Bright Star and Buffalo invites you to find and create your ritual life, and bring more life to life!

 

Kelsey - Buffalo

Raised on a generational farm in Fowler, CO, I received an early initiation in metalwork from my father who taught me electric welding ...farmer style! My mother was a painter, ceramicist and dabbled in a variety of art forms, while my grandfather was a watchmaker and a jeweler. And my sister is an accomplished musician, visual artist, and art therapist. The odds of my becoming an accountant or a lawyer or a… well, were—in a word—slim.

It was the early 70’s when I took up studying art and sculpture at Colorado University. That experience set a course for me to find an art form to call my own-- a path I instinctually knew would require both education and life experience. So I set out to get both!

Leaving the plains and Rocky Mountains of Colorado behind, I made my way to Chicago to attend The Eli Gilath Community Theater. I quickly learned that I didn't have the disposition for being an actor, but Lighting, Set Design and costuming proved exciting to my artistic urges.

This new interest in theater production, my natural love of art in all forms, and a passion for music (in particular, The Blues), what better place to be than New Orleans?

The move would prove to be a pivotal choice, and one of many auspicious events in my life. It was there I met and married John Potts, a highly skilled metal sculptor who had carved a place for himself in the vibrant New Orleans art scene. Over the next few years, he would teach me all he knew about metalwork and sculpture. In love with him, I became a devoted student eager to learn all I could about the alchemy of metallic melting.

Our daughter Natalie arrived in our lives in 1977. Although her arrival was a joyous one for us, the marriage dissolved soon after, but my love affair with the metalwork and sculpting my husband taught me, stood the test of time. I had found an art form to call my own!

Natalie and I made our way to Arizona. There I worked in foundries as a metal and wax chaser, a patina artist, and even as a Production Manager for a design firm making large-scale fabric murals for venues across the US.

In time I would discover East Indian Art; the concepts of objective art, and protective/talismanic wearable art, and the notion of soul retrieval through the ritual use of sacred objects. Eager to learn new art forms, I studied jewelry making (like my grandfather), and in time I earned a degree in Small Business Management—an uncharacteristic choice, but one that has proven invaluable to us at Bright Star and Buffalo.  I am currently completing my BA at Prescott College and writing my first book on the art of metal work.

Natalie and I started Bright Star and Buffalo seven years ago. The journey has been at once rewarding and challenging, and a labor of love! Each new day brings a delightful adventure, a triumph over obstacles, and always an adoration of my daughter and her bright accomplishments.

I feel joy as I imagine you—dear reader—using one of our ritual pieces or healing products. It is my hope you will feel the spirit of love and gratitude from which these were forged, and that these serve your highest good!