What is an apothecary?
During medieval times an apothecary was considered anyone who sold wine, spices or herbs. Apothecary later went on to encompass the old form of pharmacy. For more information and history on apothecary check out this article. This isn’t the kind of apothecary we mean today. I typically like to think of them as anyone who approaches healing with natural ingredients from the inside out. So where can an Herbalist, Aromatherapist and Soap Maker go to meet?
I found the answer and it happens to be the Old Sage Apothecarian Conference.
The Old Sage Apothecarian Conference
If you have been following the blog for a while you know that I love attending conferences. Check out some of my other experiences here, here and here. I primarily attend conferences to meet makers but also to increase my own knowledge. If you have never been to a conference I highly recommend that you find one near you and participate. Debbie Sturdevant is the organizer of the OSA and with a team of volunteers they host an incredible event annually.
I interviewed her live on Facebook and you can watch it here, unfortunately the technology gremlins were misbehaving but you can hear it pretty well:
This year I got a chance to attend and had no idea what to expect but I ended up being blown away. It was a 6 hour drive but honestly after my experience I would have drove 12 hours! Here’s a photo of my road trip buddy and I at the halfway mark rest stop.
I’m not an apothecary in the traditional sense but I am exploring all things herbal and aroma to deepen my holistic healing muscle.
What happened at the Old Sage Apothecary Conference?
We attended a dinner the night before which was an informal gathering of about half of the participants. The food was tasty and the conversations were inspiring. The next day we were in for a full day with something for everyone. After registering we were greeted by Deb’s other half Bob with a table full of raffles that would make any maker run to the ATM for a chance to win. There were natural colorant kits, shrinkwrap system, kitchenaid stand mixer, t shirts, bath bomb press and more. Can you guess which one was the most coveted? I didn’t win but the chance of winning was pretty exciting.
After registering we headed to the garage sale/destash table. If you are someone who tends to go a little overboard with buying supplies a destash is a great way to get some of your money back as other makers may be able to use it. We claimed our seats and talked to the onsite vendors until the sessions started.
What did we learn?
What I appreciate about the conference is there was something for everyone and EVEN if you knew every single topic that was covered, you had a chance to meet new people and learn from their experiences. The topics of the day included lotion making, incense making, natural clays and cold process 101. I learned a different method for making my lotion from Cindy Novack. I never even considered making my own incense and Tina Sams partnering with MaryAnne Schwartz were hillarious to watch and extremely knowledgeable. Did you know it was possible to make a no soap facial cleanser…well Janet Benesch Guiterrez taught us about different functions of clays and more. Finally Kristy Noble taught a cold process 101 class and it was interesting to see the looks on newbies faces watching trace occur for the first time.
Sponsors were extremely generous
This blog would be about 50 pages long if I attempted to list all of the goodies the sponsors so generously donated. The best part for me was learning about new suppliers and getting a chance to try new ingredients. Instead of listing the goodies, you can watch the unboxing here. I’ll warn you it’s a long one but that’s due to all of the stuff we got!
Final Thoughts on Apothecary Conference
Whether you are a soap maker, herbalist, aroma therapist, reiki practicioner or a holistic apothecary there is a tribe out there for you. I don’t see many makers at gatherings and conferences. I hope that changes in the years to come because there is one saying I hold true and that is “Iron Sharpens Iron”. By attending these conferences we are helping to grow the industry collectively and holding each other to good practices. Be sure to subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on future gatherings.
Until next time.