Only Natural, pure stuff, handmade.
All of the products are handmade by Artisans in Dorset!
The soaps, skincare products and baskets are made by me, Nicky Lewis in my workshop in Symondsbury, Dorset. Symondsbury is a beautiful, ancient village set in the hills about a mile inland from the wonderful Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site of complex geology and stunning views.
The rushes used to make the baskets are English bulrushes that grow wild in ponds in central Dorset. I collect the bulrushes by hand in July each year and dry them in the summer sun so they can be stored and woven throughout the winter months.
I use traditional plaiting and sewing techniques to create unique baskets similar to those made for centuries from rushes harvested from ponds and rivers across Dorset. The baskets mature with age, slowly changing colour as the rushes dry from greens and golds to buff and natural browns.
Medicinal Qualities of Wild Plants
As I spent time in the countryside seeking and harvesting rushes I became interested in the medicinal qualities of wild plants that were all around me. I began collecting plants and experimenting with using them to create natural, skin soothing and moisturising soaps.
I developed a method which uses no heat other than that generated by the natural lye used to slowly change the oils into soap. This cold method protects not only the moisturising qualities of the oils but also the characteristics of the plants that are beneficial to the skin.
The recipes I now use are all based on very simple, natural ingredients which are fair trade and minimally processed or sourced very locally in the gardens, fields and coastline of Dorset. All are chosen for their skin friendly qualities.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, artificial is used; ever. Even the dried flowers scattered over the soaps in the gift baskets are dried flowers from my cottage garden or the hedgerows and meadows of my home village.
The washcloths that we offer are made by Jill Withy, an expert Dorset hand knitter. I met Jill through ‘The New Hardy Players’, a Dorset dramatic group who enact Thomas Hardy’s books and stories as plays. In addition to acting with the troop Jill knits beautiful gloves, hand warmers and scarves as needed for costumes. The wash clothes Jill makes are in keeping with Only Natural’s all handmade, all natural philosophy. Knitted with organic unbleached, uncoloured cotton they are soft and gentle to the skin; when used with the soaps they create a wonderful rich lather.
The soaps and baskets are available on their own or as gift baskets containing the soaps of your choice and perhaps, one of Jill’s wash clothes. Baskets are available in the designs and sizes listed here on the website or created individually to your design on commission. Everything will be carefully packaged by hand in unbleached, natural packaging in true Only Natural style.
Symondsbury Garden Wildlife Homes & Feeders
Only Natural is privileged to offer the beautiful and timeless work of David Price. A carpenter and hugely creative craftsman of 40 years experience David uses only sustainably harvested local hardwoods and enviromentally safely treated sustainably grown softwoods. David’s workshop is at Miles Cross Farm, Symondsbury where David works surrounded by horses, sheep, farm workers and other Artisans. David has a passion for British wildlife and ensures that each of his houses and feeders is unique, lovely and made to suit the needs of native species to keep them safe, warm, dry and well fed.