A Langley herbalist whose business sprouted during the pandemic has opened a new studio just in time for the holidays.
A few years ago, writer and editor Lori Kane had been looking for an activity less demanding on the wrists than typing at a keyboard. Since she had a life-long interest in plants, she opted to pursue a shamanic herbal program led by South Whidbey instructor Julie Charette Nunn.
“I decided that I wanted to be able to make something that would be useful to people regardless of their politics. As an essayist and poet, that was probably never going to happen,” Kane said with a laugh.
Her herbalism business is the newest branch of Silly Dog Studios, the overarching business name she operates under, along with her husband Daniel Gregory, who is a photographer.
Earlier this year, to accommodate the growth of her herbalism business, the couple decided to build a new structure in their yard.
“In 2020, I didn’t really realize once we put up the website how much of a demand there was going to be for the kinds of products that I make,” Kane said. “It quickly went from this small little thing I was doing to, ‘Oh my gosh, I need more space’ because the products that I make absolutely cannot have any dust, dirt, cat hair, dog hair.”
The couple have two cats and two dogs, so creating a separate studio was an essential decision.
Kane makes herbal-infused oils, as opposed to essential oils. She cuts up plants to soak in olive oil for several weeks at a time, depending on the plant. The oils are then sold on their own or used in other products, such as the soaps that she makes with Gina White, a friend from Seattle.
Customers browsing Kane’s studio or online store, shop.sillydogstudios.art, will find a variety of self-care wares with medicinal benefits, from balms to salves to massage oils to sachets. The latter product she first started making 40 years ago with her grandmother, who was also an herbalist.
And Kane’s products aren’t just for humans. For Fido, there are dog shampoo bars available.
There are also plenty of unique holiday-themed items. Gift sets include a plethora of different types of products, but there are also peppermint dish soap bars and herbal ornaments cut into the shape of wreaths.
Kane works with 40 to 50 plants local to Whidbey, including Douglas fir branches, stinging nettles and dandelions. Some she plants; others, she forages.
“A lot of plants that people consider weeds, we use, like horsetail,” she said.
Friends with overgrown or fallen branches know to contact her, especially after a windstorm.
Her products are made in small batches and use whichever plants are in season at the moment. If you see something you like, she advised, you better buy it since it might not be around for much longer.
“There are a lot of people who believe that the plants that are closest to you are the plants that can help you the most,” she said.
She also likes to showcase other artisans’ products in her studio, such as the works of candlemakers and bath products from her friend White.
Kane’s studio is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4, 10-11 and 17-18 and also by appointment. It is located at 4683 Tompkins Road in Langley. To save on shipping costs, orders placed online can alternatively be picked up at her studio in Langley. She spends one day a week in Oak Harbor, so North Whidbey customers can also opt to meet her there.
“I do think in the future I will have open studio days because I’m an introvert and an empath and I really love one-on-one,” she said. “I really love having one person come in and talking to them about the plants.”