HOTS Spotlight: Get to Know Mount Pleasant Herbary

Sunday, November 23, 2014
There is nothing quite like a luxurious handmade body product. They make the best holiday gifts! We're so excited to have Mount Pleasant Herbary vending at Holiday on the Square!

Tell us about Mount Pleasant Herbary and what you do…
My name is Gudrun, and I am the founder of Mount Pleasant Herbary. I learned a lot about growing herbs and their beneficial properties from my mother, who is an active gardener. After moving from Germany to the US in 2002, I desperately missed the wide selection of herbal tea blends I could choose from in my home country - so I started growing my own. My friends loved my teas and wanted more - that's how Mount Pleasant Herbary came to life in 2009. Shortly after I added botanical soaps, salves and Buckwheat pillows that can be heated up in the microwave. Creating natural, nourishing herbal products is truly what I love to do, and I believe your senses will notice the effort, creativity and love I put into my creations.

90% of all herbs used in my products are grown in the Mount Pleasant Herbary Garden without the use of herbicides or pesticides. Lavender buds for sachets and the Buckwheat pillows are purchased from organic suppliers.

What kinds of products do you create and sell?
My best seller is the botanical soap. It is a cold process soap that is vegan (the base is olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter & castor oil), and made with essential oils only (with the exception of coffee soap), and herbs from the Mount Pleasant Herbary Garden. All soaps are made with botanical "chunks": dried herbs are grinded to powder and added to triple milled soap. After hardening, the herb infused soap will be cut into stripes and added to a fresh batch of soap (while it is still liquid). This process is gentle on the herbs and keeps their beneficial properties intact.

One day I made a batch of soap that was not very nice looking, yet it was perfectly fine soap. I remembered a felting class I had taken years ago and turned the ugly looking soap into a batch of felted soap. My customers loved it, and so the felted soap became a part of my product line. (I am not waiting for any more for a batch of soap that looks ugly though - I purposely make soap that has the same high quality vegan ingredients but is slightly smaller).

As I mentioned before, I also sell Buckwheat pillows in different sizes: There are neck pillows (great for tense muscles in your shoulder and neck area), eye pillows (relaxing after the end of a yoga session) and BooBoo pillows (little pillows that can be stored in the freezer until a child needs this comforting and soothing touch in form of a little pillow).

Not too long ago I also started making herbal salves: Calendula salve, Plantain salve, Baby salve, Bug repellent and lip balms.

What will you be featuring at Arts on the Square?
I will bring some molded soaps with me that make great gifts for the holidays. There will be fairies, star and tree shaped soaps, soaps that say "joy" and teddy bear soaps for kids.
I also just created a new felted soap for men. It is made with a darker color and scented with essential bay rum, vetiver and cedar oil. Since felted soap is perfect for scrubbing off garden dirt, paint, grease, etc. from your hands, it will be a perfect gift for the handyman in your life.

There will also be gift packages available in all different price ranges, nicely decorated with ribbons pine cones.

Where else can our readers find your products during this holiday season?
I will be selling my items at local Farmer's Markets (Cooperage in Honesdale PA and Callicoon NY) and at Holiday Shows in the area (Scranton Cultural Center on November 30th and Cooperage in Honesdale on Dec. 14th). 

Are you products sold in stores?
There are a few local stores that carry my items, like Milkweed in Honesdale, Callicoon Trading Co. in Callicoon NY, Heirloom Acres in Narrowsburg NY. I am currently working on expanding my wholesale partnerships.

Tell us about the classes you teach.  What do you have coming up?
I am planning on hosting some classes after the holidays when everything calms down a bit. I am thinking of teaching several classes about making your own creams and moisturizers, deodorant, lip balms and other body products. Then I would like to teach a class about making your own herbal cleaning products. Time and Places still need to be confirmed, so make sure you like MPH on Facebook or sign up at my booth with your email address in order to receive updated information.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
What I love most about what I am doing is the contrast between a quiet day at home, harvesting herbs or making a fresh batch of soap in my kitchen, and then the hustle and bustle that comes with an event like "Art on the Square". Meeting my customers who appreciate the efforts and love I put into my products, is the reason why I keep reloading  my car over and over again.

Follow Mount Pleasant Herbary

HOTS Spotlight: Meet Cole of Cole Hastings Jewelry & Furnishings

The most exciting part of planning an event is discovering talented artists and artisans to bring into the fold. We could not be more excited to have Cole Hastings Jewelry & Furnishings as part of Holiday on the Square.  They create gorgeous functional pieces of jewelry and home d├ęcor with wood, metal and 3-D printing technology. Check out our interview with Cole of Cole Hastings and make sure to stop by and visit them at Holiday on the Square!  

Tell us a little about Cole Hastings and your jewelry and furnishing design. What types of pieces do you create?

I create contemporary objects that decorate the body and the home. Working with an idea of the home as an extension of the person who lives there, the objects they choose to surround themselves with are just as intimate a thought to the jewelry they wear. The pieces are all designed around some core beliefs of mine. The first being that everyone should have access to great design. I take inspiration from places like high-end designers to geometry and funnel a lot of time and research into crafting objects that are aesthetically pleasing, while trying hard to keep them affordable. The second core belief is one of full life cycle. I look at where my materials come from and the construction methods I use for them. An example would be my 3D printed furnishings. The plastic I use is called PLA and is made from corn and bio-degradable. I care about the environment and what happens at the end of the life of the pieces I make. The third and final core belief is that home furnishings are the jewelry of the home. 

Your work encompasses both old-school fine craft such as woodworking and blacksmithing as well as cutting edge 3-D modeling. When did you first become interested in fine craft & design and how has your craft developed?

Great question, I started as a blacksmith and armor reproduction maker when I was still in high school. After several years I decided to take my interest in Crafts further, so I enrolled at Kutztown University. They have an amazing Crafts department and I had two wonderful professors there that brought out the best in me, David Rogers and Jim Malenda. Rogers taught me everything I know about woodworking and sculpture. He was a constant push to get better at what I do and explore why I do it. I had already had about seven years of computer modelling experience before Rogers classes, but he refined my abilities to allow me to model and design in the computer far better now. Malenda taught me a lot about fine metal work and Craft history. He was a huge influence into my understanding the people that came before me. He also fostered a passion for technique and developing those skill sets. In the years since I had these amazing teachers I have worked to perfect and understand my Crafts. 3D modelling/printing is a cornerstone of my style and I am continuing to develop and educate about this brave new world. 

Can you tell our readers a little about 3D modeling and how you use the technology in your creations?

3D modelling is the beginning of any object I make. It is my way of sketching and explaining to others what I am thinking. I have been using a 3D printer more and more to make individual objects out of a bio-degradable plastic called PLA. It is a process I have been working on for the better part of 3-4 years. Lately I have been starting to make molds of my 3D printed objects to be able to produce in a higher quantity. This technology is the future of manufacturing and allows me to prototype designs in days that would normally take months if not longer. That allows me to bring my designs to market faster. Even with all the technology, the heart of a craftsman wanting everything to be as close to perfect as possible is still very much there.

Having studied and practiced so many different crafts, do you have a first love?

I have a good listing of crafts under my belt. Including pouring glass, woodworking, blacksmithing, fine metal work, a dabble of ceramics, and even candle making. My first love would have to be blacksmithing. There is a beautiful and noble history to this particular craft. It all started when my mom took me to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire when I was young. I became enthralled by Arthurian Legend and still am to this day. But, every time I pick up a hand tool and work wood or metal in the same way that has been done for thousands of years I feel a link back to every person who has done the same movements. There is something wonderful that fills my heart with fulfillment when I work with a chisel or file.

What will you have in store for our shoppers at Holiday on the Square?

All sorts of beautiful handmade stainless steel jewelry with accents of titanium and aluminum to start. There will be home furnishings made in wood and 3D printed. And, I will be showing off some of the newest designs I have, including a brand new bottle opener design that is completely original. 

Where else can people find your work?

Mostly on my website, shows, Instagram, and Facebook. I try and keep things local and original. I love meeting new customers and making people happy with new objects that can be cherished for years.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Absolutely! I will be having a couple special sales that you will only be able to get by coming to Holiday on the Square, including a sale on earrings of "buy two get one free!" So come on out and get some wonderful jewelry and home furnishings.

Find out more about Cole Hastings:
Twitter: @cole_hastings
Instagram: @colehastings

We ♥ Voyager Video! Check out Super Fun Instamercial :)

Friday, November 21, 2014


Check out Voyager Video's Facebook Page and give them a like! 

Learn more about Voyager Video in our interview with them from this past summer:  AOTS Spotlight: Meet Lindsay and David of Voyager Video. 

HOLIDAY ON THE SQUARE is almost here!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014
The countdown to Holiday on the Square has begun....just 20 DAYS until showtime!!!

 Don't forget to head on over to the 
and join the event to get lots of fun updates!!!

"OMG!!!! You gotta…." Check out this event held by local go-getter Jess Meoni!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hey Jess!  Tell us a little about your background…

I like to refer to myself as a community activist. I love trying to gather people together and challenge their ideas on how to make their city better. I've been making that my goal since before I can remember! On a yearly basis, I run the Scranton Zine Fest, TEDxScranton, and now, Electric City Shocker Theater, an organization geared towards analog video mediums such as 35mm film, Super 8 films, VHS and more. In general, we try to promote the cultural awareness of horror films throughout the decades. I am also involved in the American Institute of Graphic Arts, The Art Directors Club, The Society of Typography Aficionados, Ladies of Letterpress, POWER!Scranton, and I serve on the board for the Lackawanna Arts, Culture, and Education Council. 

Professionally, I'm the graphic designer in the Marketing & Communications Department at Marywood University where I create posters, publications, and other design media. I also run an up-and-coming design collective, Backspace Studio, with my friend, Victoria Wright. We plan on officially opening for business after we graduate from the graphic design MFA program at Marywood

What is the Art Directors Club and how did you get involved? 
The Art Directors Club is a fine arts organization founded in 1920. Their main goal is to celebrate leaders in creative communications. I got involved by joining as a Young Professional member. I had found out about the ADC my freshman year of college and wanted to get involved to gain knowledge outside the classroom. I'm now an ADC Ambassador and I help bring the kinds of events that go on around their New York headquarters to Scranton. Throughout the year, they host several events to help artists network and develop a close-knit relationship. Some of these events include ADC After Dark, an easygoing social gathering with members of the club looking to hang out at a local bar together, ADC Talks, where members gain insight in how to create opportunities and forge a dynamic and imaginative career path, ADC Portfolio Night, and of course, ADC Butter, which brings creatives together with a screening of several short independent films curated by The FilmShop. There are also numerous festivals and award ceremonies for designers and visual communicators.

What inspired you to put together and host BUTTER?

BUTTER seemed like a great first choice to help people learn about the Art Directors Club. As an Ambassador for ADC, the event will help me spread the word to creative people in Scranton that a larger network of artists want to correspond with us, help us grow, and get us involved in the newest, upcoming trends.  

Why do you think that events like this are important to have in the community? 

Events like this help shift people's opinions of their city. It shows that people are making an effort to change the social landscape, infuse creativity, network, and craft friendships.

How did you pick the films?

The films were specially curated by The FilmShopa group of independent filmmakers and media producers dedicated to developing new work through collaboration and collective development. The theme of the night is "Overcoming Obstacles." For more info, check out

Will there be popcorn?!!?
Yes!!  And other snacks too! The event is only $5 and you can pay at the door!

BUTTER Takes place tonight from 6-9pm at Ale Mary's in Scranton, PA.  Come out, make friends and support this great event in our community!!!