Women Who Create / Alice Bettany
This week we welcome Sussex native and Sacred Seeds founder Alice Bettany to the series. As the summer sun shines hot and bright what better time meet a women who's work intertwined with nature, nurture and the seasons.
Tell us a little about your background...
I grew up on a strawberry farm in Sussex and still spend a considerable amount of time there, foraging and hanging out with family. I've been lucky enough to be well travelled and sought inspiration from around the world mostly in my 20's. I have been self employed since 19yrs, firstly offering food intolerance testing and dietary advice, then setting up and managing a campsite called Wowo and now as a practicing Western herbalist. Plus numerous other jobs in-between like waitressing and bar work, teaching kids tennis and forest school outdoor education.
Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?
I have to have a cup of herbal tea on the go at all times, with the herbs varying depending on the mood required and drunk hot or cold. I can get really unproductive if cooped up so taking a short brisk walk and having a quick chat with my plant friends breaks up my day and throughly enlivens me.
What two things can't you live without? Coffee........It is herbal after all! And Sauerkraut!
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
My foraging mentor continually teaches me more about botany and plant ID, but really it is the plants themselves that are the teachers. I love the visuals of Instagram and reading old classic herbal books.
What is the meaning of 'creativity' to you?
Being in the flow, Following random threads of interest while all the time being enlivened and a little wired (natural highs not caffeine based).....Feeling passionate and in-love with a subject, object, person or feeling and being able to be uninhibited in exploring what comes.
If you could collaborate on an exhibition or project or idea with anyone... who would it be & why?
Tough one. I think i'd like to raise Culpepper from the dead and have a good natter about planetary connections and plants....
Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day business?
This may sound weird.....but I get quite excited about different sized bottle brushes
What is the best thing about running your business for yourself?
I can allow myself time to run where my inspiration takes me, to explore new potions and combinations of herbal flavours combined. Reading herbal text books is work yet the ultimate pleasure.
What is your proudest moment in your journey so far?
Teaching kids how to forage for their own medicines. Having my niece ask after my special drinks to make her feel better, and having numerous good feedback from patients after the herbs i've given them has improved their health and quality of life.
What one piece of advice would you share with fellow women who create to help them on their business journey
Idealism is an essential start to any new endeavour. Embrace it and run with it. Be conscious of the underlying sexism and patriarchy that runs rife in our society and find your own path to rise above it. Feminism has many forms.