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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Akamuti: natural organic skincare from Wales

Lindsey Hedges founded the Akamuti skincare brand when she was just 20 years old. She now runs it with the help of her family from her base in rural Wales. Read on to find out more about this ethical entrepreneur....

Written by Amelia Gregory

[IMAGE] Reeds

Laura Ward has both striking portraits and moody black and white landscapes in her portfolio, viagra but what initially drew me to her work was her‘mirror’ set on Flickr. It’s a very low-key selection of random and sometimes a bit blurry shots, more about taken in a plethora of shiny surfaces. The photographer is always in the picture, generic half-hidden behind the camera, and you can practically hear her going ‘ooooh, shiny!’ as she goes for a quick snap in a car mirror, shop window or water-stained bathroom.

But don’t get me wrong – Laura takes ‘proper’ photos too. This includes some really excellent portraits, skillful and professional but always with a slight quirk. Then there are the airy landscapes and the soft, abstracts shots of female figures, not to mention the surprising plays with layers and light. Laura’s long list of previous exhibitions, past, present and future, demonstrates that this girl isn’t just talented, she also has drive and passion in spades. I think we will be hearing more from Laura – lots more.

[IMAGE] Self-portrait (2)

Your new exhibition with photography group Effra FC is showing now in Camberwell. Tell us a little about Effra please.

Effra FC is a South London collective of photographers, with varying levels of skill and styles, who meet once a month in a local pub. Over the last few years it’s grown from a handful of strangers into a 90+ group. Effra has favoured low-fi (ie free) techniques to show work in the past. Mark from Sun & Doves invited us to put on our first professional show and 16 members opted in. It’s a wonderfully eclectic group of people who don’t take Effra FC too seriously. I think that is what makes it work. I’m really proud to be a part of it.

[IMAGE]
Ponies, on show now with Effra.

Effra started as a Flickr group. It seems to me everyone who uses Flickr adores this site. What is it about this site that resonnates so strongly with its users?

The simplicity of Flickr is one of the reasons that we’re all photographers now. I remember the excitement of taking my pictures out of a static website and having this new interactive audience at my fingertips. Having strangers comment on your work is a thrill. It’s also a huge source of inspiration and reference as it’s saturated with so many impressive photographers and ideas.
[IMAGE] Self-portrait (1)

Your CV of photography exhibitions is impressive. Could you tell us about a favourite project please?

Thank you. I tend to favour projects that take me out of my comfort zone. That said, my favourite project is one called ‘Unthought’. I work on images collaboratively with Belgian photographer Stefan Vanthuyne. We don’t discuss how we do it and quite often it doesn’t work, but that is part of the process. Photography can be very isolating, so ‘Unthought’ is a very happy friendship. I also worked on ‘The Apollo Project’ with Jonny Hughes where we took over a shop for a month and turned it into an art/music venue. I could write a book about that month, so that was definitely significant. As soon as those doors opened, it belonged to the community.

[IMAGE] Unthought

Your previous show was the group exhibition ‘Send me a postcard darling’. What was the thought behind this, and how did you get the enchanting Melissa Auf Der Maur to participate?

I decided to book The Red Gate gallery in south London with the aim of doing something similar to shows in Nottingham and New York. SMAPD evolved into its own little thing thanks to the people that got involved. Postcards are such an accessible format for everyone to produce but it’s a size that can challenge you. A couple of established artists commented on how difficult the format was to work with. I remember seeing one of Melissa’s photographs many years ago which I was really drawn to. It was a self portrait called something like ‘When I’m sad, my nose bleeds’. She’s so supportive of creative projects like this so I just asked her. Having established artists like Melissa Auf der Maur, Chad Van Gaalen and John Riordan means more people might come along and take a look at the work of home studio heroes.

[IMAGE] Autumn

Is there a new project coming up which you can tell us about?

I’ve started planning a new project which is partly inspired by the film ‘The Double Life of Véronique’. At the moment it’s a portrait series of 10 people who lead double lives, or those who do one thing to fund something else. I’m really interested in layers and mystique in subjects and they’ll probably be multi-exposed. I’m also hoping that 2011 takes me out of my comfort zone, which is why I’m taking part in Sonny Malhotra’s ProAm Project.

You have an international background. Do you consider London your home? How does taking photos around London compare with photographing other places?

I’m 32 now and having lived in so many places, I can make anywhere feel like home but London is the one place I feel comfortable. I like diversity, uncertainty and the fact that I have friends from all over the world in the same place. I live in Herne Hill which is a wonderfully friendly little melting pot of the best of all worlds and I can’t help but take photographs of it. That said, I need to get out of it fairly regularly to be able to appreciate it. I’ve done very little London life photography this year and I’d like to get back into it.

[IMAGE] She makes war

Your website and Flickr stream has an impressively wide range of photos and styles. You have these amazing, intense portraits as well as the really fun, playful stuff. What kind of photography is your favourite?

I’ll take photographs of almost anything I prefer an element of surprise and untidiness. I don’t really favour studio lighting, and I try not to plan too much. My favourite kind of picture is a soft abstract female shot. I love Francesca Woodman’s work so if I could take more images akin to hers, I’d be happy. Though I’d never want to rip her off.

I really love the set of pictures taken in mirrors and shiny surfaces – I have one of these myself! But tell me, what’s the deal with these pictures?

It’s the depth, layers and the light! Puddles, mirrors, windows are so much fun. Taking photographs through layers is also great, whether it’s a layer of plastic, water, and even cling film. Despite having photoshop, I use these pre-digital techniques all the time.

[IMAGE] Mirrored

How did you get into photography? What is it you love about it?

I have absolutely no formal training. I started in my teens when my parents allowed me to go travelling to Italy on my own and my dad gave me a Pentax. I was still hoping to be a decent writer back then, but I quickly realised that taking pictures was much easier. I can never find the right words.

What do you do when you’re not taking pictures?

I’ve worked for charities for many years now. My day job is very much focused on numbers and organising – analysis, strategies, reporting, reconciliation and fulfilling appeals. I definitely get a kick out of working both sides of my brain but it’s not easy managing creative projects and having a day job. Having said that, I don’t think I could do one without the other.

Laura Ward’s work is showing now with Effra FC – on until 25 January at the Sun and Doves in Camberwell, 61-63 Coldharbour Lane, London SE5.

Laura Ward Reeds
Reeds

Laura Ward has both striking portraits and moody black and white landscapes in her portfolio, find but what initially drew me to her work was her‘mirror’ set on Flickr. It’s a very low-key selection of random and sometimes a bit blurry shots, ampoule taken in a plethora of shiny surfaces. The photographer is always in the picture, troche half-hidden behind the camera, and you can practically hear her going ‘ooooh, shiny!’ as she goes for a quick snap in a car mirror, shop window or water-stained bathroom.

But don’t get me wrong – Laura takes ‘proper’ photos too. This includes some really excellent portraits, skillful and professional but always with a slight quirk. Then there are the airy landscapes and the soft, abstracts shots of female figures, not to mention the surprising plays with layers and light. Laura’s long list of previous exhibitions, past, present and future, demonstrates that this girl isn’t just talented, she also has drive and passion in spades. I think we will be hearing more from Laura – lots more.

Laura Ward Self 2
Self-portrait

Your new exhibition with photography group Effra FC is showing now in Camberwell. Tell us a little about Effra please.
Effra FC is a South London collective of photographers, with varying levels of skill and styles, who meet once a month in a local pub. Over the last few years it’s grown from a handful of strangers into a 90+ group. Effra has favoured low-fi (ie free) techniques to show work in the past. Mark from Sun and Doves invited us to put on our first professional show and 16 members opted in. It’s a wonderfully eclectic group of people who don’t take Effra FC too seriously. I think that is what makes it work. I’m really proud to be a part of it.

Laura Ward Ponies Effra FC
Ponies, on show now with Effra.

Effra started as a Flickr group. It seems to me everyone who uses Flickr adores this site. What is it about this site that resonnates so strongly with its users?
The simplicity of Flickr is one of the reasons that we’re all photographers now. I remember the excitement of taking my pictures out of a static website and having this new interactive audience at my fingertips. Having strangers comment on your work is a thrill. It’s also a huge source of inspiration and reference as it’s saturated with so many impressive photographers and ideas.

Laura Ward Self 1
Self-portrait

Your CV of photography exhibitions is impressive. Could you tell us about a favourite project please?
Thank you. I tend to favour projects that take me out of my comfort zone. That said, my favourite project is one called ‘Unthought’. I work on images collaboratively with Belgian photographer Stefan Vanthuyne. We don’t discuss how we do it and quite often it doesn’t work, but that is part of the process. Photography can be very isolating, so ‘Unthought’ is a very happy friendship. I also worked on ‘The Apollo Project’ with Jonny Hughes where we took over a shop for a month and turned it into an art/music venue. I could write a book about that month, so that was definitely significant. As soon as those doors opened, it belonged to the community.

Laura Ward Unthought
Unthought

Your previous show was the group exhibition ‘Send me a postcard darling’. What was the thought behind this, and how did you get the enchanting Melissa Auf Der Maur to participate?
I decided to book The Red Gate gallery in south London with the aim of doing something similar to shows in Nottingham and New York. SMAPD evolved into its own little thing thanks to the people that got involved. Postcards are such an accessible format for everyone to produce but it’s a size that can challenge you. A couple of established artists commented on how difficult the format was to work with. I remember seeing one of Melissa’s photographs many years ago which I was really drawn to. It was a self portrait called something like ‘When I’m sad, my nose bleeds’. She’s so supportive of creative projects like this so I just asked her. Having established artists like Melissa Auf der Maur, Chad Van Gaalen and John Riordan means more people might come along and take a look at the work of home studio heroes.

Laura Ward Autumn
Autumn

Is there a new project coming up which you can tell us about?
I’ve started planning a new project which is partly inspired by the film ‘The Double Life of Véronique’. At the moment it’s a portrait series of 10 people who lead double lives, or those who do one thing to fund something else. I’m really interested in layers and mystique in subjects and they’ll probably be multi-exposed. I’m also hoping that 2011 takes me out of my comfort zone, which is why I’m taking part in Sonny Malhotra’s ProAm Project.

You have an international background. Do you consider London your home? How does taking photos around London compare with photographing other places?
I’m 32 now and having lived in so many places, I can make anywhere feel like home but London is the one place I feel comfortable. I like diversity, uncertainty and the fact that I have friends from all over the world in the same place. I live in Herne Hill which is a wonderfully friendly little melting pot of the best of all worlds and I can’t help but take photographs of it. That said, I need to get out of it fairly regularly to be able to appreciate it. I’ve done very little London life photography this year and I’d like to get back into it.

Laura Ward She Makes War
She Makes War

Your website and Flickr stream has an impressively wide range of photos and styles. You have these amazing, intense portraits as well as the really fun, playful stuff. What kind of photography is your favourite?
I’ll take photographs of almost anything I prefer an element of surprise and untidiness. I don’t really favour studio lighting, and I try not to plan too much. My favourite kind of picture is a soft abstract female shot. I love Francesca Woodman’s work so if I could take more images akin to hers, I’d be happy. Though I’d never want to rip her off.

I really love the set of pictures taken in mirrors and shiny surfaces! But tell me, what’s the deal with these pictures?
It’s the depth, layers and the light! Puddles, mirrors, windows are so much fun. Taking photographs through layers is also great, whether it’s a layer of plastic, water, and even cling film. Despite having photoshop, I use these pre-digital techniques all the time.

Laura Ward Mirrored
Mirrored

How did you get into photography? What is it you love about it?
I have absolutely no formal training. I started in my teens when my parents allowed me to go travelling to Italy on my own and my dad gave me a Pentax. I was still hoping to be a decent writer back then, but I quickly realised that taking pictures was much easier. I can never find the right words.

What do you do when you’re not taking pictures?
I’ve worked for charities for many years now. My day job is very much focused on numbers and organising – analysis, strategies, reporting, reconciliation and fulfilling appeals. I definitely get a kick out of working both sides of my brain but it’s not easy managing creative projects and having a day job. Having said that, I don’t think I could do one without the other.

Laura Ward’s work is showing now with Effra FC – on until 25 January at the Sun and Doves in Camberwell, 61-63 Coldharbour Lane, London SE5.
Laura Ward Reeds
Reeds

Laura Ward has both striking portraits and moody black and white landscapes in her portfolio, side effects but what initially drew me to her work was her‘mirror’ set on Flickr. It’s a very low-key selection of random and sometimes a bit blurry shots, taken in a plethora of shiny surfaces. The photographer is always in the picture, half-hidden behind the camera, and you can practically hear her going ‘ooooh, shiny!’ as she goes for a quick snap in a car mirror, shop window or water-stained bathroom.

But don’t get me wrong – Laura takes ‘proper’ photos too. This includes some really excellent portraits, skillful and professional but always with a slight quirk. Then there are the airy landscapes and the soft, abstracts shots of female figures, not to mention the surprising plays with layers and light. Laura’s long list of previous exhibitions, past, present and future, demonstrates that this girl isn’t just talented, she also has drive and passion in spades. I think we will be hearing more from Laura – lots more.

Laura Ward Self 2
Self-portrait

Your new exhibition with photography group Effra FC is showing now in Camberwell. Tell us a little about Effra please.
Effra FC is a South London collective of photographers, with varying levels of skill and styles, who meet once a month in a local pub. Over the last few years it’s grown from a handful of strangers into a 90+ group. Effra has favoured low-fi (ie free) techniques to show work in the past. Mark from Sun and Doves invited us to put on our first professional show and 16 members opted in. It’s a wonderfully eclectic group of people who don’t take Effra FC too seriously. I think that is what makes it work. I’m really proud to be a part of it.

Laura Ward Ponies Effra FC
Ponies, on show now with Effra.

Effra started as a Flickr group. It seems to me everyone who uses Flickr adores this site. What is it about this site that resonnates so strongly with its users?
The simplicity of Flickr is one of the reasons that we’re all photographers now. I remember the excitement of taking my pictures out of a static website and having this new interactive audience at my fingertips. Having strangers comment on your work is a thrill. It’s also a huge source of inspiration and reference as it’s saturated with so many impressive photographers and ideas.

Laura Ward Self 1
Self-portrait

Your CV of photography exhibitions is impressive. Could you tell us about a favourite project please?
Thank you. I tend to favour projects that take me out of my comfort zone. That said, my favourite project is one called ‘Unthought’. I work on images collaboratively with Belgian photographer Stefan Vanthuyne. We don’t discuss how we do it and quite often it doesn’t work, but that is part of the process. Photography can be very isolating, so ‘Unthought’ is a very happy friendship. I also worked on ‘The Apollo Project’ with Jonny Hughes where we took over a shop for a month and turned it into an art/music venue. I could write a book about that month, so that was definitely significant. As soon as those doors opened, it belonged to the community.

Laura Ward Unthought
Unthought

Your previous show was the group exhibition ‘Send me a postcard darling’. What was the thought behind this, and how did you get the enchanting Melissa Auf Der Maur to participate?
I decided to book The Red Gate gallery in south London with the aim of doing something similar to shows in Nottingham and New York. SMAPD evolved into its own little thing thanks to the people that got involved. Postcards are such an accessible format for everyone to produce but it’s a size that can challenge you. A couple of established artists commented on how difficult the format was to work with. I remember seeing one of Melissa’s photographs many years ago which I was really drawn to. It was a self portrait called something like ‘When I’m sad, my nose bleeds’. She’s so supportive of creative projects like this so I just asked her. Having established artists like Melissa Auf der Maur, Chad Van Gaalen and John Riordan means more people might come along and take a look at the work of home studio heroes.

Laura Ward Autumn
Autumn

Is there a new project coming up which you can tell us about?
I’ve started planning a new project which is partly inspired by the film ‘The Double Life of Véronique’. At the moment it’s a portrait series of 10 people who lead double lives, or those who do one thing to fund something else. I’m really interested in layers and mystique in subjects and they’ll probably be multi-exposed. I’m also hoping that 2011 takes me out of my comfort zone, which is why I’m taking part in Sonny Malhotra’s ProAm Project.

You have an international background. Do you consider London your home? How does taking photos around London compare with photographing other places?
I’m 32 now and having lived in so many places, I can make anywhere feel like home but London is the one place I feel comfortable. I like diversity, uncertainty and the fact that I have friends from all over the world in the same place. I live in Herne Hill which is a wonderfully friendly little melting pot of the best of all worlds and I can’t help but take photographs of it. That said, I need to get out of it fairly regularly to be able to appreciate it. I’ve done very little London life photography this year and I’d like to get back into it.

Laura Ward She Makes War
She Makes War

Your website and Flickr stream has an impressively wide range of photos and styles. You have these amazing, intense portraits as well as the really fun, playful stuff. What kind of photography is your favourite?
I’ll take photographs of almost anything I prefer an element of surprise and untidiness. I don’t really favour studio lighting, and I try not to plan too much. My favourite kind of picture is a soft abstract female shot. I love Francesca Woodman’s work so if I could take more images akin to hers, I’d be happy. Though I’d never want to rip her off.

I really love the set of pictures taken in mirrors and shiny surfaces! But tell me, what’s the deal with these pictures?
It’s the depth, layers and the light! Puddles, mirrors, windows are so much fun. Taking photographs through layers is also great, whether it’s a layer of plastic, water, and even cling film. Despite having photoshop, I use these pre-digital techniques all the time.

Laura Ward Mirrored
Mirrored

How did you get into photography? What is it you love about it?
I have absolutely no formal training. I started in my teens when my parents allowed me to go travelling to Italy on my own and my dad gave me a Pentax. I was still hoping to be a decent writer back then, but I quickly realised that taking pictures was much easier. I can never find the right words.

What do you do when you’re not taking pictures?
I’ve worked for charities for many years now. My day job is very much focused on numbers and organising – analysis, strategies, reporting, reconciliation and fulfilling appeals. I definitely get a kick out of working both sides of my brain but it’s not easy managing creative projects and having a day job. Having said that, I don’t think I could do one without the other.

Laura Ward’s work is showing now with Effra FC – on until 25 January at the Sun and Doves in Camberwell, 61-63 Coldharbour Lane, London SE5.
Laura Ward Reeds
Reeds

Laura Ward has both striking portraits and moody black and white landscapes in her portfolio, order but what initially drew me to her work was her ‘mirror’ set on Flickr. It’s a very low-key selection of random and sometimes a bit blurry shots, taken in a plethora of shiny surfaces. The photographer is always in the picture, half-hidden behind the camera, and you can practically hear her going ‘ooooh, shiny!’ as she goes for a quick snap in a car mirror, shop window or water-stained bathroom.

But don’t get me wrong – Laura takes ‘proper’ photos too. This includes some really excellent portraits, skillful and professional but always with a slight quirk. Then there are the airy landscapes and the soft, abstracts shots of female figures, not to mention the surprising plays with layers and light. Laura’s list of exhibitions, past, present and future, demonstrates that this girl isn’t just talented, she also has drive and passion in spades. I think we will be hearing more from Laura – lots more.

Laura Ward Self 2
Self-portrait

Your new exhibition with photography group Effra FC is showing now in Camberwell. Tell us a little about Effra please.
Effra FC is a South London collective of photographers, with varying levels of skill and styles, who meet once a month in a local pub. Over the last few years it’s grown from a handful of strangers into a 90+ group. Effra has favoured low-fi (ie free) techniques to show work in the past. Mark from Sun and Doves invited us to put on our first professional show and 16 members opted in. It’s a wonderfully eclectic group of people who don’t take Effra FC too seriously. I think that is what makes it work. I’m really proud to be a part of it.

Laura Ward Ponies Effra FC
Ponies, on show now with Effra.

Effra started as a Flickr group. It seems to me everyone who uses Flickr adores this site. What is it about this site that resonnates so strongly with its users?
The simplicity of Flickr is one of the reasons that we’re all photographers now. I remember the excitement of taking my pictures out of a static website and having this new interactive audience at my fingertips. Having strangers comment on your work is a thrill. It’s also a huge source of inspiration and reference as it’s saturated with so many impressive photographers and ideas.

Laura Ward Self 1
Self-portrait

Your CV of photography exhibitions is impressive. Could you tell us about a favourite project please?
Thank you. I tend to favour projects that take me out of my comfort zone. That said, my favourite project is one called ‘Unthought’. I work on images collaboratively with Belgian photographer Stefan Vanthuyne. We don’t discuss how we do it and quite often it doesn’t work, but that is part of the process. Photography can be very isolating, so ‘Unthought’ is a very happy friendship. I also worked on ‘The Apollo Project’ with Jonny Hughes where we took over a shop for a month and turned it into an art/music venue. I could write a book about that month, so that was definitely significant. As soon as those doors opened, it belonged to the community.

Laura Ward Unthought
Unthought

Your previous show was the group exhibition ‘Send me a postcard darling’. What was the thought behind this, and how did you get the enchanting Melissa Auf Der Maur to participate?
I decided to book The Red Gate gallery in South London with the aim of doing something similar to shows in Nottingham and New York. SMAPD evolved into its own little thing thanks to the people that got involved. Postcards are such an accessible format for everyone to produce but it’s a size that can challenge you. A couple of established artists commented on how difficult the format was to work with. I remember seeing one of Melissa’s photographs many years ago which I was really drawn to. It was a self portrait called something like ‘When I’m sad, my nose bleeds’. She’s so supportive of creative projects like this so I just asked her. Having established artists like Melissa Auf der Maur, Chad Van Gaalen and John Riordan means more people might come along and take a look at the work of home studio heroes.

Laura Ward Autumn
Autumn

Is there a new project coming up which you can tell us about?
I’ve started planning a new project which is partly inspired by the film ‘The Double Life of Véronique’. At the moment it’s a portrait series of 10 people who lead double lives, or those who do one thing to fund something else. I’m really interested in layers and mystique in subjects and they’ll probably be multi-exposed. I’m also hoping that 2011 takes me out of my comfort zone, which is why I’m taking part in Sonny Malhotra’s ProAm Project.

You have an international background. Do you consider London your home? How does taking photos around London compare with photographing other places?
I’m 32 now and having lived in so many places, I can make anywhere feel like home but London is the one place I feel comfortable. I like diversity, uncertainty and the fact that I have friends from all over the world in the same place. I live in Herne Hill which is a wonderfully friendly little melting pot of the best of all worlds and I can’t help but take photographs of it. That said, I need to get out of it fairly regularly to be able to appreciate it. I’ve done very little London life photography this year and I’d like to get back into it.

Laura Ward She Makes War
She Makes War

Your website and Flickr stream has an impressively wide range of photos and styles. You have these amazing, intense portraits as well as the really fun, playful stuff. What kind of photography is your favourite?
I’ll take photographs of almost anything I prefer an element of surprise and untidiness. I don’t really favour studio lighting, and I try not to plan too much. My favourite kind of picture is a soft abstract female shot. I love Francesca Woodman’s work so if I could take more images akin to hers, I’d be happy. Though I’d never want to rip her off.

I really love the set of pictures taken in mirrors and shiny surfaces! But tell me, what’s the deal with these pictures?
It’s the depth, layers and the light! Puddles, mirrors, windows are so much fun. Taking photographs through layers is also great, whether it’s a layer of plastic, water, and even cling film. Despite having Photoshop, I use these pre-digital techniques all the time.

Laura Ward Mirrored
Mirrored

How did you get into photography? What is it you love about it?
I have absolutely no formal training. I started in my teens when my parents allowed me to go travelling to Italy on my own and my dad gave me a Pentax. I was still hoping to be a decent writer back then, but I quickly realised that taking pictures was much easier. I can never find the right words.

What do you do when you’re not taking pictures?
I’ve worked for charities for many years now. My day job is very much focused on numbers and organising – analysis, strategies, reporting, reconciliation and fulfilling appeals. I definitely get a kick out of working both sides of my brain but it’s not easy managing creative projects and having a day job. Having said that, I don’t think I could do one without the other.

Laura Ward’s work is showing now with Effra FC – on until 25 January at the Sun and Doves,61-63 Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, London SE5.
Why did you decide to set up business?
 
Akamuti grew out of my passion for plants! I’ve always been interested in their role in tree medicine, page herbalism and aromatherapy so it feels very natural to work with all these wonderful ingredients. Akamuti began in 2003 when I was only 20 years old and keen to start my own business. I think that being home schooled from the age of 10 instilled in me a very independent outlook on life and this streak has grown with me! The business started off in a really small way, advice mixing up tiny amounts of creams & balms from raw ingredients – always using only the best natural ingredients that we could source. Then I would set off to the local health shops with my little box and try to sell them. It was really exciting to get a positive response and this spurred me on to set up a website so that people could order online. From these humble beginnings the business slowly but surely began to grow. Nowadays the whole family are involved in the business, troche with five of us working together. Our combined enthusiasm for a holistic way of living, eating and healing keeps our creativity focused, ensuring that our products reflect our ethics.

Why is being part of a family business so satisfying?
Its good to work together because you have people you know that you can rely on in a crisis. We understand each better than anyone else and thankfully we all seem to rub along nicely so we make a good team.

How did you train yourself to make skincare products?
When I was 17 I did a herbal medicine course that taught me how to make balms and macerated oils, which was great fun to do in the kitchen. I loved drying herbs, hanging them from the airer so that they made a mess on the floor. I experimented, researched and got my hands dirty until I found a recipe that I was happy with. I’ve also worked in aromatherapy for many years so I know my ingredients inside out.

How is your organic vegetable garden, and do you grow any of your own ingredients?
I really love gardens and I’ve been trying my best to grow veg for years. This year I managed to coax some lovely potatoes out of the ground as well as salads, tomatoes and a million cucumbers. Sadly, my onions and garlic didn’t even get chance to see the sunshine this year (slugs!) but I plant them every year because it feels wrong not too! We have plenty of space so it’s been a dream of mine to grow our own ingredients for a few years now… I just need to find the time. 
I’m hoping to plant a lavender and rose garden at some point so that I can make a small amount of my own rosewater!  
 
Can you describe the set up in Wales?
We work from our workshop in a beautiful valley in south west Wales overlooking the Brechfa Forest. We have a smallholding so it’s not only home to us but a few unruly animals as well. It’s a truly inspirational place to live, with nature literally on the doorstep and natural beauty around every corner. I love the peace and quiet here, it really nourishes the soul.   

When you have visitors where do you take them out?
I would take them to our little town of Llandeilo to shop for organic bread and homemade ice cream, then we would visit Carreg Cennen Castle, dramatically perched on a limestone outcrop. I’d make sure we visited the seaside where there are countless coves to choose from, so we might just do them all. And to finish, we would end up in our local pub which has the best beer garden in the world!

What are the benefits of being in Wales, and the pitfalls?
I love the wild side of Wales most. It’s great to nip out the door and within minutes you can be in a forest, a meadow, or on a mountain. I love the trees and fields, the castles, the coastline, the views out to the Brecon Beacons, the stunning drive through the Towy Valley. There is a strong craft community here, we have several community run shops, and there is a lot of great food and farm produce about too. The pitfalls… what pitfalls!?
 
Been anywhere else lately?
I’ve just got back from southern Snowdonia where I stayed at the foot of Cadair Idris. There is a beautiful lake there which I love. It is very cool and quiet – you could be anywhere in the world. I’ve also recently discovered the New Forest – I particularly like all the animals wandering freely through the villages.

How do you source your fairtrade organic ingredients?
Thankfully the internet makes this very easy. We find new suppliers quite quickly and many come by word of mouth. A lot of the time I stumble across people doing amazing things which I note down for the future!

What is the first thing you do when you want to invent a new product?
I make myself a coffee, find a comfy spot, get my notebook out and start writing. I think of what I want to achieve with the product and what I would like to go in it and then I start putting them together. I also brainstorm with everyone else. A bit like planning a garden, the best part is picking the plants! 

What exciting new products are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a flower based perfume at the moment, so I’m playing around with sandalwood, rose, jasmine and a number of other oils to get the best combination. I’ve decided to keep the perfume as an oil, much like the ancient Attar perfumes, which were based on sandalwood oil. I am a big fan of eastern aromatherapy and I like the way the scents make me drift away to the ancient lands of Persia or Anatolia in my mind.  

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
I’ve got a few favourites but I’ll try and narrow them down. My first love is definitely Rose Otto oil – it works so well for many physical and emotional problems, as well as smelling beautiful. I also love working with Neroli essential oil because it is so uplifting. If an oil could have the quality of kindness then this is the one! 

Why should people buy your products?
Because they are good for the skin and the soul! They are made with 100% natural ingredients from start to finish without any additional rubbish, and we try our best to harness all of the natural goodness of trees, plants and flowers in each product so that our customers get the very best we can make. Our products are people and planet friendly, and they are affordable too.
 
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd.

I first became enamoured with Akamuti skincare products when I discovered the brand in 2008 and subsequently interviewed them for the last print issue of Amelia’s Magazine. A family run business in Wales that creates gorgeous organic fairtrade products – what’s not to like? Time to find out what founder Lindsey Hedges is up to these days…

Why did you decide to set up business?
Akamuti grew out of my passion for plants! I’ve always been interested in their role in tree medicine, information pills herbalism and aromatherapy so it feels very natural to work with all these wonderful ingredients. Akamuti began in 2003 when I was only 20 years old and keen to start my own business. I think that being home schooled from the age of 10 instilled in me a very independent outlook on life and this streak has grown with me! The business started off in a really small way, mixing up tiny amounts of creams and balms from raw ingredients – always using only the best natural ingredients that we could source. Then I would set off to the local health shops with my little box and try to sell them. It was really exciting to get a positive response and this spurred me on to set up a website so that people could order online. From these humble beginnings the business slowly but surely began to grow. Nowadays the whole family are involved in the business, with five of us working together. Our combined enthusiasm for a holistic way of living, eating and healing keeps our creativity focused, ensuring that our products reflect our ethics.

Akamuti skincare by Karina Yarv
Lindsey Hedges, founder of Akamuti. Illustration by Karina Yarv.

Why is being part of a family business so satisfying?
It’s good to work together because you have people you know that you can rely on in a crisis. We understand each better than anyone else and thankfully we all seem to rub along nicely so we make a good team.

How did you train yourself to make skincare products?
When I was 17 I did a herbal medicine course that taught me how to make balms and macerated oils, which was great fun to do in the kitchen. I loved drying herbs, hanging them from the airer so that they made a mess on the floor. I experimented, researched and got my hands dirty until I found a recipe that I was happy with. I’ve also worked in aromatherapy for many years so I know my ingredients inside out.

Akamuti-rose & marshmallow beauty mask
Akamuti’s Rose & Marshmallow Beauty Mask.

How is your organic vegetable garden, and do you grow any of your own ingredients?
I really love gardens and I’ve been trying my best to grow veg for years. This year I managed to coax some lovely potatoes out of the ground as well as salads, tomatoes and a million cucumbers. Sadly, my onions and garlic didn’t even get chance to see the sunshine this year (slugs!) but I plant them every year because it feels wrong not too. We have plenty of space so it’s been a dream of mine to grow our own ingredients for a few years now… I just need to find the time. I’m hoping to plant a lavender and rose garden at some point so that I can make a small amount of my own rosewater. 
 
Can you describe the set up in Wales?
We work from our workshop in a beautiful valley in south west Wales overlooking the Brechfa Forest. We have a smallholding so it’s not only home to us but a few unruly animals as well. It’s a truly inspirational place to live, with nature literally on the doorstep and natural beauty around every corner. I love the peace and quiet here, it really nourishes the soul.   

Akamuti-by-Nina-Hunter
Akamuti by Nina Hunter.

When you have visitors where do you take them out?
I would take them to our little town of Llandeilo to shop for organic bread and homemade ice cream, then we would visit Carreg Cennen Castle, dramatically perched on a limestone outcrop. I’d make sure we visited the seaside where there are countless coves to choose from, so we might just do them all. And to finish, we would end up in our local pub which has the best beer garden in the world.

Carreg-Cennen-Castle-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Carreg Cennen Castle by Yelena Bryksenkova.

What are the benefits of being in Wales, and the pitfalls?
I love the wild side of Wales most. It’s great to nip out the door and within minutes be in a forest, a meadow, or on a mountain. I love the trees and fields, the castles, the coastline, the views out to the Brecon Beacons, the stunning drive through the Towy Valley. There is a strong craft community here, we have several community run shops, and there is a lot of great food and farm produce about too. The pitfalls… what pitfalls!?
 
lindsey_akamuti_darren fletcher
Lindsey Hedges by Darren Fletcher.

Been anywhere else lately?
I’ve just got back from southern Snowdonia where I stayed at the foot of Cadair Idris. There is a beautiful lake there which I love. It is very cool and quiet – you could be anywhere in the world. I’ve also recently discovered the New Forest – I particularly like all the animals wandering freely through the villages.

Cadair Idris by Karina Yarv
Cadair Idris by Karina Yarv

How do you source your fairtrade organic ingredients?
Thankfully the internet makes this very easy. We find new suppliers quite quickly and many come by word of mouth. A lot of the time I stumble across people doing amazing things which I note down for the future.

What is the first thing you do when you want to invent a new product?
I make myself a coffee, find a comfy spot, get my notebook out and start writing. I think of what I want to achieve with the product and what I would like to go in it and then I start putting them together. I also brainstorm with everyone else. A bit like planning a garden, the best part is picking the plants! 

Akamuti-buttered rose & almond hand cream
Akamuti’s Buttered Rose & Almond Hand Cream.

What exciting new products are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a flower based perfume at the moment, so I’m playing around with sandalwood, rose, jasmine and a number of other oils to get the best combination. I’ve decided to keep the perfume as an oil, much like the ancient Attar perfumes, which were based on sandalwood oil. I am a big fan of eastern aromatherapy and I like the way the scents make me drift away to the ancient lands of Persia or Anatolia in my mind.  

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
I’ve got a few favourites but I’ll try and narrow them down. My first love is definitely Rose Otto oil – it works so well for many physical and emotional problems, as well as smelling beautiful. I also love working with Neroli essential oil because it is so uplifting. If an oil could have the quality of kindness then this is the one. 

Why should people buy your products?
Because they are good for the skin and the soul! They are made with 100% natural ingredients from start to finish without any additional rubbish, and we try our best to harness all of the natural goodness of trees, plants and flowers in each product so that our customers get the very best we can make. Our products are people and planet friendly, and they are affordable too.
 
Akamuti-replenishing rose facial oil
Akamuti’s Replenishing Rose Facial Oil.

What do you expect to top your Christmas bestsellers list this year?
At the moment, our Replenishing Rose Face Cream is selling very quickly so we are making lots of it to try to keep up with demand. Over the winter the skin tends to dry out much more (I know mine has!) so your skin will really appreciate a good, rich moisturiser to put back all the goodness which the cold weather takes out of it. Replenishing Rose Face Cream is a welcome treat for tired, hungry skin because it is very rich and softening, combining nourishing raspberry, precious pomegranate and rosehip oils with luxurious Rose Otto oil. I expect all our face creams and exotic butters to be the bestsellers over Christmas because they make lovely, unusual presents that are totally natural and ethical.

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I recently chanced upon a bottle of Kalahari Watermelon Body Oil that had been kicking around in the back of my bathroom, and let me tell you it is a glorious treat after a brief interlude of using a cheap Superdrug moisturiser. It smells utterly heavenly and soaks in really well, leaving a delicate waft of essential oils in its wake. You too can shop with Akamuti on their website and at independent retailers across the country.

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