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Behind the Scenes | Tamara Becerra Valdez

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Delicate bundles of wildflowers promising to change the energy in rooms when burned; mushroom-infused honeys said to nourish mind, body, and sprit; “Four Storms Cider” for boosting the immune system with a combination of ginger, elderberries, cayenne, and sage honey. Each of these mystical-sounding items is a creation of Botanicals Folklorica, the handcrafted apothecary line of Tamara Becerra Valdez.

Valdez learned apothecary arts at Austin’s Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine, where students are trained in taking a holistic approach to the human body using herbs and plants for their healing properties. At the school, Valdez explains, she was introduced to the value of bioregionalism and sustainable harvesting, practices she carries into her own work.

Today, Valdez handcrafts all the products in her line herself, carefully sourcing herbs and mushrooms from trusted sources and trying to harvest and forage as much as possible on her own time. “I’m always looking to meet beekeepers, lovers of the wild, and unusual makers of medicine,” she says. “Since creating the line, I have been lucky to find generous neighbors and friends who have shared from their own apothecaries or gardens.”

Each item in Valdez’s line is a balance of beauty and use, which speaks to her formal background in studio art and anthropology. For instance, her mushroom-infused honeys, delicately packaged and intended to “support in strengthening the body against the effects of a stressful lifestyle.” The honeys were inspired by traditional Chinese medicine and Western herbalism, as well as the idea that food is intrinsically the best medicine.

Valdez is also a self-taught perfumer, drawn to the history of the practice, the complexity of scent, and the way the mastery of fragrance is “capable of evoking a mood or feeling,” she explains. Ultimately, Valdez says, her thoughtful line is intended to encourage awareness: an observation of one’s own body and of nature’s multifaceted benefits. For more information, visit her website.

Credits

Photography by Jess Williamson

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