Meet Our Founder
Hazelwood Lake. Lappe, Ontario
Hello and Greetings! My name is Allison Skirtschak. I am a multidisciplinary artist and the founder of BOREAL BODY. I live in a rural community Northwest of Thunder Bay known as Lappe. Nestled near Lake Superior with abundant wild forests, fresh lakes and meandering rivers, Lappe has been the perfect place to call home. As some local Laplander folk like to say, “#happyinLappe.” Experiencing each unique season in the north has brought with it many simple pleasures: listening to chickadees sing their namesake chickadee-dee-dee call on a cold winter’s day; walking through the forest as the fragrant buds of balsam poplar begin to open and fill the air with their distinctive sweet smell, heralding that spring has finally arrived; tasting delicious blueberries and perhaps a few blackflies while out wild harvesting under the late summer sun; and driving down the northern highways in autumn as the forests of sugar maple, trembling aspen, tamarack and white birch prepare for yet another winter and set the forest ablaze with colour.
While living close to the land, one comes to understand their interconnection with the natural environment. We need each other to survive – the bees, the sturgeon, the tall standing spruce, even the blackflies all have a purpose in the great web of life. Confronted by what is occurring in the world today – mass deforestation, contamination of fresh water and air, endangered species of plants and animals – all of us have a responsibility to take actions to protect our earth and all our relations for future generations. Inspired by traditional boreal ecological and cultural knowledge, I’ve sought to learn about the medicinal plants of the boreal forest.
During my twenties, I worked for many years as a tree planter in remote bush camps throughout Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. In the forest - under the blazing summer sun, bug bitten and covered in dirt - I felt totally alive. Naturally, I felt called to live in the bush during the rest of the year and learn from the land. I moved to Lappe in 2010 and began to root myself more deeply into learning about medicinal plants of the boreal forest. After making herbal infused salves and teas as gifts for friends and family over the years, I was encouraged to sell my boreal forest goods in local markets.
And so began BOREAL BODY. The name was inspired by a value rooted deep within me that we are intimately connected with Mother Earth. We belong here. It is my sincere hope that these boreal forest plant medicines bring healing and inspire people to care for themselves and this beautiful and biodiverse place that we call home.
Since 2011, I've been selling my wildcrafted skincare goods at various seasonal art shows and farmers markets. You can find me at a variety of craft shows in Thunder Bay, like Artisans Northwest Fine Art and Craft Show and The Craft Revival.
Throughout the years and changing seasons, my friends and family have been instrumental in helping with various stages of the business – everything from harvesting balsam poplar buds and spruce pitch, individually stamping birch bark labels and glueing them on to containers with a paintbrush one by one and helping me to get my work online. I use the pronoun “we” to refer to BOREAL BODY, because this business wouldn’t be possible without their support.
To learn more about past and upcoming art shows, please see our Events Page found Under the "In The Community" drop down menu.