Into the Woods: Hemp Wedding Dresses with Designer Tara Lynn

For many women the day of their wedding is the one day where they can truly feel like a goddess. The modern women doesn’t get to wear fairy princess dresses everyday, but on the days that they can they reserve the right to go all out. Of course women can be goddesses everyday but it’s always fun to dress the part.

In the enchanted woods of Vermont, the wind blows wistfully while a butterfly floats by, the rustling of leaves while little animals scurry about, and in a cozy cabin with a wood burning fire an inspired woman makes dresses for goddesses on their special day. Tara Lynn Scheidet is a wedding dress designer and leader in “the green wave of bridal fashion.” She makes unique, custom wedding dresses and other clothing using natural fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, and silk.

Tara Lynn always knew she wanted to make clothes. “The first jacket I made for myself was made from my mom’s bell bottoms. I turned them into a mini skirt and from the bottom half made a jacket.” She grew up in Long Island and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her artistic inspiration has always been centered around nature and “natural sustainably processed materials.”

Early in her career she learned about the more troubling aspects of the fashion industry. “It wasn’t until college that I realized the uglier side to fashion; the pollution and slave labor. I searched NYC for an ethical eco fashion company and found a hemp clothing store. By the time I graduated from FIT I had a certificate in Tailoring and was making custom hemp clothing form pajamas to wedding dresses and suits. I even sold a hemp silk tie I made to Woody Harrelson. I was on a mission to live more sustainably and open my eco-fashion house in Vermont.”

So she made her way to the beautiful woods of Vermont to create lovely, nature inspired fashions. “Today when I am not creating clothing in my studio, I spend my time stacking wood, building our home and getting dirty in the garden.” As stated in her personal bio “trading the city for the country has paid off for Tara Lynn.” It’s certainly interesting to note the stark contrast of Tara Lynn’s two worlds. The hustle and activity of the city compared to the serene woods of Vermont. She brings modern life to the country in a balanced fusion of two worlds: the world of fashion and the world of mother nature.

“Well I love NYC, but I can’t live there. It’s exciting, I miss the food, night life, art, the crazy hair, the culture mix, and the garment district full of trims, buttons, textiles, you name it. But it’s dirty and noisy and though Central Park is beautiful, I love to hear the river from my studio, watch the squirrels play in the tree at my window, see a spotted salamander in the summer and when I walk my dog at lunch we see fisher cat tracks in the snow.”

Making the move from the city to the country required work for Tara Lynn and her husband. But their dream to live a more sustainable life was a strong motivator. “When my husband Evan and I left Long Island we moved into a tiny log cabin in the woods on 92 acres with no water or electricity. We spent the next 15 years building our home, my studio and his engine machine shop. We wanted to live independently from the system, use solar electricity and grow a huge garden. Independence, freedom, space, less people, more wildlife, that is why we are living in Vermont.”

The woods of Vermont provide Tara Lynn with a great deal of inspiration as do her clients. “My customers inspire me the most, and they come from all over the US, Canada and as far as Australia. But when they request that I hand make their favorite flowers, butterflies and fairies, I find in Vermont I can step right out of the studio and pick the wild flowers and see the butterflies and birds right there in my yard. In fact, sometimes they fly into the studio while I am creating! Vermont’s landscape, panoramic views, sparkling snow in the moonlight – it’s a magical place full of wondrous plants and creatures that lend to a calm of fantasy that I can immerse myself into.”

While always interested in making clothes the idea to venture into the bridal industry came at a specific point in time. The designer was working at a hemp boutique in NYC when she was first motivated to begin making wedding dresses. “A customer came in one day and asked if I could make her a custom hemp wedding dress. She was looking for an eco-friendly wedding dress and that’s where it all started. Wedding gowns enable me to create a wearable piece of art that is a collaboration and personal expression of the woman who wears it. It’s a fun, exciting and emotional experience that keeps me going year after year. I’m hooked.”

A woman’s wedding dress is such an important part of her special day. As Tara Lynn likes to say “wear what you love, love what you wear.” While being in touch with mother nature, the designer also seems to be very in touch with the nature of women. She explains well what sets her apart from others in her industry. “Each wedding gown we create is a unique testimony to the things that are important to the bride. No two gowns are ever alike. Each gown fits the eclectic style, natural body, and unique personality of the woman who wears it. Our work is authentic. Every wedding gown ordered is personalized for the bride, inspired by the bride, and created to compliment her best features.”

While wedding gowns have become a centerpiece of Tara Lynn’s career, at its core her career has been about the importance of nature both in imagery and terms of materials used. “My first clothing collection was a line of designer hemp jackets dedicated to endangered species and the first jacket was the butterfly jacket. Customers loved it. I started selling my designer hemp jackets at art shows all along the east coast and people would say things like ‘I didn’t know butterflies were endangered.’ They would feel a hemp wedding dress and proclaim to their surprise ‘this is beautiful fabric!’ Educating people motivates me.”

Educating, inspiring, and beautifying are all services she provides. Her story is a beautiful interweaving of nature, fashion, expression, comfortability and the beauty of women. “I capture my customer’s spirit in a dress. Clothing can be superficial or it can be a spiritual expression of our true selves. When you wear something that is not you, just to fit a mold that feels superficial. Or as my apprentice Margi said it, ‘if I am wearing something that isn’t me I won’t be wearing it for long, I would rather be naked!’” Tara Lynn creates fashions that encourage people to be themselves, and feel comfortable doing it. There is nothing more natural than that.

Check out TaraLynnBridal.com

By Chanel Wing/THC National Issue 2017

Saving Sophie and the Power of CBD Oil

While recreational use of cannabis is rampant, it’s an important time to acknowledge the most profound ways in which cannabis heals people with very serious diagnoses. Most importantly is the way children benefit from the healing properties of cannabis. Children represent the future and a sense of innocence and trust that makes life worth living. So when a young soul is faced with the troubling news of illness even terminal illness, we may be willing to open up to new methods of treatments or entertain possibilities that have in the past deviated form the norm.

Luckily we are living at a time where the knowledge and understanding of the potential benefits of CBD and THC are becoming nearly commonplace. CannaKids is a wonderful organization out of California created to assist children with accessing, receiving and properly dosing CBD and THC oils. It is becoming widely accepted that cannabis oils have great medicinal value due to an alarming success rate in treating various conditions from epilepsy, to autism and cancer.

CannaKids was started by Tracey Ryan, her daughter Sophie was born in 2012 and at 8 1/2 months old was diagnosed with a low-grade, slow-growing Optic Pathway Glioma brain tumor. She was recommended a year long chemo regimen which was never intended to eliminate the tumor. Ryan claims on savingsophie.org, “doctors told us if they saw even minimal shrinkage it would be considered a huge success.”

A few months after her diagnosis she began consuming concentrated CBD and THC oils. After a year of treatment her tumor was almost 90% gone. Important to note that she used the oils in conjunction with chemo therapy treatments. The recommendation is not cannabis alone to fight such severe disease but integration of cannabis into the other treatments being recommended by doctors.

The organization has two websites that can be accessed for a broad range of information. SavingSophie.org and CannaKids.org. While browsing it was immediately apparent that they are geared toward helping patients and making access as easy as possible. They are even willing to provide help to families that may not have the financial resources to keep up with the cost of cannabis oil.

Founder Tracey Ryan notes the hundreds of hours of research she endured to find the answers she was looking for. Because of her hard work and dedication parents who are now looking for answers can find it all on CannaKids.org. Information regarding the tremendous healing benefits of cannabis have until now been a mystery that needed to be unraveled. People like her are helping lead the way. Ryan was honored recently at the Cannabis Business Awards for her work with this organization.

The cannabis produced and sold by CannaKids is made by highly qualified scientists who “specialize in medical cannabinoid formation.” The oil produced by CannaKids is made through a CO2 extraction process. Many argue that carbon dioxide is the best extraction process. In the past 5 years extractions/concentrates have boomed in the cannabis market. This part of the industry is perhaps the most innovative due to the various forms and methods of extracting. It is something that is constantly evolving and we are continuing to learn about through experience in production and consumption.

Perhaps the reason extracts have become increasingly popular as well as the best avenue through which cannabinoids can provide healing is because they are the pure essence of the plant. Concentrates are the most raw, intense form of what cannabis has to offer. So CBD and THC oils provide the maximum benefit to the consumer. The success stories of the CannaKids are enough to at least give skeptics pause and consider the potential value in cannabis oils as a medical treatment.

Unfortunately, a Federal Register released on December 14, 2016 established a new drug code for “marihuana extract”. The claim is that no real changes are being made but the goal was to clarify and reaffirm the DEA’s position on all cannabis extracts including CBD oil. “Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule 1 controlled substances.”

The notice goes on to clarify that “all extracts that have been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis and which contain cannabinols and cannabidiols.” This last statement is referring to hemp extractions. Much of the CBD oil sold nation wide is derived from hemp plants and was previously thought to be legal to sell across state lines. These oils help children in states where cannabis is not legal and with this most recent “clarification” we are left to wonder if cannabis oils will become less available to children and adults in need of them. This type of legislation or enforcement could greatly interfere with CBD oil companies.

In the last 10-15 years many strides forward have been made in marjuana progress. Legalization has provided people with the opportunity to explore and discover more about this ancient, healing plant. The success stories are becoming too many to count. The CannaKids are a reminder of this and they give you hope. On the other hand we are reminded that at any moment the federal government can intervene and make access more difficult for everyone.

Hopefully this will not be the case, eventually empirical evidence of the healing benefits of cannabis will be too strong to deny. Organizations like CannaKids are laying the groundwork for years to come. Personal testimonies from children who tend to express the truth, mixed with hard evidence and research, along with a product made specifically to help children in need is what Tracey Ryan and the CannaKids organization offer. Organizations like them and so many others are providing a great service to our communities by spreading the truth and providing help to people who have been waiting for a better healing alternative.

By Chanel Wing/THC Magazine February 2017

Juan Matthew: Art, Autism and the Power of Positivity

The story of a hero is an ancient one. A hero according to late, great Joseph Campbell “is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” In the story of life you are the star and you decide how to express your unique voice.

“Everything starts with a story, a story of creation, a story of any individual who has brought Light/Truth to the planet.There is no justice where there is no truth. Freedom is lost when we are not permitted to think or say or free to question what must be questioned,” Juan Matthew De La Tour.

In modern society people may often feel bereft of creativity and spirituality. We live in a time of science, technology and “plastic”. Modern warriors of today fight different battles than heroes of the past. Today the heroes that people need perhaps, are creative ones.

Juan Matthew De La Tour is a peaceful warrior in this modern age. He is an artist and a light to be seen. Living in central Pennsylvania, in the “mountains of dark,” where medical marijuana has not yet fully taken shape; Juan Matthew is creating eye catching cannabis inspired art. He also falls on the spectrum of autism and has used cannabis as a means for coping with some of his symptoms.

Although medical marijuana has been passed in Pennsylvania the program for adults to obtain marijuana will not go into effect until the beginning of 2018. While there is still broad speculation and little empirical evidence, there is an overwhelming amount of personal stories attesting to the usefulness of cannabis in alleviating certain symptoms of autism. Same is true for many other medical conditions; doctors are just not yet able to comfortably recommend cannabis due to lack of scientific evidence. Hopefully this will change in the coming years as legalization laws will make research more possible.

Juan Matthew primarily relies on smoking to consume cannabis but is open to trying new methods. More will become available to him once dispensaries open in 2018, if he chooses to get in the system. He first used cannabis at the age of 23 and sensed how it might benefit him.

“I realized cannabis had a positive effect on me, when I could slow my mind down and actually think and see life in a more natural way. I could slow down the music in my head and find the radio frequency I desired. Gradually I made my weakness my strength and can now speak better than most humans. Cannabis helps to calm and heal individuals and this is true for me. Having autistic spectrum disorder is just a label. I have overcome so much in my life – you will always struggle but struggle tests and improves us. When you have problems you engage in thinking where imagination is one with memory. Cannabis helps me communicate, make good eye contact, and feel joyful in this realm of illusion.”

Although cannabis helps Juan Matthew in a general sense, it may come as a surprise that he doesn’t prefer smoking while making art. “I started making art early in my childhood. I don’t rely on anything but my human experience for art. The art was there before cannabis. Some ideas obviously have been inspired by THC. But not having cannabis is motivation. Cannabis for an already creative individual may generate new wonderful ideas and solutions and will continue to do so. Something inside me is different than most, my light.”

“Cannabis can influence the one individual and if that individual can change their heart then there is hope with cannabis. I believe art should give us an idea of our relationship with planet earth and each other, where we rejoice in all abilities.”

Juan Matthew’s art has many different elements working together to create a unique, seamlessly woven, colorful mosaic, sometimes including cannabis leaves, hidden messages of love and his signature 420 heart creation. He is eager to share some of his creative techniques.

“For those who want to try something new, creative, scientific, and therapeutic. Joint compound is a material traditionally used to finish walls or patch holes but it is also a blossoming new form of art I have been promoting for years. You can finger paint by smearing the compound on a canvas using your hands and fingers as the tools for original, professional art, let dry and add a paint of your choice.”

“I also use molten glue. I discovered the incredible detail you can achieve when painting dry-molten glue. I experimented on 30 canvases, devising 30 different techniques for application. I have pioneered drawing with a glue gun on numerous surfaces making the glue itself art. I want to inspire others to believe in themselves and devise new ideas and techniques of their own to share and start a New Art Revolution!”

This is the story of an artist with a vision, a purpose and a desire to create change in a positive way. Nothing can limit us or keep us from understanding the meaning behind things. Creative expression is a great way to begin to understand our world. From understanding comes wisdom. Only resistance of truth keeps you from understanding, keeps you from wisdom.

“Wisdom is the knowledge of the divine, human matters, and the cause of them. At any age wisdom is from pain. Wisdom Herself is a divine being. I am a speck of dust and all I know is that I am still learning. Most people simply do not care.” Hopefully in the coming years people will begin to understand the nature of the universe in which we live and the story of the human spirit.

Stories are a journey and we as humans are the hero and heroines of our own tales. There is a story developing in our society, it is a story like Juan Matthew’s, it is about the ongoing discovery of the healing potential of cannabis and the suffering human soul. At this point in history there seems to be an interweaving of psychology, creativity, spirituality and a drug that was once demonized is now reminding us of its greater purpose. Hopefully in the near future, science will support what many have discovered on their own.

In the words of Juan Matthew, an enlightened artist who is giving his life to express something bigger than himself, a hero in his own right, “My life is beautiful when it is difficult and I succeed. My art is the manifestation of my ancestors, strength from pain, beauty from chaos. Within my blood dwells century’s fire and I am unleashing it from my heart. My earth walk will end one day but my fire will never die.”

Some voices are here to inspire us, to remind us of the essence of life, Juan Matthew De La Tour is one of those voices. May his words ring on. “Use your imagination, nothing’s impossible, just imagine.”

By Chanel Wing/THC Magazine January 2017

Cannabis trees and the holiday blues

One of the most magical things about cannabis plants is their crystals. They glisten and shine like little diamonds, like snowflakes, like lights on a Christmas tree. Cannabis plants are decorated with their own Christmas lights provided by mother nature. It is a beautiful thing to behold.

Winter is coming again. The nights grow longer and the holidays are near. I always thought myself lucky to be born one week before Christmas Day. That time of year had layers of celebration for me as a child. I definitely fall into the category of a spoiled millennial. Although I consider myself to be in the first wave of millennials for whom the ground is more solid.

Personally my life has been anything but ideal. To say my life is not what I expected is an understatement. But in so many ways it is better than what I expected too. It falls into the category of,“You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.” Our generation cares a lot about what we want and when it comes to what we need we aren’t quite as intrigued.

Yet in my life it is when I embraced circumstances that I didn’t think I “wanted” that I ended up gaining more than I ever expected. On the contrary when I’ve gotten things I’ve wanted in life I’m never left satisfied. As sure as you are that your thirst will be quenched once you achieve some goal or obtain some possession, it’s never quite enough, the pull of wanting catches you, and you are again lost in a downward spiral of craving. Never is this maddening cycle more evident than around the holidays.

We are inundated with decorations and commercials, overindulgence and excess. Encouraged to want more, to eat more, to drink more. This is a short version of what we refer to as “the holidays”. Ultimately we end up needing a holiday from the holidays. There is a lot of emphasis on consuming and receiving. Frequent questions in the month of December fall along the lines of, “What do you want for Chistmas?” “Hey what did you get for Christmas?”

What can we get and how much can we consume pretty much sums up the holiday season. This is our chosen method for celebrating the end of our years on this often troubling planet. We kiss the year goodbye by indulging in our worst habits. It seems to be a time of year when it is more evident than ever that maybe our way of life is missing the mark when it comes to true joy and happiness.

Despite my joy as a child in receiving gifts and eating lavishly, as an adult I’ve been a victim of the holiday blues. Year after year I struggle to walk away from Christmas feeling a real sense of joy. And each year I ask what went wrong? I wonder how I spent another Christmas day stuck in disappointment. Maybe it’s because I have yet to realize and accept the fact that Christmas is not about my happiness, its about other people’s happiness. It’s not about what gift I did or didn’t get, it’s about what I give to others and not just on Christmas day but everyday.

It seems that many of us have neglected the spirit of giving. What if the emphasis was truly on what we can do for someone else? A celebration of love to end the year could be giving back to others. This may sound cliche or you may say “wait that’s what Christmas is already about.” But it seems rare that we truly give to others without an expectation of something in return. Giving back isn’t buying them socks, perfume, gadgets, slippers or toys but by giving them you, your undying love and presence, your ear, your words, your truth, your helping hand, your advice, your acceptance, your admiration. The years go by so fast, faster all the time. As we complete one after another, each presenting it’s new challenges, the hope is that we come closer to our true selves, closer to our heart centers. Closer to a place of giving rather than receiving and giving without any expectation that it will be returned. That is unconditional love and that’s what Christmas is about.

An iconic image of the Christmas season is of course the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree. We all bring a tree in our home for a month and allow it to grace our living rooms and peacefully watch over our holiday festivities. For me, one of the best images of the heart center and unconditional love is a tree. Trees have a lot to teach us about selflessness. For trees life is not about wanting more and more or me, me, me. Life for trees is about giving. They have no ego, they live a life of unity, interconnectedness and sacrifice.

Of course one of the most important trees in my life is cannabis. The cannabis plant exemplifies the spirit of giving more than any plant. The ways in which this plant gives back are numerous. One single plant may reach hundreds of people. The power, sacrifice and ability of these plants to bring healing energy to human beings is unprecedented. Its merits are becoming an undeniable fact to the majority of the population. With all the division in this country this year one thing is clear, cannabis is turning the map green. This magical plant offers so many people with the opportunity for healing, for softening for understanding and connecting. Fortunately, it is becoming accessible to millions of people across the country especially because it appears now we may need it’s guidance more than ever.

We can’t always get what we want, sometimes your family can’t afford the newest iPhone or Beats headphones. But sometimes we get what we need and what we need now in our country is healing, understanding and above all unconditional love. Unconditional love can only flow form our heart centers. Christmas trees and cannabis silently remind us to stay centered and love unconditionally. That is the greatest gift you can give to those around you.

Here I am a Christmas baby who has always disappointed by the holidays. The holidays tend to remind me of all I’ve lost and now at 30 years old with a son of my own, the time has come to not focus on me, me, me and all I’ve suffered. The time has come to focus on the future, on all I’ve gained, on all I have to give, all that I want to give back to the world, to my country, to my community, to my family, to my son.

Cannabis reminds me “it’s not about you, it’s about giving love and service to the people that surround you and the planet you live on.” The plants whisper, “everything will be ok, the undying thread of love is ever present.” They ease my fears. “Be merry” they sing for there is so much to be grateful for, so much ahead of us that will shock and inspire us. I’m so glad they are along for the ride. May we all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

By Chanel Wing/THC Magazine December 2016