Creativity has been a life-long journey for this talented and artistic visionary. As the first-born daughter of Aleene Jackson, America’s beloved “Mother of Crafting” and inventor of Aleene’s Tacky Glue, Candace thrived in a creative environment. Working in her mother’s family business as a young child, Candace remembers taking every class that was taught in her mother’s store. Perhaps it was her experience of making every artificial flower imaginable at the time that blossomed into her love for nature, plants, herbs and teaching. As the first of five children, Candace remembers being involved in every aspect of her mother’s flourishing company, from working in the retail store to sorting and answering the abundant mail received through television appearances to learning the now lost-art of varityping in the family’s print shop.
In the 1960s and 70s, Candace utilized administrative skills she learned while attending the prestigious Katherine Gibbs School in Boston focusing in the fields of banking and architecture. While raising her young son in the 1970s, Candace formed a community craft group and taught regular craft classes.
The 1980s brought about a rebirth in Candace’s artistry as she expressed her creativity through floral design and interiors. Focusing on understanding her clients’ lifestyles and design, Candace specialized in floral arrangements, which quickly became the favorites of local interior designers. Through her work at a wicker furnishings store and the opening of her own store, Candace Originals, her creative expertise expanded into imaginative window displays and stunning interior store displays. Unrealized at the time, this eye for seeing things differently would serve as the catalyst for her future “creative lifestyles” work.
As the spiritual forerunner in her family, Candace discovered an interest in metaphysics and astrology in the early 1990s and studied medicinal herbalism with herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar. Driven by her intense interest in herbs, in 1995, Candace moved with her husband, Ed to Royersford, Pennsylvania and transplanted and transformed six-acres of her property into an herbal and garden sanctuary. With a natural creek and hundreds of trees dotting the landscape, this area also serves as a haven for wildlife including birds, pheasants, owls, deer, foxes, frogs and salamanders. Open to individual public and group tours, numerous people strolled the paths of her display gardens, sitting and relaxing along the way or enjoying the sight of butterflies and hummingbirds feeding in the gardens. Guests would regularly comment that they didn’t want to leave the quiet serenity of the sanctuary, which was a far cry from their hectic lives.
The rebuilding and remodeling of a large storage/garage building became the home for her business, The Herbal Sanctuary, where garden guests could shop for medicinal herbs, potpourri, culinary herbs, aromatherapy or sign-up for one of Candace’s many creative expression classes. Under her creative expertise, students learned how to press and preserve flowers, make sachets and aromatherapy potpourri, create herbal vinegars, decorate natural wreaths, and craft Christmas décor. Some of her most popular classes were candle crafting, soap and paper making and other trend-setting ideas. For those interested in the stimulating the senses, Candace offered aromatherapy, bath oils, essential oils and cosmetic herbs along with teas, tinctures and salves.
A popular destination for individuals interested in healing themselves inside and out, Candace’s tea parties became an event to experience. From springtime to Easter, Mother’s Day to Christmas, an Herbal Sanctuary Tea Party was a way to experience a relaxing afternoon. Many of her Tea in the Garden events featured themed craft demonstrations where guests could make and take a craft project. The kids enjoyed Teddy Bear’s Picnics and Treasure Hunt Picnics, which taught them about nature as they went on scavenger hunts for natural materials. Fairy and Angel tea parties featured heavenly cookies and desserts and her Lavender Tea parties delighted guests with expressive ways to include lavender in cookies and teas while herbed tea sandwiches tantalized the tastebuds.
A featured speaker at many herb and garden clubs, senior centers and elder hostel centers, Candace introduced crowds to the basics of medicinal herbs. Before they were ever recognized in the mainstream, Candace was teaching about the healing benefits of Echinacea, St. Johns Wort, Kava Kava, Gotu Kola and Ginko. In early 1999, Candace opened her second Herbal Sanctuary location in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania bringing her rural herbal garden to a city setting. Located on the main highway in a quaint group of shops, this location made her herbal expertise more accessible and gave her the opportunity to expand her client base.
In late-1999, Candace followed her inner guidance and closed her retail businesses in order to prepare for her heart’s work in the new millenium. Through her medicinal herbal work, Candace realized her gift was to help others recognize their life options by breaking out of old lifestyles. As a “life” counselor or way-show-er she is now teaching others how to create the atmosphere of sanctuary in their lives and homes. Candace counsels individuals in the art of redecorating their lives or better yet, “creative lifestyling” which creates doorways for change.
Continuing on her path of sharing her passion for creative expression, in 2004, Candace envisioned Wye River Designs as a place where women can gather together to create and share through crafting. Located in Grasonville, Maryland this unique studio features unique, creative, contemporary design classes including today’s hottest crafting techniques and mosaics.