Ways To Reduce Chemical Sensitivity

Today, I want to share with you how I’m finding ways to reduce chemical sensitivity to perfume and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Our modern society has unfortunately gone cuckoo for chemicals to the point where toxic chemicals are everywhere. We’re drinking them in our water. They’re in our food. We’re even breathing them in our air, and wearing them on our bodies. Some of the most toxic chemicals we encounter are VOCs.

What is a volatile organic compound, or VOC?

A VOC is any chemical compound that outgasses or creates fumes that are usually associated with a scent. Some VOCs are more stinky than dangerous, like sweaty boy socks. Some are more dangerous and less stinky, like natural gas. Natural gas has to have a stinky compound added to it so that we can smell it and realize that there’s danger. And then, there are those VOCs that fall somewhere in between, like, bleach, perfume, laundry soap, and air fresheners. VOCs can also be all natural, like the fragrance of roses or the scent of basil.

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The older we get, the more our bodies struggle to handle VOCs. Finding ways to reduce chemical sensitivity can be the key to improving our quality of life.

Hi, my name is Krystine Kercher, and I’m an artist and author, and–I have chemical sensitivities… Unfortunately for me, there isn’t any ‘Chemicals Anonymous’ support group that I can join to get support for this.

Most people do not have chemical sensitivities to the extent that I do, which is a very good thing–for them!

But I do happen to know a lot of people who are sensitized, especially to perfume. You might be dealing with chemical sensitivities if, when you encounter someone who’s used too much perfume, it makes you nauseated or gives you a bad headache. Or, if your laundry detergent or bath and body products give you a rash.

Reducing chemical sensitivity to perfume and other VOC’s is a process

If you’re sensitized to VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and you’d like to know how to reduce your sensitivity to perfume and other volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), here are some helpful hints.

What Inspires Me

What inspires me to create art?

That depends. I can get inspired by a set of colors, or a photo I took, a flower, a butterfly, or a special event. Sometimes I’m inspired by special requests for original artwork. Sometimes my inspiration comes from memory.

Poppy Apocalypse -Click on the image to shop artwork was inspired by the super bloom of California poppies this spring.

Click on the image to shop for artwork inspired by the super bloom of California poppies this spring.

The past couple of months, I’ve drawn inspiration from Spoonflower’s challenges. While useful in getting the creative juices flowing, I’ve also found them to be stressful. I want to do well at them, but sometimes my quirky out-of-the-box creative bent takes me off in unanticipated directions.

And sometimes, my original ideas just don’t connect with my intended audience. Stress is bad for creativity. Stress also knocks my inspiration down and stomps all over it. I don’t perform well at all under pressure. Oh, let’s be honest here: introduce stress to the mix, and my creativity and inspiration take a hike and refuse to return for quite a while afterwards.

In talking with other artists, I’ve discovered that

Yes, I’m An Art Critic

Yes, I’m an art critic. You probably are one too!

What makes me an art critic? What makes YOU an art critic?

Maybe…it’s an eye for a great design or a beautiful painting, or that perfect pillow or card. Maybe it’s that unerring ability to pick out the perfect necktie or shirt or pair of shoes. You like some designs and not others. Maybe you love abstract designs or floral, or coastal and shabby chic, or farmhouse style. Maybe your style embraces lots of bling or understated elegance.

What makes me an art critic is simple: I want to improve my own artwork, so I seek inspiration from examples of artwork that I like where the composition is excellent and the colors all work together in harmony–or at least with no eye-searing clashing. I can, however, handle a little dissonance… I like a wide range of art and artistic styles. I’ve fallen in love with abstract patterns, with impressionist florals, even with stark modern lines.

Organizing my artwork

One of the issues I’ve encountered as a creative person is an issue with organizing my artwork so that other people can easily find and enjoy it.

I admit it: I’m a “messy.”

I tend to file things in vertical piles. Stacks. Heaps. Whatever!

When I was younger, this wasn’t a problem. I knew exactly which stack and where in that stack the thing I needed was stored. Usually. My memory carried the load for me. I also was better about cleaning up those piles more frequently and putting them away.

Fast-forward to now: I’m realizing more and more that my creative, anything goes form of organizing is not only inconveniencing me (I’ve got too many stacks and I’ve forgotten what’s in them), but it’s also inconveniencing other people.

New York City and London artwork: I found my artwork - and posted it for sale in my "Famous Cities" collection on Spoonflower. Click through to purchase.

I found my artwork and posted it for sale in my “Famous Cities” collection on Spoonflower. Click through to purchase.

I’ve been trying harder to organize my artwork especially–because how are my customers going to find what they love if I can’t even find it to share it with them?

Lately, I’ve tackled several organizing issues online and on my computer related to this problem. I think I’m getting a handle on them, at least for now.

Organizing my artwork on my computer

Organizing my artwork on my computer has been a real challenge. For one thing, I’ve gone through four or five different computers since the Compaq that first spurred many of my creative efforts.

There are files I’m never going to be able to open again, files that have become corrupted or I’ve lost because computers have changed so much since then and the old formats are no longer readable. And frankly, when you’re saving files on flash drives and other media, it’s easy to lose track of where they are.

Recently I became aware that some of my favorite artwork was missing, and I didn’t know where it was. I had files filed under separate folders for more than one reason. Files transferred from other computers, folders that were labeled and forgotten, and of course, a number of flash drives.