Blog

The Feminist Witch

There’s a lot that’s been said about the ‘Feminist Witch’ recently, from writers like Gala Darling, inspiring women to set positive intentions in our lives and practice radical self-love to the W.I.T.C.H. movement, hexing the patriarchy. We saw this reclamation of the mystical experience swelling quietly over the last few years, giving off subtle cultural indicators like a rekindled fascination with crystals and zodiac signs in pop imagery. While the influence of esoteric traditions feeding into these exoteric symbols has always ebbed and flowed (The late 1990’s & 2000’s saw a great interest in magic, and before that the 1980’s with artists like Genesis P-Orridge , late 1960’s and ’70’s counter-cultural movements, 1940’s Beat Generation, and 1920’s Spiritualism and the likes of Aliester Crowley.), but I don’t recall a timewhen magic has been used as such a symbol of girl power.

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Spells for Social Causes

Spells are closely related to prayers, asking for intervention on the part of a higher power (sometimes our higher selves), to achieve a desired outcome. Spellwork involves ritual actions and setting an intention. Even something as simple as guided meditation can be regarded as a ritual. Unconsciously, we cycle through common rituals throughout our day, observing without thinking about how they shape priorities, perceptions and inner lives. Encountering certain objects in the course of a day triggers prescribed actions: a coffee maker, a car or computer triggers a cascading series of events, one leading logically to the next. We are like fleshy liquids flowing around the built environment through time. So, can we reverse-engineer pauses or breaks to check our intentions and actions at regular intervals?

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Seen The Future

Good things are in the works this Fall. There’s been ample opportunity to collaborate and get new work out through multiple channels. Artwork is up at The Future – an Aquarian Lab in South Minneapolis, I’m making more pieces to go to Gallery 360 for the holidays, an upcoming pop-up show at Acanthus Floral Art on October 13th, and the ACC’s Holiday Craft Hop with Conspiracy of Strange Girls Dec 2nd. Trusting the process each day, I’m building energy and momentum with each move made. Hoping to imbue each piece with a little life of it’s own, I’d love to see positive feedback loops forming to sustain my practice well into the future.

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Original Sigilcraft

When asked, I’ve been describing sigils as ‘symbols with intent’. Though certainly more complex than that, it’s a reasonable explanation in a nutshell, to those unfamiliar with their history and pervasiveness in visual culture. A logo is a sigil, a state seal is a sigil, a cattle brand, graffiti tag or maker’s mark can be a sigil. It is a crafted icon in which power has been invested toward a given outcome. For our purposes, it is a seal impressed upon an object (a personal talisman or house warding tile) to be used as a protective, energetic shield or to manifest a desire into being. Although they can be a battery for spiritual energy, the use of a sigil does not require religious belief, it can be viewed as a psychological science.

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Wildcrafting

This whole solar cycle has been a roller-coaster, with sharp emotional ups and downs, for a variety of reasons – both public and private. At this point in the year, after so much turmoil in the news and in our communities, it feels numbing just to keep up with the deluge. Like trying to drink water from a fire hose, we’re fighting every day just to remain balanced and resist the dark side. One thing that I’ve found to be a grounding force, however, is a foray into medicine gardens, herbalism and wildcrafting. The quiet times I’ve spent researching, gathering and cultivating have paid for themselves by opening up a space for calmness to creep up, displacing the inner melee.

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Energetic Protection

Protective sigils are created through a variety of methods, and result in a unique symbol or character, charged with specific intent by the creator and user. These objects have been created with specific purpose in mind, and have been cleansed and consecrated to be charged with your energy and perform this function. To activate the ward or talisman, you will need to perform the three ‘C’s – cleansing, consecrating and charging your object – in a way that is meaningful to you and your purposes. Below are suggestions for how to do this:

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Alter Pieces

Grasping at a universal lattice of some kind, these studies in pencil and paint on panel are a way to examine the boxes we create or involuntarily find ourselves within. Each cell is populated with it’s own color, influencing the energy of that space. Only when we step outside of those boxes can we see greater patchwork patterns emerge. An aerial photograph of any human settlement will reveal a pattern of change imposed upon the landscape. The same kinds of patterns are employed inside of our technologies, embedded in social structures and modes of thinking. We compartmentalize information, emotions, nature and reality inside of billions and billions of known quantities, but miss all of the space in between. I think there’s more to explore than just boxes, and I’m using these Alter-pieces as a way to map and escape the way we limit our experience.

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House Warding Tiles

Borrowing from the mystery traditions and folk medicine, this new collection of symbolic stencil cuts is for a series of stoneware wall tiles and corked jars that I’ll have for the Powderhorn Art Fair. Related esoteric imagery will be hand drawn onto enameled copper talismans beset with good intentions. Each wall tile and talisman is intended to act as a reminder to open the heart and mind to possibilities to flow around obstacles or attract abundance into our lives. House wardings specifically are to protect the energy of a home, keeping static out and good vibes in. We take subliminal cues from our environments all the time, here’s an attempt at deliberately seeding those spaces with intentional symbolism.

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Enameled Talismans

Stencil images airbrushed on clay surfaces have given way to enameling on copper. What I’d read is that it’s one of those things, you can learn in an evening and master over a lifetime. So, I chose a color palette to play with and hit order. Now, I’m easing into incorporating this new finish into a coherent body of symbolic imagery, applied across two different mediums. My thought is that the most frequently absorbed imagery around us should be planted in place with an intention to uplift. The talismanic use of an everyday object can apply to art, a garment, your favorite drinking vessel or necklace. If these are heavily laden with meaning, then they serve to reaffirm an idea about who we are every time our eyes pass over them.

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Wheel of the Year Stencils

The year is always turning, seasons changing, fortunes fluctuating with them. This cycle around the sun, I’ve been working on a new series of stencil cuts that represent stations along the wheel, to use on ceramics, fabrics and paper. In doing so, I’ve been trying to distill down the essence of each movement in the mechanism, to get at what animates each turn. Sometimes we feel that we are more detached from natural rhythms than we really can be. Observe the power of winter, or high summer, dictating what we can do or don’t don’t dare to. If you are a gardener, you know we are subject to the whims of the same agricultural gods we’ve always been beholden to, that sun and rain bring life, and the chill of winter brings a temporary end to harvests.

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