THE BARROW BLOG
How quickly the seasons change. Already, summer is upon us, and the year half gone.
This year, I ushered in the Solstice by reconnecting with nature in ways I have not recently permitted myself.
The night of the Solstice, I cheered floral gin with friends and family, swam in the dark waters of a lake, and stargazed. The Big Dipper shone so brightly that I could have plucked it from the sky to sate my thirst.
On Sunday, I celebrated in an entirely different way.
A friend and I attended an event called “Rewilding,” put on by Where the Wild Garden Grows. WWGG is a beautiful local business run by Tessa Cadet, which focuses on promoting the “wild side of our spirit,” and provides products, services, and workshops towards natural wellness and sexual health.
”Rewilding” was the most recent in WWGG’s Sacred Sister Circles. These circles are an opportunity to re-connect to sisterhood and nature. This was my first time attending, and I already look forward to the next one.
We began the circle by exploring the surrounding area, foraging for whichever vines, branches, leaves, and flowers called to us. Already, each woman had brought small bouquets to the event, so foraging allowed us to supplement these with that which we found naturally.
We used these findings to each build our own flower crowns. The beauty lay in how, from the same array of leaves and flowers, each sister created a circlet entirely her own.
Tessa read a beautiful excerpt from Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes about the “wild woman archetype,” and I must say, I’ve already ordered a copy of this book. Estes captures a feeling that I've wanted to put into words for quite some time.
I’ve spent the past few years exploring the enchantments of nature, and discovering how to connect with it on a deeper level, through foraging, herbalism, and simply spending time in the forest. The more I learn about my relationship with the earth, the deeper down the path I want to go.
It becomes very easy to ignore one’s natural instincts in the noisy bustle of society, but I long for the quiet stillness of the woods, the water, the sun and the moon. I want more time listening to the birds and the breeze. I want to connect more with my place there. It doesn’t happen on its own. You have to make it for yourself. I’m getting there, but slowly.
The rest of the evening played out beautifully.
There is nothing more powerful, or more beautiful, than a group of women coming together to support and connect with one another. It called to mind the poetry written and read by Fleassy Malay called “Witches.” I’ve watched her video maybe a dozen times since the first, and I love it all the more each time.
As the sun set on our circle, we gathered around the fire and sang together to the beating of drums. Even now, the solemnity of our voices coming together gives me chills.
As we finished, we stood to our feet and howled at the moon in unison. The raw, primal energy of it flowed around us, and we all laughed together in exhilaration.
I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate the season.
Interested in attending the next Sacred Sister Circle, or one of Tessa’s other workshops?
Check out Where the Wild Garden Grows at www.thewwgg.com!
“Who knows where a woman begins and ends? I have roots, roots deeper than this island.
Deeper than the sea, older than the raising of the lands. I go back into the dark.”
-Ursula K. Le Guin
How else should I begin this faerie tale, but with “once upon a time”?
Welcome to the first chapter of Barrow Blog. Consider this the prologue.
My name is Colette, and I am the founder of “Fogbarrow,” an artist collective that showcases fairy tales and a romantic, enchanted lifestyle through various art mediums. Our current collection features watercolors, porcelain sculpture, and leather accessories.
I have enjoyed quite a journey before falling down on Fogbarrow’s hearth.
Since childhood, I have enjoyed art and nature with equal fervor. If the weather suited, I was climbing crabapple trees, nibbling at flowers, wading through streambeds, and imagining fanciful creatures filling my forests when my back was turned. If the weather sulked, I spent my time with a pencil in hand, writing stories or drawing my magical world. I poured through every book I could get my hands on, and practiced baking sweets as often as my mother would entertain.
As an adult, very little has changed. I told myself I would never grow up, and it seems to have come true.
In Japan, they refer to this as a “Mori kei” lifestyle, but you may call it what you wish. I am overly romantic, and I live a simple, hobbit life.
I grow herbs in my garden, and I wild-forage mushrooms often. I am learning to identify a variety of types of each, and discovering how to use them for culinary and medicinal purposes.
I love to travel. Outside the United States, I have explored Ireland, Canada, Japan, and England. I dream of visiting Finland, Peru, Scotland, and more.
I read a large array of books, from classic Victorian literature to modern faerie tale reimaginings. This can mean a variety of targeted age ranges, because quality stories are timeless, and can age with the reader.
I graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology, with a focus on folklore and mythology. I have always believed that stories and religion are some of the most telling aspects of a culture, and these studies are greatly reflected in my work.
When I wish to create, I take up a pencil and my watercolors. I paint nature specimens primarily, but I am exploring illustrative pieces as well, since illustration has been my oldest and fondest hobby. To date, I have two illustrated short comics published in the Chattanooga Comix Co-op’s anthologies, and I look forward to many more. I am also currently working on a collection of faerie tales, which will be my first completed prose work.
Of course, I have more hobbies than time allows. I also enjoy knitting, embroidery, sewing, costuming, and felting. I love fiber art, and I’m certain I will continue to explore these mediums as the seasons change.
It would be remiss to leave out the fact that I am also an avid gamer—Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Animal Crossing are but a few of my guilty pleasures.
Ah, but I think that is enough about me.
Now, on to the Barrow.
You’ve come this far, so I hope to think you are a kindred spirit.
To me, Fogbarrow was never just a place for me to feature my art—I wanted it to be a resource and community for others who wish to live a faerie tale life. Last fall, Fogbarrow went from a story of one to a team of three. My hope is that through this blog, we can connect and share with kindred spirits more than just our art.
The Barrow Blog will explore book recommendations, recipes, foraging finds, art progress, featured faerie tales, and other enchanting topics that we hope will help you discover new ways to enjoy this beautiful world around us.
Though I will be primarily managing the blog, our other artists, Melody and Katherine, will also be sharing favorite topics from time to time.
We look so forward to meeting all of you here at the Barrow—please consider commenting to introduce yourself, let us know what brought you to our hearth, and what you would like to see here on the blog!