Hello! For episode 38 I spoke to Chrysanthemum White-Alder about her Medieval Pagan Nun style. She's an interdisciplinary artist, witch, and academic currently working on a Masters of Education at Lakehead University. She's also studied intermedia and cyberarts at Concordia; and is an amazing visual artist.
One of her passions is the Reclaiming Witchcraft tradition, and she's really found a way to live in accordance with spiritual and ethical principles of conservation and respect for the earth. She's been a community organizer for over a decade and is deeply committed to environmental activism.
That commitment really comes through in her dress style! She recycles through sewing clothing from discarded textiles and lives a minimalist, low waste lifestyle.
Her practice of recycling through sewing clothing out of discarded textiles is rooted in principles of ecological respect and integrating the self into cycles of
generation and decay.
She has a sweet 6yr old dog called Hecate who you can hear a little during the episode....this is a canine friendly show after all!
We talked about Chrysanthemum's style influences which include early medieval Northern European Barbarian Tribal dress (!), and Slavic folk elements. Naturally that got me wondering if she is involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism (she's not).
She also loves Japanese influences, from street style to the films of director Hayao Miyazaki.
She mentioned her love for Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), and her affection for the head bow as an adornment.
We also talked about her interest in performance art; and she mentioned the work of artist Piilotti Rist.
We talked about this terrible piece in the guardian recently; where a columnist pretended to have 'been a witch' for a week. The article got a fair bit of play mainly from angry reactions, but the comments are worth reading if you're invested in the subject and want to feel less annoyed.
I really enjoyed what she had to say about being a 'chaos magnet' and how she employs non-violent communication to mitigate the effect of chaotic energy. I think those skills are useful for anyone, and it's cool to think of them as a form of community care (as well as self care!).
I asked Chrysanthemum who she thinks looks good out in the world, and she mentioned Rain Dove and Natalie Wynn (Contrapoints), both excellent choices IMHO. Oh, and Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala in Star Wars.
I know everyone is obsessed with Contrapoints but if you haven't watched her videos on YouTube please do so immediately and thank me later.
I miss identified this character as "Annikin Skywalker" and felt quite clever doing so. Might have helped if I'd seen any of these films.....
(I always need to know what everyone is reading, all the time.)
The Dispossessed – Ursula LeGuin
News from Nowhere - William Morris
This is his book about a pastoral utopia.
We also talked about Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.
And Chrysanthemum mentioned Starhawk's classic book on Reclaiming Witchcraft, The Spiral Dance (first published in 1979!) and the 1994 classic The Fifth Sacred Thing which Chrysanthemum was reading when we spoke.
The book I mentioned to Chrysanthemum was Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horseley. I had heard about this book via another one of my heroes, Dame Darcy. I interviewed Dame Darcy in an early episode of this show, which was a dream come true for me.
Chrysanthemum's work can be seen via her vimeo page, where some of her performance pieces are documented.
Thanks so much Chrysanthemum White-Alder! I hope more than anything that you get to establish an anarchist cult on the moon.