Only So Many Hands: My Thoughts on Etsy’s IPO.

Women knitting socks during WWI.  Handmade still matters.

Women knitting socks during WWI. Handmade still matters.

Etsy’s IPO happened this month- this is not news.  With damning headlines like “Etsy files for Handcrafted IPO,” I’d like to say I was prepared for this. For the last 3 years this transformation of Etsy has been looming. As a seller what does this mean for me? What will I do? I’ve written this blog post hundreds of times in my head, trying to make sense of it before committing it to cyberspace.  It was procrastination born of a sad heart.

Many sellers have already left Etsy– I have been slow to make that decision because I have so many wonderful, loyal customers who simply prefer to shop on Etsy, but I feel I can no longer go on selling happily there. Luckily, I have built an independent shop to replace my Etsy shop– first on Indiemade and now on Shopify, which I’m much happier with than the Etsy platform.  You can see my independent shop at http://feralstrumpet.co.uk.

Chad Dickerson, Etsy's CEO.  Thanks, Chad. I will.

Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s CEO. Thanks, Chad. I will.

Etsy’s initial public offering corresponds with my Etsy shop’s fourth birthday.  Four years is a long time to work at something– it’s BA degree, a wacky high school journey.  An elephant could have two really cute babies in that time.  Those four years were ones of empowerment, creativity, cashflow and community.  I grew from a hobbyist working on my kitchen table to one of Etsy’s “power sellers”.

When I look back at the  countless treasuries on Etsy I made featuring the products of other sellers, I realize what an inspiring place it once was for me and I happily gave back to the seller’s community that continually gave to me.  I’ve coached myriad newbie sellers during the Holiday Bootcamp sessions.  Other wonderful sellers have included me in their treasuries, and have been incredibly supportive team mates– especially the Folk Reveries Team. We traded notes and ideas, ways to make Etsy work for us.  The seller community was real and powerful and the vast majority of members were women.

The people who will be making decisions about Etsy will not be these women. The investors who buy into this are thinking about tech stocks being hot right now, not about who really made Etsy what it is today. A handful of wealthy people (men, I venture) will become even richer through this. Why does this bother me so much? Isn’t this the way the world of business always works?

I’ve written about it before– back in 2012 I discussed the seller protest questioning Etsy’s acceptance of factory made goods, Protesty. Again in 2013 when Etsy allowed manufacturers and drop shipping in the marketplace, I posted The Future of Etsy. Last year I wrote, A Year After the Changes at Etsy, It’s Worse Than We Thought, explaining how the changes have affected me as a seller and buyer.

Part of the problem is that many of the sellers on Etsy are like me, working hard at making things and balancing our books, managing to be profitable despite all odds. We think practically and literally about money.  All this seems old fashioned and two dimensional in the topsy-turvy world of investment, where being unprofitable can still make you money and lots of it and where making money and growing are prioritized above all else.  Etsy as a company still hasn’t turned a profit. Last year its net losses were $15.2 million, more than 15 times greater than its losses in 2o13.  In its filing it even admits, “Our new offerings also may bring us more directly into competition with companies that are better established or have greater resources than we do..” (Read more at Market Watch)  Already, the Etsy search function turns up countless listings for factory-made goods identical to those found on Amazon and Ebay, often from the same sellers that use those platforms in volume.  The individual, genuine artisan is drowned out and the shopper is overwhelmed with the exact products they were trying to avoid.  An unprofitable company whose changes have made it a redundant online marketplace can still go public with a 100 million dollar offering. Of course this wouldn’t make sense to someone like me who is actually trying to run a handmade business.

Tech crunch gets detailed about the IPO an explains,  “In this regard, Etsy is outright compelling. Historically it has spent 40-70 percent less [on marketing] on a percentage basis than their competitors, while realizing similar, if not greater, growth rates than other marketplaces.” Guess why? The sellers, the visionary single moms, creative living-room risk-takers, the blister-fingered craftspeople did the legwork, got the word out on behalf of their shops and their fellow sellers. Etsy didn’t have to spend a dime.  Etsy introduced an ad in the UK in 2014, perhaps as an experiment? It was too little, too late.

It’s ironic that my last blog post gave 5 reason to bail on the day job culture, the first on being the ability to be The CEO of your life. I talked about my past life processing expense reports for Goldman Sachs and realizing  how perverse it was that I was now chained to someone else’s priorities to make money no matter what, to grow like some malignancy that uses up everything in its path.  Now, Goldman Sachs has underwritten Etsy’s IPO. I simply can no longer pretend this isn’t going to affect me.  Sometimes you have to be bold, and make choices based on what is right, what you feel in your gut.  As the CEO of my own life, I get to decide what my business stands for, and who I answer to.

I read my horoscope on March 20th– it was the Spring Equinox, power charged with a full eclipse and a super moon.  I look to Rob Brezsny, in times like this as on the whole I don’t believe in horoscopes, but I believe in him.

 “You have recently been to the mountaintop, at least metaphorically. Right? You wandered out to the high frontier and ruminated on the state of your fate from the most expansive vista you could find…Here’s what I suggest: Start building a new framework or structure or system that will incorporate all that you’ve learned during your break. “

I’d just returned from the Arctic Circle where I was caught in a storm at sea, had a drink in an Ice Hotel and went to the place of my ancestors in Lofoten. During that time away from my shop I made peace with being small and making changes so I can still feel good about what I do. Rob, as usual, was spot on.

Huffington Post has an interesting article about how to make seller’s happy– I’m cynical enough to think Etsy won’t be instituting these changes any time soon. I think years ago they stopped seeing sellers for who they really were, and wanted to court a new kind of mega-sellers who weren’t makers at all.  Alex Moazed writes, “…the company’s culture and value proposition places a natural limit on its growth. There are only but so many hands to make and sell handmade goods.” Maybe that’s the issue. I am OK being small. I am good with my two hands, making things one at a time without interns or a factory.  And this way of working is good to me.  That’s enough.

5 Reasons to Bail on the Day Job Culture

wonderwomanEtsy has a “Quit Your Day Job” feature on their blog where they interview an Etsy seller about their life and process. I enjoy these features even if they didn’t resonate with me most of the time.  For starters, I didn’t even have a job, much less a day job.  What is a day job anyway? I’m assuming this comes from the quip artists often hear as a criticism of their ambition to live off their work–“Don’t quit your day job.”

I dislike this idea that in order to be a successful artist you have to be totally commercial and if you weren’t you would have to work in some soul-killing job for the right to make your art at night.  Meanwhile, the entire culture benefits from artists working for free.  But I digress!

After teaching Argumentation and Research and Creative Writing at University of California Irvine and various colleges for eight years, I found myself in England, chronically over-qualified and unemployed.  I had no real job for over 6 years, yet I hadn’t given up on the “day job” culture.  I still scoured want ads, sent out resumes or CVs and went to the rare, humiliating interviews, basically the whole soul-killing process of looking for work when you are a “creative type” that doesn’t fit in the cubicle.  One of my friends shook her head and said “Yeah, the tentacles always show” no matter how you try to duct tape them away.

I have so many creative friends who are in the same boat. The thing is, the internet is on our side.  There has never been a better time to be a creator.  I will blog about the pros and cons, and more small business advice in future posts but this one is for the dreamers among you, the ones who are selling their work, doing it online or thinking of doing it.

Instead of “quit your day job” I’d like to dub this “Bail on the Day Job Culture and Make Your Own Life”, and here are 10 Reason why you should:

biz_cat1. Be the CEO of your life. One of the myriad grunt jobs I’ve had in the UK was processing expense reports at Goldman Sachs. Through the perversity of this situation I learned some money smarts but also that being chained to someone else’s priorities to make a profit no matter what didn’t make sense. I didn’t set out to run a business– in fact that is a topic for another post. My handmade business grew, and when it it rivalled my earnings in corporate hell, I realised I was the one to decide what the business was about, and how big or small I wanted it to be– how I wanted it to fit in my life. That was incredibly freeing.

A coven of witch balls- a recent custom order based on my miniature witch balls.

A coven of witch balls- a recent custom order based on my miniature witch balls.

2. Bring Play back into work. A lot of what I do is admin stuff, packaging and shipping, internet juggling and tweaking, not really spending 24-7 with my creative vision. When something sells well I have to make hundreds of that one thing, but I still have time for playing with my materials. The most wonderful part of my job is actually messing around– making new designs, exploring  processes. While the minority of my time is spent on this, it is the thing that drives my shop.  Everything else I do is to enable this playful space to happen.

3. Schedule your time the way it make sense to you. Running your own business means you know how long things take, when they need to be done and what needs to be done at any given moment. (Or if you don’t  you should! That is for another post). When you know this, it means suddenly time is flexible. The biggest challenge for me has been including my own life and needs in this schedule.  That is new this year.  All my work expanding and contracting time has meant I can make time for myself by changing my hours around.

Odalisque in Striped Trousers by Henri Matisse

Odalisque in Striped Trousers by Henri Matisse

4. Live in yoga trousers.  OK, so I do take yoga and stretching breaks during the day so the yoga trousers work, but insert the schelp-wear of your choice here.  I don’t have to wear a suit like I did at the investment bank, or “smart casual” or whatever other perverse non-uniform an office requires.  Right now I’m wearing fleecy slippers, yoga trousers, a tee shirt with a howling wolf on it, a hoodie a fleece body warmer and my Boudicca glasses chain. I feel well professional, let me tell you.

5. Work for and with people who get you. This is probably the biggest benefit for me. I have had a couple of wonderfully compassionate and fun bosses in my life but I confess most were absolutely insane, like working for the Queen of Hearts.  I’m so glad I no longer have to anticipate the whims of a mad person. I’m still looking for a dependable employee to help me with admin, but on the flip side, almost all my customers are amazingly supportive, likeable folk.  Every morning when I sit down to work, I think of the orders that have come in, or my regular customers and what they love, and that puts my day in perspective. If you start your handmade or creative business and remain sincere, the right customers will find you and everything will feel like a collaboration.

It’s All Mine- Ten of My Feral Favourites

Me wearing my Slayer Queen Bib Necklace at my booth at the British Science Fiction Convention.

Me wearing my Slayer Queen Bib Necklace at my booth at the British Science Fiction Convention.

I wear jewellery for sentimental reasons mostly– I have stones I’ve found or been given, talismans of runes, my Thor’s hammer, my Freya/Seidkona.  Many of the things I love to wear were made by someone else whose skill I admire and whose creative energy I would like to connect with– I think I’m a lot like my customers in that way.

I have a long list of dream pieces I would like to make for myself.  Pieces so expensive to make, or so labour intensive, that they would not be practical to offer for sale.  I think this summer I will make one or two during a slow period.  I make very little for myself and maybe I should make more!

I do wear pieces I’ve made.  Sometimes for whatever reason an absolutely gorgeous piece doesn’t sell and I feel justified then in keeping it for myself.  Luckily my litmus test for selling something is– would I love to wear this? Am I dying to keep it? If the answer is yes, I offer it in my shop.

What am I wearing right now?  Well, I’ll tell you.

Boudicca Glasses Chain–This is probably the most practical thing I have ever made, next to my pennanular brooches.  I use this every day. I have two– one for my reading glasses and one for my regular glasses, which I need to take off when doing detail work.  When it is sunny (that’s rare in Yorkshire) I also have one for my sunglasses.

Kitchen Witch’s Pentagram Ring–I made an initial prototype in the raku glaze which I ended up keeping for myself.  Often I will wear a prototype to test out it’s mettle first before making more or offering it as a made to order piece.  Many of these become fast friends and others go to the scrap heap, ready to become something else.  This was a keeper!

rings5Myriad Lozenge Rings— I love making rings with lozenge shaped beads, the prongs at the side framing and binding the stone.  It has become a signature design and I have made countless rings for lovely people all over the world.

In one of my favourite books, A Mirror for Witches by Esther Forbes, Goodie Goochie, the androgynous preparer of the dead, wearings an iron ring on every finger to protect them from malignant spirits.  My rings are mostly copper and silver but I can relate. I started making my own rings because I could never find rings small enough for my fingers, at least ones I really liked.  My favourites are my amethyst, labradorite and web jasper rings.

Harpy Rosary Necklace by Feral Strumpet

Harpy Rosary Necklace by Feral Strumpet

Harpy Rosary Necklace–Here was a little orphan.  This beautiful necklace never found a home.  It is perfection– from its mid century wooden rosary with a slightly reddish tint to the wood, to the little harpy girl that moves up and down on her post like a magical merry-go-round creature.  Maybe I loved it so much that I secretly wished to keep it, because now it’s mine and I wear it all the time!

Floating Castle Rosary.

Floating Castle Rosary.

Floating Castle Rosary Necklace–I have made many of these but again, there was one I paired with a gorgeous 1960s jet and AB finish glass bead rosary.  I think it was waiting for me.  Here you can see one of my early photographs– when I was just starting out and hadn’t learned how to light and edit tiny pieces!

Infinity Chains– These beautifully graceful chains are hella labour-intensive.  I have made them in sterling, brass and copper. They look beautiful worn together, mixing the metals. Because it takes so long to make these I no longer offer them just as plain chains.  Instead I will combine them with crystals, stones and beads to create one of a kind, luxurious pieces.  The plain chains I saved for myself.  I like to wear the clasp in front, sometimes attaching a talisman or charm to one lobe of the S clasp.

Infinity chains in copper, bronze and silver plate

Infinity chains in copper, bronze and silver plate

brooch_sheila-9Sheila-na-Gig Brooch– Another mysterious sleeper. I wear my larger Sheila brooch with my hand knits.  My other simple brooches are my most popular design.  While these brooches are more delicate, I love their graceful curves and the fact that the curl on the ends of the circle keeps the pin on the clasp. I haven’t given up on this design!  I am making more prototypes to offer them again in the future.

The Slayer Queen Bib Necklace

The Slayer Queen Bib Necklace

Mega Slayer Bib Necklace– I feel like this post has turned into the Feral Island of Lost Toys!  I hope it offers some insight into my process.  This slayer bib necklace was another orphan.  I loved it insanely– but no one but me seemed to want to wear it!  My single stake necklaces continued to be best sellers but this OTT version was clearly waiting for me.

The Black Hearted Love Rosary Necklace

Black Hearted Love– This is my signature necklace, the one that started it all.  I was making these before I even started my Etsy shop, almost 4 years ago. I had a red cinnabar one paired with a red bakelite chaplet and a black one paired with a 19th century bog-wood rosary.  I wore them all the time and one day I was sitting in my local medieval drinking hall whinging that I couldn’t find a job, and my friend Emma said why don’t you sell the necklaces you make? The rest is history.

Bat rosary necklace

Bat rosary necklace

Baby Bat Necklace– Another of my best sellers– possibly my first best seller, the one that really took off.  I love layering mine with other longer pieces.  The little fellow is so small, and such good company.

 

Happy Friday the 13th!

friday13

Happy Friday the 13th– save 13% today and tomorrow at http://www.feralstrumpet.net with coupon code FRIDAY13!

Friday the 13th is a most auspicious day– Freya’s day, and when it falls on the 13th, it’s especially lucky.  Barbara Walker in her Women’s Myths and Secrets says that the number 13 was said to be unlucky because it corresponded to the 13 months in the lunar calendar, the 3-in-1 nature of the Goddess.  Considered the “devil’s dozen” by the church fathers, this sacred number was demonized.

I wish you many blessings on this lucky day!

Instagram Round Up. My Ten Most Popular Photos

Me modeling the Volva Rosary Necklace.

Me modeling the Volva Rosary Necklace.

Instagram has been my new social media hive. I know it’s not new, but it’s new to me.  I’m excited by the friendly community I have found there.  I have become an avid phone photographer, and the same attention to detail I use in photographing my jewellery I use in documenting my life.

In a future post I hope to do a round up of Instagrammers, but for today I thought I’d share with you my most popular images.  If you’d like to see more, my instagram feed is here.

The photo at the left is me modeling the volva necklace– a crystal ball rosary inspired by Norse seeresses.

Cherry on the wall of the back garden.

Cherry on the wall of the back garden.

Cherry, my cat,  helping with the photography. This is her favourite plant. She likes to pick off the empty, skull-shaped seed pods with her teeth.

Brass Aromatherapy Locket by Feral Strumpet.

Brass Aromatherapy Locket by Feral Strumpet.

These aromatherapy lockets are a popular long-standing design– I offer them in different shapes and metals with custom coloured crystals of your choice– great to combine colour therapy with aromatherapy, or if you have multiple lockets, the different colours can help you differentiate if you use scents for different purposes.

Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire.

Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire.

Rievaulx Abbey is one of my favourite haunts. Here you see a heavily edited photo of the ruins taken on a grey day, which has been manipulated to look like night. I’ve become fascinated with a painterly approach to photo editing which is available through different editing apps on the iPhone.   I wanted it to feel like Ghormengast, or some other oppressive and fantastic place.  This particular rendering reminds me of the worlds I was transported to as a child reading fantasy literature.

Me modelling the Briar Rose necklace.

Me modelling the Briar Rose necklace.

I have begun to experiment with modelling my own designs as a last resort.  It is difficult to be the jack of all trades and this is perhaps the role I like least!  I’d much rather be behind the camera.  I’m modelling my Briar Rose necklace.

A collection of my Crystal Nimbus Earrings.

A collection of my Crystal Nimbus Earrings.

The Crystal Nimbus Earring Selection. These earrings have become a popular design in the shop– with sterling silver ear wires and rustic copper girdles, they are simple yet powerful and are an easy to wear luxury. They are quite photogenic as well!  Sometimes crystals, like people, can be very hard to capture truly on camera, but these seem to be friends with the lens.

My working altar, decked out for Yule

My working altar, decked out for Yule

One of my most popular Instagram photos is this one of my working altar. I had decorated it for Yule with branches scavenged from the ground of my local park– though the white roses were from the store.  Instagram has a lovely, supportive Pagan community sharing their altars, tools and visual ideas.  It is one of my favourite aspects of the medium.

The village of Haworth, Bronte country.

The village of Haworth, Bronte country.

My photos of Haworth are some of the most-loved on Instagram– I have chosen a couple as to post them all would take up too much space, but you are welcome to visit my feed to see more!  Haworth is a fascinating place, especially if you are a Bronte fan, like me.  It’s quite photogenic as well– with it’s hilly streets and the moody moors framing the horizon in all directions.

IMG_2746

And this last photo is my most visited– it is heavily edited, but I wanted to bring out the intensity of being there.  The moors can be a desolate place but also a place of bright freedom.  Every colour is represented in the tough ground and the big sky.

IMG_2717

 

The Ten Best Sanity Apps for the Micro-Business Workaholic

 

Vasilisa the Brave and her doll that helped her finish the impossible tasks given to her by Baba Yaga

Vasilisa the Brave and her doll that helped her finish the impossible tasks given to her by Baba Yaga

There was a time when I would mock people with smart phones.  I wondered, how smart could a phone be, really? And then I got one. I wasn’t that fussed.  I lived in London and used the tube map a lot but that was about it, so I slowly let it die a death of obsolescence.  I went for years without one, but when I started missing trains in Yorkshire and getting lost I decided I should get a new one.  My biggest surprise was how helpful the phone was in not only helping me run my business but also at keeping me sane, giving me perspective and making sure I make time to take care of myself.  In many ways my phone has become like the little magic doll that helped Vasilisa the brave complete the impossible tasks given to her by the witch Baba Yaga.

homeroutinesHome Routines– This is the most used app on my phone.  This app allows you to list things you do daily, weekly, monthly and then renews these.  There is also space for a to-do list, for week day scheduling and a built-in timer.  It is designed for housework, and allows you do group tasks into “zones”, but this can be adapted to zones in your business or work life. I wish they would introduce a second app for business– that way I could have two running at the same time– one for my personal stuff and one for my business.  Also I find the gold stars you can give yourself when you complete a task totally satisfies the 7 year old girl in me.

insight_timerInsight Timer–This is a simple app that I use as a timer. It is a meditation timer but I use it for deep-breathing breaks as well as a task timer.  I find the gong sounds appealing.

stand_up!Stand Up!— This simple app reminds you to stand up.  This sounds like a basic thing, but much of my job is sitting– at the computer or my work table. When it rings it reminds me to take a break.  These breaks protect me from RSI, eye strain, and perhaps and the other maladies that come with sitting all day. This app is very adaptable– you can program it to ring only on certain days, and only while you are in certain locations. You can also tell it to leave you alone!

office_stretchesStretches— I use this in tandem with the Stand Up! app.  When the Stand Up! app rings, I sometimes do my own stretches or the stretches from this app. I like this app because all the stretches can be done at a desk or office area.  I am on the lookout for an app that is perhaps not so robotic.  The voice on the app is like an old school robot voice– the lack of human inflection is comical, but not in a good way.  Also the video is a bit glitchy, but in the mean time it will do.

measures-app

Measures— This app is very handy when converting currency of my items or dimensions when helping customers from other countries.  This is an older app.  I’ve had it since my first go at iPhone ownership, years ago, and have never seen the need to switch to one of the newer conversion apps.

Shopify App— Shopify is the new platform I’m using for my online shop.  It helps you manage orders and stock, you can sell from your phone and you can also glean data about shop traffic.  Handy and comprehensive, I find it an invaluable tool.

sell-on-etsy-1000000-l-124x124Sell on Etsy App– Etsy has a similar app but it doesn’t provide you with any shop stats and the ability to manage inventory is annoyingly limited.  It also will ring whenever anyone favourites your items or gives you feedback. If you have a busy shop, this means your phone will be dinging constantly unless you turn these off.  In fact, I recommend setting yourself regular work hours and turning the app off when you are “off work”. I have disciplined myself to switch off the other functions as well, otherwise I would be chained to my store 24-7 and that’s not good for anyone!

yoga_iconYoga App— Another old favourite. I have been a yogi for 30 years and find it an indispensable tool for health.  As my handmade business involves a lot of limited, intense movements and loads of sitting, yoga is essential to keeping limber and flexible after work.  Lovely, simple and adaptable, this app really is a yoga studio in your pocket.  With the option to build your own sessions by adding poses from the extensive list available, you can customize your practice.  So far I find the pre-made sessions perfect for my needs.  This is a slightly more advanced yoga app– not necessarily for the absolute beginner.  I wish they would introduce an office yoga routine on this app–  yoga that can be done beside a desk or in limited floor space for small intervals.

Bloom-MusicBloom— Another favourite app of mine.  Developed by ambient pioneer Brian Eno and musician / software designer Peter Chilvers, this app is completely therapeutic stress-reducer.  Aural, tactile and visual delights calm and occupy the mind, getting you back to your happy place.

SkyViewSkyview— and if Bloom didn’t work, there is Skyview.  I don’t wait for night, and I don’t need to go outside to use this.  I love holding it up and seeing Aquarius beside Venus, floating over my potted ivy, or Ursula Minor and Mars gliding over my anvil. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with orders, red tape or other difficulties, this never fails to give me a bit of perspective.

 

 

The Most-Read Posts of 2014

Before I began selling my wares, I used this blog to write about my adventures around the UK and my London fascinations. It’s interesting to see that some of those posts are still being read and explored, while my posts about the difficult changes at Etsy have garnered many comments and visits from fellow artists and handmade supporters/shoppers alike.  This is an end of year peek at my most popular posts in 2014– a bit late!

Mother Red Cap or the Crone of Camden:

Beneath the history dusted off for tourists in ghost walks and Tower of London grotesques, the spurned of London persist in collective memory.  We will never really know their truth, and this is even more so with women’s stories…(read more)

This is my one-woman workspace.  Chaos is free.

This is my one-woman workspace. Chaos is free.

The Future of Etsy: 

While my hours are sometimes very long, and my callouses are painful, I still don’t have the resources for interns and personal assistants. The new Etsy would like to cater to sellers who outsource the making of their goods because it means more volume and money for them. The decision makers at Etsy are looking a lot like the big businesses insisting on the bottom line, and the creative hands and hearts that originally built the site are ransomed in the process…(read more)

Mabon Tree of Life in progress-- curling up the hammered tendrils

Mabon Tree of Life in progress– curling up the hammered tendrils

A Year After the Changes at Etsy, it’s Worse Than We Thought:

What has essentially happened is this: Etsy used to be like a lovely little beach where you could go and find interesting little stones.  Combing through the sand was fun, with many delightful surprises: a shell here, a piece of beach glass there.  And then one day the authorities decided to use it as a dump, piling up plastic junk. You could still go there looking for little stones and shells, but you would have to wade through tons of refuse to find the treasures…(read more)

The White Rose of York:

Every place has its symbol that defines it, captures its genius loci.

In London I worked in the City for a spell– one of the darker times in my life. I would often look to the guardian of that place– the pizzled dragon with its heraldic erection, and wonder.   To survive the alienation and everyday struggle I would often call on dark things to help me.  They were always there, waiting.

What a contrast now to find the sigil of this city, York, to be a white, five petaled mandala.  I fell in love with it when I first saw it…(read more)

Inside the hollow hill of the Fairy Knowe, Orkney.

Inside the hollow hill of the Fairy Knowe, Orkney.

On Your Knees, Pilgrim:

The creep of Fairy Knowe is 18 feet long– I scampered in and found the darkness warm– the shadows ocher colored. Inside was a feeling of safety, and wild information there for the taking, if one were to crawl further into one of the rooms…(read more)