After the emotional rollercoaster that was this week, I am so thankful to hold space for the fourth installment of the Tending the Hedge, a series highlighting herbalists, artists, educators, and activists who engage in a practice of “magical stewardship,” all bravely sharing their magic with the world, living and working with intention. I see this as a form of mutual aid and raising each other up, and as a rejection of competition and scarcity culture. Moreover, at a time when many of us can feel hopeless in light of all that’s happening in the world, I hope to counter this narrative by highlighting ways in which folks are tending the hedges of their communities, so to speak!
I first became aware of the monstrosity that is the fast fashion industry when I was in college. I remember wandering into a Primark for the first time ever and being baffled by the fact that a bra could cost £3– how could that be? And as I began to learn about the labor abuses and the environmental impact, I was shook. And so, many years later when I stumbled across Anne Fernweh’s beautiful work, Witch Craeft, I was absolutely enchanted, and as we began to chat, I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Here she shares a bit about infusing her work with magic and meaning, and how we might all subtly shift our practices for a more sustainable future.
What are your pronouns and what is your sign?
She/her. I am an Aries sun, Scorpio moon, and Virgo rising.
Are you a witch? If so, what does that word mean to you?
I am indeed a witch. My practice and identity as a witch centers around the ancestral tradition of stewardship. Among our forebears, the cunning folk, healers, midwives, and herbalists were the keepers of deep generational knowledge. Intimate understanding of the natural world and our place in it, long cultivated relationships with spirit, plants and non-human beings, as well as a vibrant sense of the wisdom and power that lived in their bones, made these people caretakers of the holistic earth-side experience. For me, witches seek to tap into those dormant (but still present) ancestral relationships, and in so doing, show ourselves to be the keepers once again. Whether it’s cultivating deeper relationships with spirit, finding tangible ways to care for the planet, offering healing medicine, or crafting sustainable textiles, each practice strengthens my connection to my role here and now, as well as those before me who tread lightly and lovingly on this Earth.
What drew you to your work? Why is it important?
I felt called to create handwoven fiber spells when I noticed something missing. My passion for fiber design, deepening witchcraft practice, and rising concern for our planet prompted me to divest from the destructive systems of fast-fashion and synthetic textile/dye manufacturing. In addition to environmentally responsible fiber, however, I wanted my textiles to be magic. I wanted hand towels that offered protection with every use, scarves charged with fire energy that warmed me in the bitter cold, tarot deck bags that cleansed my deck at night, and blankets that brought healing in sickness. In my search for local, meaningful fiber crafted in slow, conscious ways, I came up woefully short. I wanted a lot from my textiles, which led me to forge my own path.
My work comes at a pivotal moment. as I’m encountering many others on a similar quest. More and more people are rejecting the current industrial model for one that involves care, story, quality and longevity. With this awakening, a hunger to reconnect has emerged: to reconnect to the land, our ancestors, and the folk traditions that illuminate the magic in the world. My work seeks to provide an alternative to the capitalist, exploitative systems in which we swim, replacing it with something deeply healing and regenerative. By supporting organic, domestic, and sustainably grown and milled fibers whenever possible, I am working to rebuild a US textile industry that serves both our health and the planet’s. By infusing each of my pieces with magic and intention, I seek to support and uplift those invested in tearing down the old to build something new.
How can others engage with this work and tend the hedge in their own communities?
One simple and accessible entry point is to bring awareness to your clothing and textiles through mindful questions:
- Do you buy textiles you never use or wear? If so, why?
- Where did your textiles come from?
- What are they made of?
- How were they made, and by whom?
Questions like these connect us to our textiles in a way that the mainstream fiber industry seeks to discourage. Recognizing that each piece required time, resources and labor to create (often at great human and environmental cost), fosters an appreciation for their true value. With this foundational understanding and connection, it becomes easier to curb mindless consumption, mend and repair what we already own, and make future informed choices better aligned with our values.
Did you enjoy this feature? Check out other magic-makers in the Tending the Hedge series!