Plarn: It’s Crafting and Magical Uses

I’ve written before on the magical correspondences of various fabrics.  My focus there was on natural fibers (cotton, linen, wool and silk).  Not all crafters and sewists limit themselves to natural materials, though.  In fact I’d hazard to guess that very few do.  One could, I suppose, use only silk or cotton thread, eschew plastic buttons for only metal, wood, bone or horn, leave out zippers or plastic snaps, as well as iron on interfacing, etc.

There is an emphasis on only using natural materials in ritual and magic crafts.  While I can understand the reasoning behind it, I find the insistence to border on classism and elitism.  Not everyone can afford or has access only natural materials.  And, when we get down to it, everything comes from the earth in one form or another.  Everything is ultimately natural when it’s roots are traced back to its beginnings.  Even plastic.

Magick in the Plastic

Our witch ancestors didn’t use colored candles, or have access to the array of crystals and herbs available online.  And some might have turned their noses up at colored ribbons, grocery store herbs and store bought besoms as not “traditional” tools.  I think it behooves modern witches to see how the practice of witchcraft and magick have changed over the centuries, adapting as new technologies and products have come available, and be open to using materials that might strike us at first as non-magickal.

I’d go even farther to argue that plastic is decidedly magical.  It is alchemy at its most refined.  Taking the remains of dinosaurs and creating a material which is named after its defining characteristic: its shapeshifting ability.

Yes, plastic does have its drawbacks, its production and longevity make it a serious hazard for the environment.  This doesn’t exclude it from being considered a natural material, though.  The elements have their destructive aspects.  Sheep rearing, silk making, cotton farming and linen production all have their affects on the environment as well.

So, how do we approach plastic as a magical tool?  One way is through making and using plarn: yarn made from plastic bags.  Many crafters have found clever and practical uses for plarn, from making lightweight and rugged bedrolls for the homeless to arts and crafts to sell to support their families.  Plarn has the added benefit of removing plastic bags—one of the hardest items to recycle–from the system.

Plarn Correspondences

Let’s start with a few correspondences.  These are associations I have made on my own through study and meditation.  They are not meant to be set in stone, and if they don’t ring true to you, feel free to form your own correspondences.

  • Deities: Cerridwen, Janus, Kali, Oya (deities of change and transformation)
  • Element: Air
  • Color: White
  • Themes/uses: transformation, durability, flexibility, change

Making plarn is a straightforward process that lends itself to a meditative practice.  Use it just as you would yarn to crochet or finger weave a variety of items, or spin it into thread.  You can make tote bags, mats, jewelry, and baskets.

Keeping Busy

So, I’ve been keeping pretty busy lately with trying my hand at a few new things and recently discovered that I’m pretty good at chainmail jewelry.  This is also why Pintrest is both awesome and horrible at the same time.  I found a few patterns and items I really liked, studied the pictures of it and then made it myself.  Here’s one below of a recent commission.

Aluminum chain mandala pendant with silver primary color and green secondary color.
Aluminum chain mandala pendant with silver primary color and green secondary color.

These seem to be pretty popular and I’ve made some adaptations as well, to include a fifth set of secondary (the small colored) rings and then suspend a bead or something in the middle. Once I get a few of those made, I’ll update here with pictures.  Below, though, are the current secondary colors I offer:

These are the colors I currently have for secondary in the mandala pendants. Adding four more soon.
These are the colors I currently have for secondary in the mandala pendants. Adding four more soon.

In any case, I’m still doing the runes, though will probably be ringing them with copper, but below you can see the non-copper ringed ones.

This is the Elder Futhark, made from maple.
This is the Elder Futhark, made from maple.

I’ve taken (and will some more) full advantage of the awesome light box the shield-maiden made to make the pictures I take with my phone of the stuff I make look a lot more professional.

So, in case you were wondering, that’s what I’ve been doing (alongside the duties of SAHD).  Soon, you will also see a new category from me, “Snippets of Ragnarok”.