Plarn: It’s Crafting and Magical Uses

In my book, Sew Witchy, I write about the magickal correspondences of fabric.  My focus there is 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 magick 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.


A version of this article was first posted on Idiorhythmic Designs on September 25, 2017.

Take Off & Nuke It From Orbit

Sometime over the last forty-eight hours this site got hacked. Sometime in the last four hours I realized I have never backed up my site. Not even once.

This comes on the tail end of a six day battle to get my computer back up and running after I decided to fix how slow it had become by restoring it to factory settings. Reader, it did not fix anything. In fact it made things worse. My computer is a slight machine, a Lenovo Thinkpad 2 named Ada, purchased in 2013 to replace my previous laptop which had literally started melting.

My previous laptop, Caliban, which started leaking goo from various spots. There was also bubbling in the monitor.

After days of wrestling with failed updates, failed restores, failed refreshes and failed downloads, I was facing the grim prospect that I would be without a computer. I don’t have the funds to get a replacement.

All of this came on the heels of making the decision to focus on my writing. I have Sew Witchy coming out in December. I have an agent interested in reading my fantasy novel (which I foolishly queried before it was finished). I was just invited to submit an article for Llewellyn’s Witch Almanac. All of this put me in need of an actual computer. I was seriously facing the prospect of trying to type, write and edit on my phone. And as cool as my phone is, and as much as I depend on it for a variety of tasks, I didn’t relish the idea.

On the sixth day, however, I managed to get my Ada, to a point that would work. I have Windows 8.1 installed. The only programs it is running are paint.net, KG-Chart Pro, and an antivirus program. I’ll be using Google Docs for my word processing. I really don’t need any more than that.

Which leads me back to this site and the sudden dearth of posts. My hosting company told me that the hack to my site was one that required professional servicing. I realize that might just be a come-on to get me to shell out money to the company they suggested. I considered for a hot minute trying to dig out the malicious code myself. The prospect didn’t excite me and I found myself strangely non-bothered by this turn of events. Maybe I had been worn down by six days of fighting my computer. Whatever the reason, I looked at the whole mess and realized I was okay with saying goodbye to six years posts.

I decided that it was best to just take off and nuke the whole thing from orbit. It was the only way to be sure.

So that’s where we are now. I might try to salvage past posts. But since I can’t know if malicious coding has infected them, it won’t be a fast or easy processes. I’m just going to move forward. Start posting regularly. Work on the novel and articles. Update my Patreon. Close the door on that chapter of life.