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Wild Alchemy Lab x Ssōne

We are so happy to be introducing our exciting collaboration with the Wild Alchemy Lab founded by Jemma Foster. The Wild Alchemy Lab is a multi-sensory publishing platform and arts collective exploring nature, science and esoterica through the lens of the elements. We are currently exhibiting a collection of artworks from the Wild Alchemy collective in our Chiltern Street space. 

When was the first time you felt called to do what you do?
Since I can remember, something felt off to me about the world that I was told to believe in, it had to be more than that - more magical, more mystical, more multi-dimensional. The calling to explore this through creative practice has always been there, I've just begun to listen more as the years go by. 
I started off as a journalist, writing fiction, short stories and screenplays before taking on a 42ft narrowboat that I named Xanadu after the 'stately-pleasure dome' of Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan. I hosted supper clubs and people came to sit on folding cinema seats around a converted ironing board and Mama Xanadu was born. I used food as a medium for storytelling, ingredients became characters and dishes narratives borrowing from mythology and folklore. I went back to source, embracing our ancestral heritage as foragers for food and medicine and the practice of local and seasonal consumption. This process launched eight years in-depth study into plant and vibrational medicine, foraging, ethnobotany, sacred geometry and alchemy. Mama Xanadu evolved, hosting workshops, creating bespoke event concepts and experimenting with planetary libations at our tonic & elixir bar. 

Who, or what, has been your greatest influence?

I've always been drawn to subversive literature, magical realism, occult texts, surrealist art, explorers of nature and pioneers of consciousness - Goethe, Jung, Tesla, Hildegard von Bingen, Carlos Castenada, Madame Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner, Salvador Dali, Alejandro Jodorowsky. Above all, the plants and planets themselves. 

 

Do you have any daily rituals? 

I have a few morning rituals and most days I manage to do at least one of them. I document any significant dreams upon waking, meditate or at the very least tune in to see where I am at. Qi gong moves the stuck energy of the night through me and wakes up the senses to set the landscape for the day - picking herbs from the roof for a cup of tea, lighting a candle, pulling a card or opening a book at a random page for insight, putting a record on while the kettle boils.  

 

 

What clothing do you wear to work in? 

 Invariably a jumpsuit.  

 

 What's your view from your workplace? What does it smell like? What can you hear? 

 My studio opens onto the canal lined with a mixed palette of narrowboats that is in constant flux. The warehouse the studio is in is host to sculptures and constructions that include fibreglass sharks, tensegrity frames, an airship and a giant camera obscura. The soundscape is one of birds, ducks, swans, the chug of boats and pinging of bike bells, and an olfactory blend of coal and wood smoke, algae and damp air. 

  

 

 

When you aren't doing what you do, what else do you make? 

 There is never far to go between me doing what I do and not doing what I do, it's all one and the same to me as I've curated my work so that it is driven by the things I love. I might be recording plant frequencies, wildcrafting, distilling, looking at star charts, but the time I get really lost in another place is when I'm writing fiction. 

 

 What do you do when you're feeling uninspired? 

 As my current work involves collaborating with artists and practitioners, I am fortunate to be immersed in a creative feedback loop most of the time, but if things do flatline, then going for a walk, listening to music or visiting an exhibition usually shifts things. Spontaneity is the greatest cure.  

 

 

Jemma is the author of Sacred Geometry and her next book Wild Alchemy: An Astrological Guide to the Magic and Medicine of Plants will be published next year. 

 The Fire edition of Wild Alchemy Journal is available in store, along with artworks from the collective.