Please introduce yourself & give us a glimpse into your world. Where are you located? What are you currently creating?
Hello, and welcome. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to share. My name is Mollie Jean Christianson and I’m sitting here in the Southern Adirondacks on the ancestral lands of the Mohawk and Abenaki peoples. This land is rich in flowing water, flora and fauna, and is beaming with continuous cycles of life and death. I live with my partner in a small farmhouse which borders a gentle brook and woodlands, this is where I work with textiles, sew, plant-dye and grow a garden.
Can you tell us about a childhood experience that was profound or life changing? Or a memory that still resonates with you today?
I grew up in a neighborhood in central Minnesota with not much immediate wild space. We had neighbors on three sides with manicured lawns, and a county road in the backyard. In between our house and the road was a drainage ditch, which oddly enough I found completely magical. There were frogs, salamanders, snails, snakes, tall cattails, and a trickling flow of water. This was my favorite place to play and explore. As I grew older the town filled the ditch and paved it over for a walking and biking path. I grieved this space, I remember watching them pave it over from my bedroom window and feeling such a sadness. A small Box Elder tree sprouted beside the path and I became entranced with it. I felt like this tree grew for me and my grief. It became a symbol of the wild amongst the altered lawns and paved-over land.
What daily rituals or practices if any, connect you with the spiritual realms?
I feel grateful to live surrounded by so much natural beauty; I like to think I live in a spiritual realm. Every morning I wake up and pull the curtains back and give gratitude to the day and the land. I stay curious and observe the subtle changes throughout the seasons, each new bloom, birdsong, a new nibble on a leaf, and the moving clouds in the sky. These observations are deeply grounding and invoke an instant connection to the spiritual realms. I also find it important to practice body movement, breathe work, as well as keeping a journal of dreams, emotions, and the changes in the environment. From there I’m able to create, which I find to be the ultimate connection to spirit.
What parts of the world do your ancestors come from? What inspires you most about your ancestral cultural background?
Almost all of my known heritage stems from Scandinavia, mostly Norway, the rest being bits of English and Finnish. From what is known, they were mostly farmers/homesteaders and left Norway for Minnesota when land and money became scarce.
My partner and I had the opportunity to stay and work on a goat farm in the eastern mountains of Norway, not far from where my ancestors were rooted. This experience almost felt dream like, a type of deja-vu, I remember laying in the deep snow after milking goats in between tall pine trees, looking up at the grey sky, feeling like I was at home, but at the same time I seemed to understand why my ancestors left.
There is certain stillness and simplicity to Nordic culture that I feel inspired by, along with their entanglement to the land, how life and it’s tasks revolve around the amount of sunlight in a day, and how weather doesn’t seem to get in the way of getting anything done.
I also drift into thinking about the unknown and forgotten ancestry, who are the ancestors I don’t know? I go into a spiral wondering where our souls began. How are we all connected? How did we become separated?
How do you stay connected to your Ancestors?
This past year I’ve connected with, and opened up to, some pain in our lineage. It feels really healing to sit with it. I like to look at the grief just as much as the joy.
I have little spaces throughout our home dedicated to certain family members, or spirits. I like to curate objects, plants, and pictures that remind me of them.
The act of working with natural fibers, sewing, stitching, washing, and dyeing connect me to the maternal both near and far. From my grandmothers to the creator of the oldest known piece of fabric.
Connection comes in so many forms, and the more I explore this, the more I find that connection in everything.
Where do you seek inspiration / healing / refuge? In other word's do you have a "spot" or an activity? Please describe.
Besides the garden, I have a few favorite outdoor spots that I like to think are “secret”, harkening back to my ditch days. This is where I go to open up to whatever wants to come in. I learn most of my lessons through metaphors in nature, it teaches me to be fluid, to give up control and just let inspiration flow. I like to think that gets translated into my work and all that I do.
What is the last good book you read?
I tend to surround myself in books, reading snippets here and there. Currently I’ve been reading Taschen’s Book of Symbols, CHIRON: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner & Outer Planets by Barbra Hand Clow and the second edition of Emergence Magazine, which is a mesmerizing array of publications about Ecology, Culture, and Spirituality. emergencemagazine.org
Where can people find you & your work?
I’m currently on Instagram @slow_stream_makery
and welcome all e-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org
*A Big Thank you to Katrina and Stefen for creating this community, I feel so grateful to be a part of it.*