Reviews & Interviews

Interview with Author & Crafter Opal Luna

 

I recently had the opportunity to interview Opal Luna, the author of one of my new favourite crafting books. I read and tried out her book Fiber Magick. We talked about her book and her personal life. She was very nice and has years of experience and knowledge. Her book has easy to follow steps and full coloured pictures and plenty of references. I will be doing another article next issue showing pictures and my projects that I have completed and tried. Her book is a wonderful addition to anyone’s collection who loves crafting and wants to try something new and fun. If you like to crochet, or want to learn to crochet, then this book is for you! I hope you enjoy the interview and get to know Opal.

 

 

Jazz (J): I see you have been crocheting since you were 8, and that your grandmother taught you. Why don’t you tell me about that bond, and what started that and made you get hooked on it?

Opal Luna (OL): It was a nice, pleasant escape to go to my grandmother’s house as it was old fashioned. Her room was upstairs and the walls were clad in pine, so it smelt nice in there. Such a relaxing atmosphere. So, she taught me the granny square- of course I thought that she had made it up, cuz she was my granny, but she didn’t. And, it was just something that I enjoyed doing and I took to it. You know, lots of times people will start something and they just have an aptitude for it and it’s easier to get hooked. I found uses for it as I got older cuz I was a teenager in the 60s, so I wanted crocheted vests and hippy bags and things like that. People at school wanted me to make stuff for them, so I made a little pocket money too.

 

J: That sounds wonderful. Very positive. Did you live with your grandmother?

OL: Yes, she lived with us until we moved out of Florida- this was New York. When we moved out of Florida, she decided to go back to Missouri- where she was born. Her mother was still alive so I got to meet my great-grandmother.

 

J: Did she crochet too?

OL: Yes, and they would do quilting and tatting. They did all those things. They were in Poplar Bluff, Missouri at the turn of the century, so they had to make things. There was no store bought. 

 

J: Yes, you touched on that a bit in your book. You brought up how handmade isn’t as much of a thing anymore, and I agree with that. I’ve always been one of those people that makes something for a birthday. It means so much more to have someone make something than go to the store.

OL: Especially not with crochet cuz there is no such thing as a crochet machine. All the crochet that you see has to be done by hand. So, it’s either done in a sweatshop, or lovingly made. So, it’s got to be from the heart. It’s a labor of love.

 

J: I didn’t know much about crochet before. I usually do cross stitch or other random crafting. Crochet is something I’m not very good at yet. But you have very beginner to advanced stuff. The way you set the scene is very good and refreshing. I learned how to crochet when I was in the hospital and my friend showed me the basics and I just made a dish cloth and I fell out of it. So I was very fortunate to get your book.

Now, you said you were ordained. How long have you been ordained for?

OL: About 10 years.

 

J: How were you raised and what drew you into the pagan path?

OL: I was raised in a Christian household. My granny who taught me to crochet was pentacostal- hardcore Christian. It was just how I was raised and then a friend of mine, who I had known since High school. We found each other on Facebook. 14-15 years ago. Apparently, she was part of the pagan community. She invited my husband and I to a drum circle in Fort lauderdale. Hundreds of people turned up for the winter solstice. So, there was maybe 500 people there at the biggest bonfire in south florida. It was amazing. My husband, who was raised Catholic, just hit the ground running. The next morning he wanted to start making drums- and he does. He makes exclusive, hand tied, 5 sided pentagram drums. So, I, on the other hand, thought it was cool. But I didn’t know what I wanted and it was a while after that. The same friend told me about a church and meetings on Thursday nights, but not part of the church. It was the cups group. So, she dragged us there and the rest is history. Ended up growing into a leadership position there and being ordained by that circle and now we are graduated into our own church and I’m the president of Abalenas grove.

As far as the Fiber magick is concerned, you know how you start in the Pagan community there are druids, and vikings, you know and you are trying to find your little niche and my father and mother were in the tuscany area so when I started learning about the stragas, I started learning towards that, but I was gravitating towards kitchen magick, crafting, candle magick, ya know, I realized that I was doing the same things with my crochet. You have the textures, the colours, so it’s just like a spell so I just kind of expanded on that. If I anointed the yarn with an oil that will add another correspondent. If I stuff the doll with herbs, it’s a poppet. And I just went crazy and for years I just kept notes in my book of shadows and all over my house. I wrote it all out and self published it. I refer to it as the pamphlet now, it’s just like 100 pages. It’s mainly poetry, meditations and anecdotes. It was enough that it attracted the attention of llewellyn. I was offering it at craft shows in the pagan community and there is an online newspaper called the wild hunt. One of the editors is now an editor of llewellyn. Word travels and there was an opportunity to pitch the book, but they ended up coming to me. I was setting up my tent and getting ready to pitch it at 2 in the afternoon, but someone ended up coming up to me and saying “this must be fibre magick, I’m from llewellyn worldwide and we want fibre magick.”

 

J: Of, that’s amazing!

OL: That was a trip, ya know, cuz when you do a book for a big publishing company you are dealing with editors and it wasn’t my little book anymore and it was lot It was big fat instructional book and we had to get there.

 

J: A lot of work for you. It’s beautifully done. I love how it’s laid out. The coloured photos, the patterns. I’m very fortunate. I started off with the witch’s ladder. I want to try and make something a bit more challenging like a poppet, even if it turns out a bit derpy. I really love that you included colour references, goddess references and things like that. I feel like for people who are just  starting out it’s a great addition to help people decide what colours to use and it’s just a nicer guide.

OL: The book is definitely a beginners guide, but you might be at different levels. You might have been studying magick for years and never thought about adding crochet to that or vice versa. So, I figured wherever you are, you bring the other one up to it, and then you can just keep going and going. You can use the same principles to crochet. Add a little crafting to it. 

 

J: I think there is a lot to it. I have been in the Pagan realm since 1999, but I have also been drawn towards crafting and art. I find it very hypnotizing and calming. I used to just go out into the woods and just draw and I have done a lot of cross stitching and you can just get lost in it. When you talk about fiber magick and putting it in your magick with the weaving, knotting, etc. It’s a great way to look at it and take on a whole new realm of possibilities. You also talk about nurturing your inner child and I just wanted to know what else you do to nurture your inner child?

OL: I tend to talk to everything I make. The mandrakes I make are my friends now. Everything I make I start with the face so we can have a little conversation. Just being light-hearted and being able to play. The best thing about the Pagan community is the ability to just play. This past weekend we had a Litha fairy ritual in my backyard. My backyard is full of fairies. We just danced and laughed and blew bubbles for the fae. Just a bunch of adults- there were no children involved. 

 

J: I love that!

OL: And I like to reassure Child Alba. She wanted to be a fashion designer. I came about it the long way about it, but I came about it. I’m a fashion designer. 

 

J: You have magick fashion!

OL: I just had to find my niche. I’m just not a doily and dishcloth person. I just had to find a community where I could make dragons and poppets.

 

J: What is the process of making a pattern? How do you go about it from knowing what you want to make to turning it into a pattern and putting it into a book?

OL: I start with a drawing of what I want to make. One of the things that I like to do is find a picture of something I want to make, like an actual dog. And crochet it without a pattern. Then you have to be able to do it again. That’s the tough part. And then you have to do it again, and write it down. Then you have to do it again by just reading what you wrote without thinking about what you meant. The process of making a pattern is just doing it over and over and over again until you can write it out and then re-do it. 

 

J: That’s a lot

OL: It really is a discipline. Writing the book and the patterns was a study of slow down, breathe, think. Step by step and don’t take anything for granted.

 

 

J: So you have to write it out as if you didn’t know what you wanted and what you were thinking about. That’s a lot of steps. The goddess one’s you make- just fantastic, it’s laid out so nicely. I just don’t have the confidence yet. 

OL: Just take it step by step. It’s the 4 basic stitches. Single crochet, half double, double crochet, chain stitch. It’s just the different patterns. You just do them in different orders. 

 

J: I love how you talk about how the crochet hook is a wand, so I need to get some different sized wands I think.

So you talk about grounding and centering yourself. I think that is a big part of magick and how to get into the moment. What are some of your main rituals to get into the mindset?

OL: I do breathing exercises and regular meditation. But, the crochet is a form of moving mediation. I will make a witches hat. I can always make a witches hat. I don’t need to think, so something mindless. I like a nice cup of tea- different types of tea. It depends on what I want to put into my work, I put into myself first.

 

J: That’s beautiful. I am also a big tea fan. I think there is a lot said about having a cup of tea and crafting, or reading. 

OL: The chain stitch spell is very important. There are lots of times that people don’t get past the chain. They can make a big chain. They aren’t allowing themselves to go back. And I show them they can put whatever stress they have and put it into that chain and then just let it go. You should carry a little ball of yarn and a hook with you in your bag. Do that a couple times after work and the drive home will be a lot easier. Just get rid of the stress from the day. 

 

J: Would be a good de-stresser after the day for sure. What element do you tend to work the most with? Do you radiate towards a certain element, or do you mix it up?

OL: Fire. My favourite stitch is the half double crochet, which I have assigned the element of fire. I like adding that passion and being able to no matter what colour. That’s why I assigned each of the elements to different stitches so I could use water, without having to make everything blue, or red, or green, or whatever. So you can just use that stitch and add that fiery passion, without really thinking about it.

 

J: When you think of the elements you think of colour correspondences so it’s nice to have those options. 

OL: That’s not always working if someone wants something particular in a certain colour, but you want this poppet to portray strength and protection but you know their favourite colour is pink, or blue or whatever. The whole idea of fiber magick is layers and layers. I think everyone understands the intention of setting your craft and that your energy gets in there no matter what you do. So, thinking happy thoughts when you are making a baby blanket, or whatever. That comes very naturally. Then, the second step is layering all those intentions. What is that yarn made of? What colour is it? What oil did you infuse it with? And you can just add layers and layers and layers to your intentions and your finished product has all that in it.

 

 

J: That would add a lot of personality to it. I get why you talk to them. You’re forming an identity with each item.

OL: I usually position them. Like, I took pictures of my mandrakes in a bowl on my craft room table and they will sit in that bowl for a while and they’ll just be there and I’ll get to know them before they find their forever homes. They have to know who they are so that they can find their person, so they can go to the right place. 

 

J: So, do you prefer to make custom items for people, or do you prefer to make something and let it develop itself. 

OL: I have a very large inventory. I do very well at craft shows, so I have to make things like 15 witches hats so I get a lot of opportunities to try different combinations of colours and sometimes I put things together that I don’t even know why I’m doing it. But, it turns out. But, it is easier if someone says “can I get a blue hat with a red feather?” So, ya know, that’s easy. I like being free to get to create. But, I get to do both very often. I get a lot of custom orders and I need a lot of inventory. I crochet every day.

 

J: That’s remarkable. I don’t think I do anything every day.

OL: I enjoy it, so I’d be doing it anyway. It’s a good outlet. 4-6 hours. Always. Somedays I put on Netflix, and I’m there for 10-12 hours. 

 

J: Don’t your hands get sore sometimes?

OL: I have exercises. I use a stressopus. It’s a stress ball with an octopus crocheted around it. I sell a lot of those. But, I use a stress ball. I change positions a lot. I probably look like a crazy person with my feet up and stuff. Plus, if I get up and make myself something like a cup of coffee, while I’m up and it’s brewing I’m doing pushups against the counter to relieve the lactic acid in my muscles. Then I will just stop and do yoga, so I’m conscious of that, of my body. I don’t let it get too tight.

 

 

J: So, in your book what is the item you are most proud of? What is the item you like seeing the most? Is there one thing you just love seeing other people make?

OL: The witches hat. It’s become my signature, especially with the feather on it. That’s my signature item on the cover of the book. It’s so funny, cuz that’s not the one that I sent to be in the book. Llewellyn called and said they found a hat on my facebook page. “Is that hat still around?” and I told them that hat was sold 3 years ago so they asked if I could make another one. So I did and sent that to them. It didn’t make it home from the photoshoot. Someone bought it there.

But I like to make mermaids. I like to make my poppets, dragons, mandrakes. I also like to make handbags. I line them- put pockets in them. I like to upcycle old pairs of jeans. If you cut the legs off and sew up the bottoms and turn them inside out- you can use them to line the inside of a crocheted bag, and you’ve already got the pockets.

 

J: That’s great. I love that you also found a way to upcycle plastic bags.

OL: We do that at The Grove. We all plarn. There is a shelter down here and they love to get our plarn mats. There is a waiting list for people that want them. 

 

J: I love that so much. My grandmother used to make mats. We used to fold and roll up the bags for her, and as you say, she would plarn them together. I had never seen anyone else do that besides my grandma, so it was great to see and brought back some memories which was cool to see. I’m a huge fan of upcycling and recycling. All my yarn was pretty much donated to me. 

OL: When people find out you are a crafter and they’re trying to get rid of stuff. I have been honored to have received whole stashes. Someone’s grandmother died, or mother died and they have these whole craft rooms. And, I go through them all and I find these unfinished projects and I finish one and I give it back to the family. I hope someone does that for me. Out of my four children I taught them all to crochet, but I have one daughter who took to it like I did. She also knits and she writes children’s books. She makes the characters from the books and she sells them with the books. So my stuff will find a good home. 

 

J: So, now I’m in Canada, but is this worldwide? Is the States your biggest marketplace? 

OL: I have fibermagick.com, which I created myself through Wix. I have an alert on my phone that tells me when someone is looking at it. Most of the time it’s one of the 50 states but I have seen people from Russia, China, Norway, on my website. I know my book is being translated into French. I hope its translated into Italian next.

 

J: Do you speak Italian?

OL: My father was born in 1914 in New York city. He said we don’t speak Italian, we speak American.

 

J: Are there any little tidbits you would like to tell your readers? 

OL: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take it step by step and take it as far as you’re comfortable with. Don’t worry if your creation does not look like mine or anyone else’s cause yours will be perfect just the way it is. If you give up- then you failed. You haven’t failed until you give up. Everybody learns differently. 

 

J: Anything that you want to let the community know?

OL: Join the fiber magick coven and be proud of your makes. The Pagan community is a crafty one. Don’t hide and join us and share with us. We all want to see what you’re doing. I encourage self-promotion. I don’t care what you’re doing. It’s magick. Your creativity- just share it with us. 

 

Thank you Opal Luna for spending time with us and our readers!

 

You can find Opal Luna at the following:

Her Website: Fiber Magick

Her Group: Fiber Magick Coven

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fibermagick/

Her Book on Amazon:

Fiber Magick by Opal Luna

 

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About the Author:

Merry meet! I’m Jazz and I’m a Canadian oddball. I love roller derby, kickboxing, spending time with my dog and husband & love all things art, craft and pagan!

I was raised by a Roman Catholic family but discovered Buddhism, then Paganism while in elementary school and have followed the Pagan path ever since.

My main deity is Gaia as she approached me in a dream and I feel a very strong connection to her.

I love working with runes and absorbing knowledge and working on my never ending book of shadows.

I have always been drawn to the arts & have done many crafts and randomness for as long as I can remember. I find it peaceful and it helps settle my mind. I enjoy drawing, painting, cross stitching, doll making, jewelry making and more! I hope to spread my love and passions with others and put as much positivity in the world as possible.

Feel free to check out my Facebook and Instagram! Thanks for popping by and Blessed Be!

Merry meet! I’m Jazz and I’m a Canadian oddball. I love roller derby, kickboxing, spending time with my dog and husband & love all things art, craft and pagan! I was raised by a Roman Catholic family but discovered Buddhism, then Paganism while in elementary school and have followed the Pagan path ever since. My main deity is Gaia as she approached me in a dream and I feel a very strong connection to her. I love working with runes and absorbing knowledge and working on my never ending book of shadows. I have always been drawn to the arts & have done many crafts and randomness for as long as I can remember. I find it peaceful and it helps settle my mind. I enjoy drawing, painting, cross stitching, doll making, jewelry making and more! I hope to spread my love and passions with others and put as much positivity in the world as possible. Feel free to check out my Facebook and Instagram! Thanks for popping by and Blessed Be!