When I first came across Prana Potions and Maile Melcher, I was intrigued by her beautiful, responsibly handmade products and attention to detail, and her vast knowledge and willingness to share each step of her plant medicine creation process with the world. To find a maker that is responsible, educated, and consistent every step of the way in making her product is very special and rare. She is a proud member of Herbalists without Borders, a pledge member of the Natural Ingredient Resource Center “Truth in Labeling” Act, and a certified wildcrafter with a personal focus on Traditional Plant Medicine, Herbal Energetics, La’au Lapa’au, and Ayurveda. The ingredients of her plant medicine are either grown in her home garden on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii, responsibly wild foraged, or organically sourced by trusted contacts. Prana Potions was established in 2015 and “is in a nutshell, [her] personal journey and collaborative effort in union with the primordial plant world.” Grey Moon is proud to now carry Prana Potion’s Sattva Empath Oil ($36). I personally use before we host events, workshops, or pop ups as a therapeutic, gentle reminder to ground myself and to create energetic boundaries.
Letters To Edna is a collaborative greeting card series by artist Rikkianne Van Kirk and Grey Moon Vintage. the Poems and texts (with their original penmanship) inside the cards are from a found autograph book from 1905 that belonged to a woman named edna from San Antonio, Texas. Autograph Books were a keepsake popular in the late 19th and very early 20th century among university students to collect poems, mementos, saying and signatures from friends. known for her illustrations on antique paper, Van Kirk visually interprets each text using her sentimental and minimalistic perspective.
When we met in the lot at Broadway News, Rikki and I became fast friends. I always looked forward to her stopping by the Grey Moon shipping container to chat on days she was working on her art inside Richter Goods. Our friendship grew out of our love of the vintage hunt, learning of each others' strange interests and collections, and even more so from finding an artistic female friend that just "gets it". After learning about her artwork, I began collecting vintage notebooks and paper for her, and she kept an eye out for cool vintage for Grey Moon. One day, I found two autograph books from San Antonio that were from the early 1900s in amazing condition! I gave one to Rikki and kept the other because I wanted to read and enjoy the poems and writing. several weeks later while I was sorting through our vintage books, I came across the Autograph Book. As I carefully flipped through the fragile pages of skilled penmanship and funny poems on antique paper I realized that this Autograph Book wasn't meant for me--it was meant for Rikki.
That week we met up at our nearby Local Coffee to catch up. I gave her the Autograph Book and as she unwrapped it she was visibly taken back by the unique cover. She carefully opened the book and was in awe of each nostalgic page. I, too, was in love with all the poems and texts and wanted to do something that would pay homage to the forgotten art of keeping an Autograph Book, the penmanship, and the hilarious and morbid poems. We both knew this was our long awaited opportunity for a collaboration.
While the poems may be interpreted romantically, many of the poems in the Autograph Book were written platonically by female friends and family to Edna. "Letters To Edna" is an art collaboration celebrating the beautiful phenomenon of genuine female friendship. The greeting card series is also a gift that keeps on giving: the cards are meant to be framed and displayed by the recipient.
In late March, we were faced with the upset of closing down our shipping container shop at Broadway News due to some issues with the city (see Rivard Report Article for more details), we found the silver lining that this would push us in the direction we ultimately dreamed about--a mobile storefront inside a vintage trailer. This came at a busy time for us as we had planned to elope in Iceland the following week and would be out of the country for 12 days. We scrambled to break everything down to empty our shipping container all while scouring the internet to find our dream trailer and packing and prepping to leave the country. We bought our trailer a few days before we left and began renovating it as soon as we returned.
We bought a trailer we weren't sure was going to roll off the lot that it was parked. The tires were completely shredded, the trailer had been sitting on just its rims for over a decade, and the utility of the axels were a gamble. Colin and his friend, Jason, spent an entire day digging the wheels out(and dodging black widows) to replace them by hand because no electricity was available on the lot. Once they got the new wheels installed came the real moment of truth. Would the axels work or would it need to be towed? Jason got into his truck while Colin stayed outside to see if the trailer would roll. Slowly he increased his pressure on the gas pedal feeling his truck ease forward but unsure if it was dragging or pulling the trailer. SUCCESS! IT ROLLED! Now they just had to get it 50 miles north to where the trailer would be parked for renovations for the next few months.
once they got the trailer out to bergheim, where it would stay for the duration of the renovation, Colin began to imagine the design for the interior of our store. the trailer was in very poor condition and still had all its original furnishings and decor. the next step was to demolish and remove the original interior.
after we got the trailer down to its bare bones came the fun and tedious part. with Limited electricity and no a/c we worked every Day to make our dream trailer a reality. sawing, measuring, re-measuring and drilling became our everyday lives. thank you so much to all of our friends that allowed us to borrow tools, trucks, and endless helping hands. we wouldn't have been able to do it without y'all!
because we are a shop that promotes recycling and finding newness and nostalgia in the old, we wanted to be creative and thoughtful in how we sourced our supplies for the renovation. our hardwood flooring and framing was once the insulated display wall from our former shipping container, we created insulation packs with recycled clothing scraps, we kept the original cabinetry on the endcaps of the trailer, our galvanized pipe racks are also reused from the shipping container, our custom built reading nook/meditation area is upholstered with vintage fabric, and any paint for the exterior is recycled. to take it to the next level, our in-house, locally made soy candles will soon be made with recycled materials!
after four very hot months of hard work and imagination(and heat stroke) we were excited to be able to pull our trailer back to its new home at broadway news! While our shop will always be a work in progress we are FINALLY up and running. come see it for yourself in person at 2202 Broadway! we are officially open for business Tuesday-saturday 11am-5pm and Sunday 10am-2pm. celebrate our grand re-opening on Sunday, august 6 from 10am-3pm.
It's like being on another planet. Surreal landscapes, other-worldly rock formations, natural geothermal pools and miraculous, untouched terrain. Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Its volatility only adds to the majesty and mystery of this arctic wonderland.
Colin and I eloped in Iceland this past March. We planned to drive around their famous golden ring road that goes around the perimeter of the island seeking the most rural and off-the-beaten-path places we could find along with right of passage tourist traps. The capital, Reykjavik, is their big city--housing 2/3 of their 330,000 population. Although a big city, each shop, restaurant and establishment is celebrated for its uniqueness and local ownership. Upon landing in Reykjavik it was very apparent that Icelanders take pride in the history of their culture and heritage. It's obvious that art is life for Icelanders as the businesses downtown are predominately owned by local artists and local vendors. It was fascinating to see the many independent jewelry artists, makers, and individually owned boutiques(yes, even vintage ones! Spuutnik and Nostalgia were my favorites) to be successful and thrive in their community.
Ironically, the most intriguing and mentality-changing experience I had in Iceland was an experience I didn't have. While in the west fjords I learned about a sculptor that had lived on the coastline of the rural and rugged northwest fjords named Samuel Jonnsson(1884-1969). After he retired at age 60 from a lifetime of farm work, Samuel decided to spend his retirement creating art While he dabbled in painting and other mediums earlier in life, he had no formal training or education to be a sculptor or an artist. Gathering inspiration from travel magazines, he would collect sand and dirt from neighboring beaches to create mixtures to sculpt replicas of famous monuments and statues. He once sculpted an altar piece that he donated to his local church. The church rejected his donation so Samuel built his own church that still houses his handmade altar. Unscathed by the church's rejection he continued to sculpt to his hearts content. Some notable sculptures of his are: a replica of The Court of Lions Fountain in Spain, Icelandic explorer Leif Erikksson, an Indian temple, native Icelandic animals such as sea horses, seals and puffins. His folk art collection eventually became large enough to build a museum for all of his sculptures and paintings. He passed away at age 85 in 1969 leaving his creations uncared for. His art farm was in such a out of the way area known for harsh weather that a lot of his artwork suffered from the elements. In the early 2000's the Icelandic government and other art agencies stepped in to preserve, restore and convert Samuels art farm into a museum and studio workspace.
the church jonsson built for his altar
His inspiring story and unique folk art is something I always remind myself of when I find myself in a cycle of self loathing and worrying about the opinions of others. He created for the love of sculpting and painting and creating, not to be liked or celebrated. Rejection or disapproval did not define or deter his inherent need to create. We were in Iceland towards the end of their winter so I was disappointed to learn that there would be no way for me to visit his museum because of the road conditions. While I didn't get to see his artwork first hand, to know someone like him existed with an unwavering drive to create is a fond memory I will always look back on when I think of Iceland and our wedding.
When the church rejects your altar, build your own church.