13 questions with Ugly Shyla the Sarah @ Conjured Cardea edition
The special friday the 13th edition of my 13 questions interview is with Sarah @ Conjured Cardea,she’s a botanica owner and rootworker that I came across one etsy.I think the first item I ever got from her shop was a gift from my friend Hollie Stevens who has since passed on. Sarah makes allot of authentic and unique products and anytime anybody asks me where to get ritual supplies i usually point them to her shop.I hope you all enjoy my friday the 13th edition of 13 questions. You can find Sarah here http://conjuredcardea.etsy.com , http://conjuredcardea.blogspot.com/ & https://www.facebook.com/pages/Conjured-Cardea/212028180358
#1 Who,what,why,when where. AKA who you are,What you do,Why you do it,When you started and where are you from?
My name is Sarah, most know me as Moma Sarah. I am the sole proprietor of Conjued Cardea. Conjured Cardea is a full-service botanica providing 100% hand made items (excluding supplies) and conjure services to nearly 50 countries around the world. I run Conjured Cardea from my home in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have a husband of 7 years, a 6 year old daughter and 5 year old son. I was born in Dowagiac, Michigan but lived a lot of my life in Florida and Georgia with family. My fascination began with the need and desire to be self sufficient. A large portion of my life was spent living in a one room house with dirt floors and no running water. Often with no electiricty. We made soap from rancid butter and candles from tallow. We had goats for milk and we foraged and wildharvested for food and medicine. My great grandmother, Lucy, from the Kentucky foothills had taught us much. The difficulty of this type of life never occurred to me because from a young age I
loved making things that other people had to buy. I felt like I knew a secret and they didn’t. Like in some small way, in my meager life, I had something no one else did-simple ways to survive. Through my circumstances my life, needs, and spirituality became my art.
Sarah in her garden.
#2 Why do you care enough to make art?
I don’t know if “care” is the correct word for me. I have a constant stream of ideas and images in my mind. I am a perpetual daydreamer and always have been. Most of these ideas I can conceptualize and I have, or can learn, the skills to make them into a reality. I feel like a soda that someone shook and then popped the top. So far, the bottle doesn’t look like it’s running out. I love art, theatre, music, and dance. I feel my life would be far less meaningful if I could not express my ideas into a physical form.
#3 When did you realize you were going to be a artist,what was that “OMG I’m a artist now” moment for you?
I don’t think I had this moment ever really, because I always wrote or created things. I knew even if I didn’t “make a living” from it that I would still do these things for my spirit. They make me happy and fulfilled and they are a part of who I am. They are part of my spirituality. My items are tools for others to use to access their own spiritual practices, which is emmensely rewarding. I’d say last year, when I started getting a lot more custom work, I realized that maybe this isn’t a fluke. That, maybe, people really like what I am doing.
#4 What are some of your other favorite artist,or works of art.In ANY medium music,visual art ect?Feel free to provide links.
Who Hit John?-http://www.whohitjohn.com/
I love African and Caribbean music as well and often work to it. Especially when providing conjure services to clients.
#5 Who is an artist you relate to?
I suppose Jackson Pollock. He had abusive, alcoholic father, trouble in school leading to expulsion, and no one ever thought he, or his work, would amount to anything.
#6 What advice would you give other artists like you?
Customer service. If you want to succeed say “yes” to any custom work, no matter how large or small. It is an amazing opportunity to extend your talent, skills and ideas, for others to view. The only time I decline a request is when it is not within my skills i.e. I don’t perform “spells” because those don’t fit into my practices or traditions. I will also decline if it is a matter of ethics. Other than that, answer requests within a day, even if the work will require weeks of work. Begin a conversation so you can get to know your client. It is important to realize and explain that the idea in their mind WILL differ from yours and you must be upfront about needing creative license and control. The sooner you respond the more likely you are to begin understanding your client needs and ideas and it will also give them a reason to choose you, versus contracting someone else.
#7 What piece of art was the most emotionally difficult for you to work on.
I suppose my dolls as I always attach an important amulet or bead I have had for many years (offten giften to me), a way to activate and sync the spirit of the doll with my own. Or my roots and plants that I sell. It’s hard to let go of something you have collected the seed for, raised, spoken with, nurtured, cultivated and harvested. Custom gris gris bags can often be difficult as well as I am often making them for dire situations; fertility issues, severe heath concerns, abuse, grief, etc. No one’s first contact with a rootworker is because things are going well. I do FAR more counseling and listening than anything else.
#8 What do you hate the most about being a artist?
The lack of understanding about the process and time involved. Sometimes people can be impatient for items, when I am explicit about the fact that each item is created for each client. If they persist, after the explanations of time and process, then I ask them if they can make it faster themselves. The reply is always “No” and I reply “So then let me do it.” Friends and family often think that I just make a doll or candle here and there and that I sit at home all day because I work for myself. Think of a regular business with offices, designing, advertising, engineering, logistics, inventory, a factory, a staff, etc. That’s all me. That’s all the artist.
#9 What was your first paranormal experience?
As a child and I was reading about ritual knives, I had already been given one but I wanted a boline because they seemed more utilitarian. I remember asking for one; I now know I was praying. I was outside playing, which was all ever did on our 13 acres, and I was running to get home, I was almost to the mulberry tree, and I fell. I fell really hard, my head hit the ground. As I lifted it up, there was a bone handled knife lying on the ground. Someone may have dropped it. It may have been coincidence, but it seemed that the spirits had heard me and gifted it to me. I have been speaking and working with them ever since. I have had many more experiences similar to this as well.
#10 What is your motivation? Drives you,what do you believe,what are you fighting against or for?
I have been working for nearly 17 years to give people a different view of Paganism and folk traditions. I want people to look back into their own ancestry and see that these beliefs and practices are in everyone’s roots and are, therefore, inside all of us. That we are not seperate. I want to be seen as someone who is Pagan from a cultural, genetic, and historical stand point-that it has nothing to do with wanting power, control, or shock value. I want people to know that these beliefs and skills are not new or just invented, that they are tens of thousands of years old. I also do this for my children. So that they, in a time when the economy is shakey and jobs are few, that they can possess a skill that will sustain them should they choose to follow in the footsteps of me or my husband (he is a carpenter). I want them to have an option should they be unable to go to college, or choose not to. I want them to know that people will appreciate what they
have to say, what they think, what they write,
and what they can create if they only choose to be dedicated and wholehearted in their passions.
#11 What type of Situation did you grow up in?
From what I’ve heard from other’s childhoods, it was quite bad. I have an addict, mentally ill, mother who often abandoned me and had a hard time holding a job. I never met my father because he was an alcoholic and abusive to my mother and I so she divorced him I was 9 months old. My mother sold drugs and fought and bred dogs for money. However, we were far out in the country, on a large piece of land that we had to work in order to make ends meet. My mother loved to garden, so I learned that skill, among others, from her. She had good and bad periods. It went on like this, with everything that is associated with type of life and environment, until I was about 14 or 15 when I left home. I figured I could do better on my own…and I was right.
#12 Have you ever had to deal with somebody copying your art work,and if so how did you deal with it?
Absolutely. I have had two clients purchase $1000’s of dollars worth of items only to open their own shops and try to re-sell my items. I have one currently who copies just about new every item I list. It’s their problem, not mine. One will never find true success or inner peace that way. I find it heart breaking that they have never had the experience of having their own muse. It must be a humiliating way to live because it is blatantly obvious to everyone what is happening. I believe my customers are sent to me by some divine method. The clients who go to the shops selling copies of my ideas, were clearly not meant to be my clients in the first place. How can I be angry about clients who were never meant to be mine?
#13 What was the most terrifying moment of your life?
There are two I suppose. One, realizing that if I didn’t leave home I could, potentialy, end up like my mother and father. After all, I was half of each of them. I couldn’t risk those odds. I could control my environment, not my genetics, so I left. The second was probably last year when I finally admitted to myself that this was working. My business had become more than I had ever dreamed and it seemed, according to others, that I was very good at what I did. The success was terrifying and the guilt even worse. Everyone hates successful people. It always seems like they aren’t helping others when they look to be the most able handed. It may be true in some cases but it doesn’t have to be. I am just not that type of person. I can now volunteer more of my time, skills, services, and money to the organizations I love most, due to my business and the freedom it has allowed me. Conjured Cardea donates monthly to Help for Haiti and The Eleanor House. I still
feel guilty though. I often wonder “Why me and not them?” when I’m at the mission. I’m still dealing with the guilt. I’m not sure if that will ever leave me.
Make sure to check out her etsy http://conjuredcardea.etsy.com