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Artist Interview ~ Toni Bowe - Ishtar Freya Handmade Creations by Sue Perryman

We are lucky to have many very talented artists and crafts people in the Pagan world and I’ve often wondered how they became so accomplished in their work, so I decided to interview some of them to find out how they got to where they are today.

In this interview, I talk to the lovely Toni Bowe of Ishtar Freya Handmade Creations.

Hi Toni, thank you for agreeing to this interview, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your work?

 Yes, of course. I was brought up to respect and enjoy nature. I have always been interested in nature, alternative, and magical things. In my twenties a shop opened near my home town that sold crystals. They also run several different workshops. This got me hooked on lots of interesting things I qualified as an Aura Soma colour care consultant and a bach flower practitioner. I meet Cassandra Eason and another high priestess. I started doing pagan/witchcraft workshops, and I was invited to join a Gerald Gardner training coven. I stayed with them for a few years and then moved out of the area. This is when I started adapting rituals to my own way. A big part of witchcraft was the "craft" element. I made a lot of my own things and loved decorating the house for each sabbath and season. In about 2015, I saw these waldorf style fairies that used a needle felted technique but were too expensive to buy. So I started to have a go at making them. It started with fairies, angels, and tree toppers. Then I decided I wanted a goddess for my altar. So I started making them for both myself and a friend. It was then that she suggested that I should sell them.

Were you creative as a child, and did you always want to be an artist?

Not really, I liked to sew and decorate cakes, but I don't remember anything else as a child. I originally wanted to be a child carer but ended up becoming an accountant.

Have you had any training, or are you self-taught?

I spend many hours watching videos, reading books, and having a go. I couldn't find any courses or workshops in needle felting.

How would you describe your work?

I usually make items that are either linked to the season, sabbath or goddesses.

Does your magical path influence your work, and if so in what way?

Absolutely. As a pagan and/or witch, there is a lot of 'craft' involved. This inspired me to make things and try other crafts. I started making a goddess for each sabbath, and another friend suggested I give them names, which in turn led me to start making particular goddesses. I was a bit nervous at first as I didn't know many goddesses, and I have a little bit of trouble with names as i'm dyslexic.

Where do you find your inspiration?

 I spend time researching both crafts and goddesses. I also think how can I mix two or more media together to create something. When researching goddesses, there are some specific things relating to that goddess that I will note. I also spend time in a kind of meditation, which enlightens me with ideas and inspiration. The goddesses I make are my interpretation of them.

 Has your work changed over time?

 Yes, I would say so. I have improved my different skills over time, and I have learnt lots about different goddesses. I am also always trying new craft skills.

Is there a craft you haven’t tried yet that you would love to have a go at?

 Oh, lots. Where to start, there are so many crafts out there. I used to make quiet a bit with clay. I would like to try working with clay again. Things have moved on, and new products have been released. I would love to learn to crochet, too.

 Are you working on something at the moment or planning to make soon?

I have been asked to make some drum beaters for each sabbath. I have made a couple over the years, but I'm looking to make some different ones in 2024.

Thank you again Toni, where can people go to find out more about your work?

I do take on commissioned work.

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Auntie Gloss
Auntie Gloss
Dec 06, 2023

So lovely to meet Toni. I appreciated how moving from where she lived gave her space to open up and adapt rituals to fit her needs. Being with a physical group is great, but doing things on your own allows you to really rub up against those growth edges and stretch. Congrats!

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