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The Muse Series

The Muse Series: With Jaye Tayler of Argilo

The Muse Series: With Jaye Tayler of Argilo
Welcome to the Muse Series! This week I connected with Jaye, the founder of a brand I adore - Argilo, based in Cornwall. Jaye takes inspiration from slow living and the Mediterranean, crafting beautiful vessels and homewares to elevate everyday rituals. You can view her work here, visit the Argilo instagram, shop the "ritual cup" - a favourite of mine - and stay tuned for an exciting collaboration! 

 

Argilo takes inspiration from slow living and the Mediterranean, which is very much aligned to Palm of Feronia’s outlook. What is it about this way of life that resonates with you?

For me, there is a really deeply rooted association between the Med and relaxation. Indulging in stillness, living slowly and simply. I have been so lucky to grow up visiting different parts of the Mediterranean, and I think the experience of these places is a wonderfully sensory one. The blissful feeling of the sun on your skin, the simple pleasures of juicy fruit and floating in the ocean. In my daily life, I can be prone to sensory overload, particularly when I am feeling burnt out and my mind is busy. Spending time dedicated to doing nothing and soaking in pleasurable smells, flavours, sensations, and surroundings is the ultimate leisure. It is such a difficult thing to articulate, I just feel so whole, content and at peace in these places. Of course, for most of us, this way of life is something we can only indulge in for a week or two out of the year before we head back to 'reality'. My hope for my ceramics is that they can bring with them a moment of escapism and joy.

Slowing down naturally plays into self-care, pausing to reset and grounding yourself. What are your daily self-care rituals? 

Slowing down is something I advocate so much because it is something that I work at every day. It is not something that comes naturally to me, especially the kind of self-care that is truly important. I am learning that self-care is more about making conscious rituals that benefit me and my body long term, not just in that moment. I spend a lot of the day inside, sitting down at the wheel. So after work, I try to get outside and move my body, carving out time between work and dinner for a short walk, a run, or a swim down by the river. Something that gets me into my body and out of my head. I am quite prone to burnout and expecting a lot of myself, so using this time to transition from work into leisure time has made a profound difference for me in staying grounded. At bedtime, I love to drink a mug of herbal tea and use aromatherapy oils to unwind. Creating these rituals around sleep is a signal to my brain that it is ok to switch off.

Crafting ceramics requires a great deal of patience and focus. How do you prepare for a day in your studio? 

My preparation starts with what I put on in the mornings - I have to wear super comfy clothes in the studio. Sometimes a rogue bra strap or tight pair of jeans can be really distracting and throw my focus off, especially when I'm sat at the wheel for hours straight. I throw on some leggings and a sweatshirt and tie my hair loosely. When I arrive at the studio, I make my coffee and spend the first hour easing into the day. My brain takes a bit of time to get into gear in the morning so I like to do some menial tasks and moving things around before I sit down at the wheel to focus. There's always prep needed for every task in pottery - getting out tools, filling your bowl of water, covering and uncovering pieces, wedging clay, mixing glaze buckets, and unloading the kiln. I use this time to plan out my day in my head and decide what I feel like listening to. I have a selection of podcasts and audiobooks on rotation which helps me with my rhythm. I try to avoid the radio or podcasts discussing the news and politics as these subjects can cause emotional responses which aren't helpful!

As a one-woman business, backing yourself and being your own cheerleader is essential. What do you most like about yourself?

Thank you for asking this! It's not something I consider often, it's so easy to focus on where you want to be rather than where you are. I'm learning that I am a resilient person - there have been lots of obstacles over the past few years and I'm proud of how I have adapted and come through stronger. Recent times have taught us that nothing is solid, everything moves. We have to be open to moving with it. I'm an emotional decision-maker and go with my gut - for better or worse, I know that being true to myself will lead me where I am meant to go.

What do you think you’d be doing if you hadn’t founded Argilo? What are your other passions? 

I think about this a lot actually. All of my life I have felt compelled to create in some way. I'm a very visual person and I can't really imagine doing anything which didn't lean that way. It's what lights me up. I studied illustration but didn't feel that was my path in the end. I found pottery at a time when I was feeling pretty lost and directionless and found so many answers in the clay. Founding Argilo started as something just for me, ceramics was bringing me such joy and I just wanted to share that and see where it went. I'm not a particularly "career driven" person, it just matters to me that I am feeling challenged and inspired by what I do. I'm not someone who plans far into the future, I change my mind a lot and have lots of ideas for which direction things could go. I'd like to travel more and perhaps work remotely designing for a while.

Is there anything you're reading, watching or listening to that you're finding particularly inspiring or helpful right now?

It's a niche one, but I am enjoying catching up with episodes of 'The Potters Cast' - it is a podcast interviewing potters around the world. Although it has a pottery focus, many of the interviews are talking about a range of subjects around working for yourself, creativity, and motivations. I love reading but need time to do so - I can't pick up a book for a chapter each night, I have to read a book all in one go. We are going away in June for some sunshine and I can't wait to lay back and tear through a few good books!

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The Muse Series: With Joke Adejumo of Bodied

The Muse Series: With  Joke Adejumo of Bodied
I’m delighted to launch the next in our series with Bodied – a truly inclusive massage space based in East London – founder, Joke. After using human touch and massage therapy to heal her own chronic injuries and pain, Joke set about to create a welcoming, safe therapy space that would provide a community to all, in particular minority ethnic communities who are under-represented and under-served in the massage and wellness therapy industries. You can learn more about Joke and the Bodied Studio on their website and instagram

One of the core pillars of Bodied is creating inclusivity within the massage and wellness space – encouraging everyone to take care of themselves. Why is this so important to you?

I think the wellness industry and even allied health services can be (in some places) extremely whitewashed. It can be daunting as a woman of colour walking into a space, expecting to begin a process of healing and not identifying with or recognising myself in said space. If anything the pandemic has really shown us just how vulnerable minority ethnic communities can be and we all have a responsibility to ensure that health and wellbeing (on all levels) remains inclusive and accessible.

Massage is a practice steeped in a rich history. How much of the ancient traditions influence you and your work today?

For me, heritage and tradition are focal points that can decolonise the wellness industry. We forget that so much influence and inspiration has been drawn from ancient practices, remedies and recipes, so I'm constantly researching for the next phase of Bodied – how best to stay true to, and most importantly, honour those origins.

As someone who spends a lot of time taking care of others, how do you nurture yourself?

There is nothing remotely inspiring or glamourous about my process. I think just recognising...'I need a minute' has been enough to keep me going. I'm a great walker and London is a beautiful city at night, so it'll remain a past-time of mine to cross the bridges on foot and just take it all in. I stretch and strength train, play my digital piano (not very well), go to performances alone and try to keep it light-hearted.

Are there any small, simple self-massage practices that you would encourage people to implement in their everyday self-care rituals?

More so than self-massage, taking a few moments to breathe from the diaphragm and potentially trigger a release in serotonin is something I think everyone can afford themselves, as well as strengthening and mobilising their frames. The human body is the greatest example of biomechanics; we've been designed to move and whether parkour or tai chi is your gig, 30 minutes each day would probably shave millions off our nation's tax bill each year. Leave the bodywork and massage to us at Bodied!

What have you been inspired by in the small business and wellness space?

Honestly, the camaraderie and support of women in business. The likes of female founders such as Katie at Re:lax London, Sam at Curate Beauty and of course yourself here at Palm of Feronia among many others, have been a great support and constant reminder that allyship is everything!

Is there anything you're reading, watching, or listening to that you're finding particularly inspiring or helpful right now?

I recently saw Yuja Wang perform at the Southbank Centre this past April. Her rendition of Ligeti's Etude No.13 (L'escalier du diable) was honestly breathtaking. You could see the physical toll this piece was taking on her, a lifelong pianist. Again, it served as a reminder to stay consistent with my own practice and find new pieces to keep me uncomfortable. That's where the growth is right?

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The Muse Series: With Marina South of Then & Now Studio

The Muse Series: With Marina South of Then & Now Studio
Marina South is the founder of Then & Now Studio – a multi-disciplinary creative studio rooted in eco-conscious, soul-aligning brand development and sustainability consultancy. 
Marina’s work focuses on connecting us, with slower living and mindful action – something that can be increasingly difficult in the modern world. As an extension of this, Then & Now have developed a Creative Soul Deck - a set of beautiful, minimal and thoughtful cards to further develop your intuition and to help tune into your own internal guidance.

Tell us a little more about Then & Now Studio. How did the idea come about?

I’d worked in the fashion industry for over a decade and it became clear that I wasn’t able to align with the natural rhythms of life. I felt a strong calling to share the knowledge I had accumulated around sustainability with other creatives and brands on a journey to cultivate ethically responsible offerings. What initially began as a space to communicate this knowledge has organically evolved into its own entity. Then & Now Studio has grown to become a space that explores the intersection of art, nature and soul. Offering tools and inspiration that encourage one to return to the natural self by tuning into cyclical living and sensory activation. The objects we create are not only conscious in their conception and production, they also open up a conversation [about the relationship] between ourselves as organic human beings and cyclical living. I feel in many ways I have come full-circle in life – nature, alchemy and art have always been innate. It feels good to now create from this place and share the experience with our community.

Your work marries creativity, mindfulness and ritual. What do you see as the connection between these three practices?

For me the connection between these practices is the conscious act of creating. When we connect creativity, mindful action and ritual, we have the power to cultivate the world we want to live in. Even though our everyday actions can feel small, when we act from a mindful space – whether it’s a conversation or creating a piece of art – we choose what this looks like and how it shapes the world. I believe creativity is born from necessity, growing up in rural Wales with very little money, creativity was the only way to experience what we wanted. Imagining, making and mending was the sustenance we needed to cultivate the environment we wanted to live in. Our kitchen was the hub of our home and where so much of the magic happened; making herbal potions, oil blends and patchworking clothes with my mum and sisters whilst Pink Floyd played from my Dad’s garage, these were all acts of creativity, mindfulness and ritual. In modern times the term mindfulness can be easily used to bypass the root of what it really means to be mindful or conscious. I always return to the idea of creating a world that works for everyone and when we give intention to even our smallest everyday rituals we begin to act from a place of awareness and purpose, we take these energies and we distil them into something real and tangible. 

What are your daily self-care rituals? What nurtures you?

For many years I tried to force myself into structured societal ways of living and had so many imbalances and stressors arise from this which resulted in feeling misaligned. When I took the step to create my own path that felt more natural it was a process of complete deconditioning, almost a death and rebirth into a new way of living. My research and work in natural health and sustainability have led me to deep studies of ecology and cyclical living. Whether that’s thinking about the balance of my endocrine system or my everyday rituals for self care, it is about looking to nature and mirroring the cycles there. We have separated ourselves from nature, we often talk about reconnecting with nature when what we really need to do is remember we are nature. It's easy for us to accept that during autumn the tree's leaves change colour and fall to the ground, that in winter the tree stands bare until spring arrives and blossom appears. We are interconnected and experience the same patterns as the tree, accepting this relieves so much pressure, it allows for dialogue with ourselves and our needs.

Cyclical living is where I always start – as we move into Spring I am dry body brushing everyday to drain my lymphatic system, releasing stagnant energy and blockages. Sound is an innate part of my self care – I make playlists to evoke certain energies then dance, stretch and move my body intuitively. I love to make my own oil blends, even the simplicity of rubbing my body, hair and skin in olive oil feels so nourishing. Self-care rituals are not just about the physical body but the mind and soul as well. For me. it’s always about returning to the simplicity of nature, art and expression to nourish the soul. 

What nurtures me the most is complete simplicity; home cooking, growing herbs, being with my cats…Cats are always my mentors. Just witnessing them, they’re completely present in the moment, whether they’re in the deepest nap or experiencing pure joy through play they always bring me back to the present moment and what is real. I love good food too, and I’m forever over my cauldron creating herbal blends and tonics – it feels like an alchemical process to me and it’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember.

Do you have any words that you live by?

The words I forever come back to, especially in modern times when there is so much uncertainty and global trauma is “In chaos, there is fertility”, by Anaïs Nin. It always brings me back to a place of creativity as an act of necessity, of expression as a form of problem solving and to look at what is around me to create something beautiful and nourishing from it.

When thinking of how to live, create and work consciously I always return to the words, ‘that instead of finding solutions to help us continue the way we currently live, we ultimately need to change the way we are living.’ I return to these words often whilst growing a space and a brand that advocates for a more connected, authentic life. We must return to a more natural, cyclical way of living – less is always more.

What have you been inspired by in the small business and wellness space?

For me, I think that independent business is a way to rebalance the landscape and ensure we’re not all only focused on working for, and consuming from, a few global conglomerate companies. Through independent creativity we can cultivate local economies which serve communities directly in a more connected and transparent way. 

I’ve worked in the fashion industry for 15 years in high street, mid-level and luxury labels, and have experienced first-hand the challenges when larger established brands try to transition to more sustainable models – it really is complex. Larger businesses are rooted in systems that are well established and vast, making it challenging for them to create anything authentically sustainable. As an independent business you get to build your foundations from the ground up. I can see this happening and even though certain elements will always be a work in progress, by default, small businesses are always more sustainable and create a lower impact. 

For me wellness has always been part of my life through my connection to nature. It has always been something innate so I often don’t really see myself as part of the wellness industry. By tuning into the environment that surrounds me, and listening to my mind, body and soul, I integrate practices, rituals and recipes that serve me in a holistic and cyclical way.

Sustainability is a huge part of your philosophy. How do you ensure you’re being a conscious consumer?

One of the biggest shifts for me was changing the structure of my life to have a deeper sense of autonomy over my actions and, as a result, gaining more control over my time. Sustainability doesn’t work when you are time-poor and now the cost of living is so high leaving us all more time-poor than ever. When I grew up it was normal to buy local, take care of what you have, repurpose and pass items on. With the heightened cost of living, and the obsession with upgrading one's physical life we all stepped into a world of convenience. It’s now apparent to witness the effects of these choices and quite clear to see that in our quest to cut corners the planet and collective is suffering. We can have our heart and soul in the right place, but without enough time our intentions can often fall away and we rely on convenience solutions instead.

For me, it’s about looking at everything from a holistic perspective, giving myself the time to do the research, finding the places and people I want to buy from – that’s been a huge part of becoming more conscious in what I consume. I grew up working-class and sustainability was a normal part of life. We would use everything to its maximum capacity; hand-me-downs would be shared between us and then used for art projects after that. Neighbours shared car trips and home-grown goods. That was just the way we lived, as a community supporting each other. Being in the fashion industry for so long, I know product inside out so I’m very critical and can see through the ‘sustainable’ marketing strategies immediately. I tend to buy locally whenever I can. I research all the produce I consume, wear army surplus, vintage and old clothes on repeat. My indulgences are jewellery and scent – they’re a life-long love affair.

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