Pagan artists getting creative to stay afloat financially

The Wild Hunt is exclusively supported by readers like you. No advertising. No corporate sponsors. Your support helps us pay our writers and editors, as well as cover the bills the keep the lights on. We cover the community because of your generosity. Consider making a one-time donation - or become a monthly sustainer. Every amount helps. Thank you for reading The Wild Hunt!

Special correspondent Azure West spoke with several independent artists who have been impacted by the cancellations of many Pagan events and how they are shifting their business practices.

TWH – Stacy Smith, who runs ZenTala, makes art that incorporates alchemy and seeks to transform vibrations into healing and cleansing. Smith started the conversation with her thoughts on the recent health scare, by saying, “This world is changing, and our way of life is changing.”

With four shows canceled and possibly more to come, Smith continues to restock on her online store every Friday with handmade creations that make up  95% of her inventory.

Smith, who has been a small  business owner for 7 years now, is supporting her 19 year old pregnant daughter. She went on to explain that recent times have proven to be more difficult than others in the past. Web resources show that there were 67 shoppers in her virtual store, and only one sale.

“If people have money, they are keeping it for other things besides online shopping.” Stacey went on to explain that she is hopeful and does not plan on panicking, as she further explained that she felt that panicking was not going to help the health threat situation at hand.

Decorative skulls, hand tanned leather goods and other accouterments is Ana Pocaigue-Kulterman’s specialty. After leaving the world of vet hospitals behind, she followed her passion driven dream to create her brand of art.

This is her is second year of vending at shows under the name “Island Girl Hides.” The newly transplanted north Tennessee resident has a mission to make sure that all animals used in her pieces are ethically sourced. Showing the deceased creatures honor and preservation in the highest form.

Skull art – Island Girl Hides – [courtesy]

Pocaigue-Kulterman art pieces range from small pouches and earrings to large cow or boar skulls. “Shipping the large items is something that would be difficult,” she explained. “Within reason, I had been thinking about meeting people to drop off my art.”

This is a thought that crossed  Pocaigue-Kulterman’s mind when the 20-25 vending opportunities that her business counts on, are being canceled or postponed due to the health concerns associated with large gatherings. “We are working to put together a solid plan and hope for the best,” was the additional thought Pocaigue-Kulterman shared.

Whimsical and dark designs adorn the digital storefront of Paletree Arcana. For the last five and a half years Bianca Havens has formed her one of a kind pieces while overcoming obstacles. When Havens first began her journey, she would sell her wares at a number of shows. However with the wildly popular Instagram, Havens has been able to find a niche where she can primarily work from home. This has proven to be a monumental advantage in keeping up with the day’s events.

Paletree Arcana has been asked to come out to conventions for this year. However, with the health threat causing daily changes, Havens had expressed that she prefers to stay home with her four children and her husband, focusing on making new pieces. Keeping her shop stocked is one of the ways Havens plans to offset any dip in sales.

Although the news of the day has weighed heavily on Havens, she is not alone in having a financial  action plan just like many of the small business owners. Planning ahead and using this period of time to hone her creative process into her new line of jewelry. The upcoming collection “Dystopian Dreams” is described as, “…primal ,raw and very primitive…. wasteland  themed to coincide with the times.” This collection will be in stock at her shop March 28th at 7:00pm CST.

Mama Gina Lamonte [courtesy]

Gina Lamonte or “Mama Gina” has lost all her live concert events through June. While Lamonte completely understands the measures in place, she is working to keep her head above water.

“I know it will always be ok!” Lamonte exclaimed. “I am taking this time to beef up my recording skills, focus on recording so there will be a new album when this is all over, and learning more things about the creative process.” Putting it into her perspective, “If fifty people spent one dollar a day at bandcamp to buy a song, that would feed me for a week.”

With the folk inspired album of “Firewood and Rust” recently coming out, CD sales have done well.  Lamonte is now switching gears to introduce “Ava” into the mix. Branching out from “Mama Gina” and “Nine Toes the Bard,” the newest sound comes from “Ava.” Ava is a “multidimensional being who is 30,000 years into the future and has a signature sound  described as, ‘Dubstep/EDM lullaby.'”

Eight years ago, at the age of 50, Lamonte left the corporate workforce to pursue her music career. However, Lamonte has been in the music industry and has seen it change dramatically over the years. With a firm belief that the best way for music to be felt is in person, technology is working its way into the signer/songwriter’s life and she is not the only one taking hold of the online concert course.

Singer-songwriter and comedian, Celia Farran summed up how Pagan performers are being impacted:

Pagan musicians are typically independent musicians and the rug just got ripped out from under us. Consider that 95% of our income comes from merchandise sales. The vast majority of those sales happen at Live Concerts. Live Concerts are all canceled for the foreseeable future. There is no “Severance Package” for musicians in situations like this. We are entrepreneurs and independent contractors and for us it is “No Show-No Dough.” All of my independent artist friends are in the same boat. Some of us have been offering online options for some time. Others are just now realizing that they must re-invent this wheel YESTERDAY and get on the online concert and Patreon/subscriber wagon.

With  Farran’s calendar being completely wiped clean, she is rethinking her travel plans. She explained the phrase “Dominoes of Contingencies” as the following, “So, if THAT show is gone….then that means I am not going in THAT direction anymore. That means I can’t rely on THAT income I had earmarked for THAT Bill. That means I won’t see THOSE friends. That means I need to return THAT equipment I just bought cuz I actually don’t know if I will ever have the chance to use it again. Everything that has to do with time, place, space, money and community has CHANGED.”

“One of the things I love THE MOST about the Pagan Musician World is how deeply supportive we are of each other!” Farren exclaimed.

Laura Tempest Zakroff – Image credit: Carrie Meyer/Insomniac Studios

Meanwhile, another affected artist who covers a wide range of everything from visual to performance art, Laura Tempest Zakroff, has the next six weeks of the calendar open. Three events, as well as workshops and her “Witches Night Out” market are either postponed or cancelled.

Since the news of the cancellations, Zakroff has offered up merchandise that will not impact the items she has created for events. DVDs, Coloring Books and the like have now been made available for quick purchase.

With the everpresent digital classes being offered, the multifaceted artist and writer has taken to offering her wide array of classes, which can be found on her many website links. Zakroff also described the ways that she has seen folks help each other by sharing information about mundane things such as resources on financial affairs to sharing links to help the artists spread their work to others.

One of the most recent spread of resources that has been produced by Zakroff is her “Immunity Boosting” Sigil. “I have seen it incorporated into rituals, placed on candles and Facebook profile photos,” she mentions. “It really is heartwarming.”  With over 1,000 shares the first day out and then reshared a number of times, the sigil has spread throughout social media.