Ashley Nunez: Old Growth Alchemy
What are your social handles (if applicable):Facebook.com/oldgrowthalchemy Instagram.com/oldgrowthalchemy
In your words… Tell us about your organization, business, initiative.
Old Growth Alchemy is a purveyor of botanical libations and sensual ephemera rooted in Wild Folk Craft. The offerings you find in the online shop, through select suppliers, and at events arise from illuminations of ongoing study in folk herb craft, mythology, folklore, the occult, and bioregional storytelling. With an array of teas, bitters, salves, incenses, and Animist Reliquaries, the familiar transforms into the unusual through evocative sensual exploration of overlooked botanicals found in unlikely places. Old Growth Alchemy began as a way to share illuminations of ongoing study in folk herb craft, lore, storytelling, and traditional witchery through interaction with the sensuous, animate earth. Each creation demonstrates how the experience of leaf, twig, root, flower, or branch transforms depending upon the medium by which they are encountered. Everything created is small-batch and changes with the turning of the year. To that end, most creations are ephemeral and exist just for that moment which stock and supply allows-creating new and curious moments for every season.
Tell us a bit about you and why you do what you do. Share your passions for your business, initiative, organization.
I began this work while in the woods of Vermont, living in a tent in a beautiful mountain bowl. My explorations in herb craft began long before that, but in those golden-hued days, the seed of Old Growth Alchemy was planted. It took to sprouting when I combined my culinary sensibilities and passion for folklore, storytelling, mythology, and occultism to create the offerings you see frequent my stock. I aim to evoke wonder and curiosity in all who see my bottles and tins, crinkled pages and bright leaves. My business is in enchantment and that is what I make-small ordinary enchantments that use the physiological and metaphysical phenomenon of sense memory to bring people back in time to a place they adored or to the pages of their favorite books.
What role do you think your business plays in supporting a more creative community? OR your community in general. (Bonus! Why do you think a more creative community is important?)
I would like to think that my work inspires people to be more playful-to explore, to make, to feel empowered to create and be creative. I think that many can get stifled in this idea that they can’t do something because they aren’t as good as someone else. But if we can all support each other, life each other up, then that is how we can ensure a regenerative creative community. This is important both for the general feel-good nature of making something and feeling proud and knowing others think your work is valid and needed, and also to support the connections we all need and crave to have a thriving and healthy life. The arts in all their forms are as necessary as food or air-they offer an outlet of expression and when a community can come together to support that, everyone wins.
What was the last book you read that made an impact on you?
I am in the middle of Fun Dead Publications Exquisite Aberrations and knowing how many of the voices I am reading are from smaller writers and local ones has been pretty inspiring. Also, everyone loves a good gothic in time for October.
What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you our your business?
THE NAME OLD GROWTH ALCHEMY COMES IN PART FROM MY MEMORY OF THE OLD GROWTH FORESTS OF SCOTLAND I VISITED WHILE STUDYING IN MY UNDERGRAD. MANY BALK THE THOUGHT OF FORESTS IN SCOTLAND, BUT I HAVE SEEN THEM AND THEY ARE GLORIOUS.