Introducing Fog & Moon

“But when does something’s destiny finally come to fruition? Is the plant complete when it flowers? When it goes to seed? When the seeds sprout? When everything turns to compost? -Leonard Koren 🍃

(The following Blog post is written by Fog & Moon Founder & Creative Director Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka.)

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Fog & Moon the Logo, the Brand & the Story so far…

I love this quote by Leonard Koren author of the book Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. To me it illustrates the continual potential of all things, the perpetual state of becoming… which I think translates as hope. The Maori concept of Te Kore (the space before time began) or the nothingness, is not a place of emptiness, it is translated as the potential, a place of hope, where anything is possible. Genealogy is of great importance to Maori every living thing and everyone has a source, a universal connection right back to Te Kore, the place of potential and hope, that sits within and without. This is generally accessed by our Tohunga (elders) through the patterned sequence of whakapapa (genealogy) from parent to grandparent to Tupuna (ancestor) right back to the source – Te Kore the potential, the hope.

The genealogy of Fog & Moon | Linens.

Hope is a great place to start a business; as an artist and designer, I am firmly rooted in my culture (Maori, Ngati Pakau, Ngapuhi Waitaha). I rely on the stories and histories of my past to inspire my creative present and future. I wanted our Fog & Moon brand to carry this connection, but it also needed to be recognisable around the world. So the two triangles one facing up and one facing down, simplified are the alchemy symbols for Earth & Sky. I placed them together because in our Maori creation story Ranginui (Skyfather) & Papatuanuku (Earthmother) were separated by their children who were tired of living in darkness. Tane Mahuta (God of the Forest) braced himself against his mothers body, with his feet against his fathers chest and with all his strength he pushed them apart – light entered the world. By bringing Papatuanuku and Ranginui (the triangle symbols) together and interlocked, our logo represents love. In the Creation story, Fog has a genealogy from water. It is also said to be the tears of Ranginui who longs for Papatuanuku & the rising mists from the mountains is her longing for him. Our Moon or Marama also has many stories and names in Maori tradition.  Our ancestors would access the knowledge of Te Whanau Marama (the family of light) sun, moon, planets and stars to guide them when navigating between islands and also by following the cycles of the moon when gardening and gathering food on the land or in the sea. To us (Fog & Moon| Linens) the Moon represents light and knowledge.

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Fog represents the darkness of the unknown and Moon is the light of knowledge, they are both balanced and anchored by a symbol of Aroha or Love.

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The Short Story.

In June 2015 I started a research project called Positive by Nature. I was inspired by the work of Bill Reed an architect in the U.S and founding member of the Regenesis Group. I was interested in their solutions based thinking, rather than ‘problem solving’ the environmental ‘issues’. The solutions are discovered within the landscape by taking the time to research and ask questions about the history of the land, the people and the communities. Over years the success of their solution based thinking became evident in the regenerated landscapes. The process reminded me of the Maori concept of genealogy I spoke of earlier, the idea of going right back to the source. The positive focus on solutions was the hope that I had been looking for!

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What does solutions based theory mean to me? On a personal level with all the turmoil in life, my culture, the environment and the world. I wanted to find some small way that I could become a part of the solution. How could I become of service? This involved looking inwards and taking stock of my life experience and the skills I had gained over the years. I had been given my Great Grandmothers rongoa (Maori medicine) recipes by my Mother. Rongoa is made from New Zealand native plants and these recipes have been the source of my inspiration for years, so I started with the recipes to help guide my direction. During my research I became really interested in the story of our NZ native flax plant. Traditionally this was used by Maori for weaving, clothing, bags (kete), kites, toys and most importantly medicine. I was fascinated to find out how and why it was being used as reparation planting, reducing river toxins and I wanted to learn more. I found that our NZ flax plant is of no relation to the original European flax plant. Linen material is produced from European flax plant fibres and  I adore linen! The oldest textile discovered is of course linen, remnants of the cloth have been found in Roman ruins and the Egyptians used linen to wrap the bodies of their Kings and Queens. Linen has always been considered a luxury material.  I was hooked by the beneficial properties and potential of both plants, from seed to plant to product. The trail of information on our NZ flax seemed to end a couple of years ago, with various parties looking into different aspects of the plant. Flax seed oil seemed to be the only visual product I could find on the NZ market. I was even more surprised to find that there is no production of linen or any plant based materials and textiles in NZ – we import it. I thought to myself in a time when the health benefits of natural plant medicines, plant diets and environmental regeneration is becoming more and more appreciated and utilised. When the world is starting to shift and re-focus its energies on creating small local circular economies, that feed back into communities… Could we create our own special brand of linen here in New Zealand? Organically and sustainably produced by blending our native flax and the European flax plant with a reciprocal, cyclical whole system?  One that feeds back into the environment and local community in a positive way –  So began our Fog & Moon journey.

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Fog & Moon Linens.

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Currently we source our linen from the Fabric Store, they have a zero waste policy and we are working on importing linen from Master Fine Linen makers and growers in Europe . In order to find linen material that has been grown, processed and manufactured in an ethical way we have had to do a lot of research. Ireland has a special place in my heart, history and family, as we go along I will explain why.

To truly understand the nature of the textile we are really looking forward to growing our own European linen flax plants and by helping to cultivate our NZ native flax in a harakeke pa (flax field) and then hand processing the fibres to make linen and muka. In this way we can be responsible for our own ethical process and product. We expect that this will be a very slow process. To get to the point where we are producing materials and textiles will be our long term commitment.

In the meantime we are continually inspired by the ethical businesses and brands around the world that we have met and read about online. We are excited about some potential collaborations in the near future.

All going well it looks like we could be growing our first crop next year. Whether it will be on a small experimental scale in pots or large scale in fields, we do not know yet, but we will be bringing new meaning to the slow fashion, slow living movement by growing slow linens.

We are always looking to connect and build our network with other makers, growers, creators, writers, designers and customers who are thinking, working, living in the same way. Write to us, connect with us, share your story and come join our Fog & Moon journey – lets watch the grass grow together!

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In our next post we’ll talk about what slowness means to us, how we think we fit into the slow movement, the benefits of working in cycles and why we became underground designers.

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