Maheen Lemon is a modern-day alchemist, transforming ethically-sourced animal bones, copper, and clay into wearable talismans. Inspired by her hedge witch practice, Lemon lets nature guide her hand when she takes to the wild to meditate and ask for earthly permission to incorporate natural objects into her work. Each Bewitched Boneyard piece is then blessed and charged and infused with magic — and that’s not even taking into account the 10% of profits from each sale that are donated to INCITE, a charity close to Lemon’s heart that works to end violence against women of color and gender non-conforming and trans people of color.
Slutist is always stoked to feature this sex positive femmepreneur’s work, whether it be as a Slut of the Month, as a Slutist contributor, or, now, as an interviewee. And to make our chat even sweeter, Lemon was kind enough to create 20 limited edition, handcrafted Slutist talismans for any witches, sluts, and feminists who may desire one. (Available here while they last!)
Read on for more about Bewitched Boneyard‘s background and Maheen Lemon’s crafting process.
Can you walk us through your how you create each piece? Do you start with drawings or let your hands run wild?
My creative process is very much like a wild hedge witch’s. There are times when I put serious thought into a design and actually draw it out, but many times I just go with my imagination and let my hands and my heart take control. Most of my jewelry is made with copper using the alchemy method of electroforming. There is literally a science lab in my home! When I first started out, I was only making polymer clay sculpture pendants and other accessories. After about 7 months, I decided to learning basic metalsmithing and electroforming. At the time and even right now, I did not have the proper space to do serious metalsmith work (extensive soldering and lost wax castings etc.), so I decided to take the electroforming route. I also prefer copper over silver to work with because it is gorgeous yet inexpensive. Many jewelry designers work with silver and gold and that is amazing, but is also done a lot so I wanted to cultivate something different with my jewelry collections. Most of my talismans and amulets have big chunks of crystals because they are meant to aid practitioners of witchcraft in their rituals. I bless each piece I make with Sage (for cleansing) and Lavender (for love and peace) so my customers carry positive vibes with them.
Some of your materials are foraged from the wild. What’s your favorite spot to search for natural objects and do you have a particular ritual that you engage in when you go out seeking them?
Nature is my therapy. It is what I rely on for inspiration, for living and for creating. My husband and I are fortunate enough to own a beautiful home in upstate NY where there is a bountiful assortment of natural material to use in my work. I usually forage in my backyard where there are beautiful old trees. I try to forage only on the ground verses picking twigs off of a tree as I respect nature. When I choose twigs on the ground near a tree, I thank the tree by touching it and feeling its energy and sending back my gratitude. Sometimes I meditate by the tree to fully submerge myself with its energy so I can use it when I make a pendant with its offering.
Naming can be such a powerful act. What’s the story behind Bewitched Boneyard?
Naming a business entity is like naming a child because Bewitched Boneyard is like a baby to me. When the idea to start this small business came about, I didn’t really think of a name right away. I wanted my latent dream of being a self-employed artist to become a reality and navigated myself in a direction that would show not only my creative side but my devoted passion for the occult and witchcraft. As an already established small business owner of MJ Lemon Apothecary (all natural skin care), I knew the ropes and how to start out. I developed Bewitched Boneyard because I needed a creative outlet and I wanted to marry the idea of making art and being my own boss. It all comes down to aesthetic. Before I came up with the name Bewitched Boneyard, I wanted to develop the image and what I would be offering to the public. After I decided on what type of accessories to make, I then decided on what type of representation I want to reflect. Something nature-inspired and earthy with a sprinkle of catchy and cute is what I was going for. Because I love the cowgirl look and live a witchy lifestyle, I molded the two together by designing skull sculptures and using ethically-sourced animal bones in my jewelry. I crafted talismans with crystals and even made harnesses and bolo ties in the very early stages. With all of this combined, I named my baby Bewitched Boneyard and I am very happy with it.
Your work seems to be inseparable from your pagan beliefs. How does your magical practice inform your creative process?
Magic to me is life, whether it is breathing to feel alive or doing an in-depth spell to manifest my desires. I was always fascinated by anything witchy since I was a child. I recall many times I would lock myself in my room just to read a book about faeries and folklore instead of socializing like all the other young girls did. I didn’t start practicing magic until I was 16 and when I did, it was basic chanting and incense burning. Now as an adult, my magic work has evolved into something so near and dear to my heart. The way I practice magic is through crystal healing, ritual baths, chanting and envisioning my goal reached and most importantly, honoring my ancestors by giving them weekly offerings. I also celebrate each Sabbat giving thanks to nature and mother earth for all that it has given me, my friends and my family. In addition, I try to do intention spells on Full Moons and New Moons when I need to. Magic and art are synonymous. Magic is art and art is magic. So naturally I wanted to apply my magical knowledge to my creative skills. This is why I make talismans and amulets specifically for pagans. The pieces can be worn simply as jewelry or can be used in magic because each crystal talisman is charged before it is ready for retail and each sculpted or foraged piece is smudged. Because I use talismans and pendulums in my own practice, my intention is to make unique pieces for eclectic witches who are seeking to add more strength to their craftwork.
Who are your witch style icons?
The list is rather long but I will keep it short for the sake of keeping your interest!
Living: Stevie Nicks, Anjelica Huston, Laurie Cabot, Brooke Candy, Lydia Lunch, Madonna from the 80’s and 90’s, Jinx Dawson, Phoebe from Charmed (played by Alyssa Milano) and Kristen Sollee. ;-)
Deceased: Endora from Bewitched (played by Agnes Moorehead), Josephine Baker, Bettie Page, Eartha Kitt and Sridevi.
You’re a femmepreneur in the truest sense, and have created multiple businesses from the ground up. How the hell do you have enough time to do it all?
I don’t know, to be quite honest. I am driven by passion and many times I neglect other areas of my life that need tending. For example, the time I use towards jewelry making and maintaining my skin care business was the time I used to go to the gym and do yoga religiously. I made sacrifices in order to make my dream a reality. I am horrible with time management but I intend to fix that this year. I cannot live without crafting. That’s when you know you’re a true artist.
10% of the sales from each Bewitched Boneyard purchase go to INCITE. Can you speak a little bit about why you chose this organization and how your art and politics are entwined?
I chose INCITE because it is operated by women of color for women of color that are victims of violent acts and prejudice. Not only does INCITE fight for women, but their inclusiveness is what struck me the most. They protect and defend the rights of trans women and those that identify as non-binary, which in today’s day in age is truly significant. Being a woman of color myself, I have had my fair share of violent acts against me and I know exactly how it feels to be shamed, hurt, ridiculed, cast out and disrespected, so this organization stood out the most to me. Because most of my customers are women and most of them don’t conform to societal norms, I believe Bewitched Boneyard gives power and strength to them. This is why I wanted to donate to an organization that is primarily my customer base. I calculate my sales for the year and donate 10% of it to them every tax season in hope for a better future for women of color, and trans and non-binary people of color.
What’s next for Bewitched Boneyard?
Since January, I have been experimenting with a new line of witchy apothecary items such as a love attraction potion mist and a protection spell candle kit amongst other things. These and dark household wares such as jewelry dishes will be available as of April 15th of this year. Aside from these new items, I will be appearing at several markets vending my goods and working on secret collaborations with other witchy women. One being the limited edition Slutist pendant that is available starting this week! I don’t want to unveil too much too soon, but I am just giving you crumbs of what is going on in the BB world. Trust me, you will love it!
Photo Credits: Nicolas Bruno