It was not that long ago, in fact late 2022. We were talking through what Tribe of mog was and what is it now, how does it fit into our lives? All these questions we contemplated over and over often getting stuck in various ruts and circles looking for practical answers, non of which satisfied or fitted into our current situation.
Tribe of mog was set up 18 years ago. A collaboration between like minded artists who live low impact life styles. Over the years we have created areas at events and festivals with side shows of story telling, walkabout performance art, nature spaces to chill in, cinema tents, labyrinths and stalls/set-ups to exhibit and sell art created by talented artists using natural materials ethically sourced or traded.
The last 5-6 years the Tribe dwindled to the first and last of the Moggites Jack Tree and Sadie Shrub juggling all these many hats at once. Over the last 3 years we survived the unlawful and unconstitutional slaying of the self employed small businesses by the criminal cabal (acting ultra vires calling itself central government) despite refusing their tacit consenting handouts from the ‘magic money tree’ granted by their puppet masters.
These last few years many good trading folk in a similar position would understand how brutally difficult it has been to earn a living…But we survived by our wits and skills.
Returning ourselves to the question of what is Tribe of mog, we knew with our choice of lifestyle being off-grid, low-impact, self-determined and self-sufficient was not going to work with this epic hat-juggling act (this is obviously metaphorically speaking to the easily confused, although we can actually juggle also) We meditated, asking the universe for direction.
A sign helping us choose our path.
We got the answer and it was violent!
January 2023 was not a good start to the year or the best of weeks.
I have re-called and re-lived the events that Monday eve every time I close my eyes or stand about without distraction.
I have told this story over and over again to the point it is now after only 8 months becoming just that. A story.
Returning from our ‘Monday mission’ we were the 2nd on the scene. The fire now only 3 workshops away on the other side from ours had got a grip and was spreading fast.
After the first frantic 5 minutes of establishing firstly, have the fire fighting services been called and where was the occupant to one of the other units whose door was open, which was now starting to burn fiercely(Thankfully he was not inside.)
Both Sadie and myself ran to our workshop/studio close by, upon opening the doors the thick black acrid smoke already filling the inside, explosions popping and banging everywhere from the units next door, we dragged out the inflammables stored close to the door. I managed to grab some of my bigger electric tools, my welder, small compressor, drill and grinder.
By now the killer smoke was too bad, the heat of the flames next door being felt, hot water and other debris was falling from the roof onto my head…No time left, looking around not knowing what to grab next I had to say goodbye to it all and ran out.
10 minutes later 2 fire engines(luckily on their way to an exercise close by) arrived. We immediately gave them the details they asked for then moved on to watch in frustration.
Our workshop/studio was is in a very rural place,mobile reception flaky at best (unless you stand with your head facing a certain corner on one leg next to a now burning building)
All the water comes through 3/4 inch blue pipe from the mains a mile away, we have a stream behind which they needed to dam so they could pump water onto the fire.
So for 20 l o n g minutes we watch the fire turn into an inferno with not much direct action in putting it out.
This was the point we realised all was lost.
4 hours, 11 fire engines later with 60-80 fire fighters working in the -7C degree evening/night the fire was under finally under control.
Pretty much forced to watch the destruction of many folks livelihoods including our own to the end because we couldn’t leave. My pick-up truck was blocked the other side of the fire engines, although a safe distance(just!) away with the few electrical items saved in the open back. The truck got drenched with water from the overhead platform hoses which froze instantly trashing the saved tools and encasing it all in a 1 inch thick layer of ice…A truck ice sculpture.
We often talked amongst ourselves that a fire here would be very bad and most of us was vigilant of this fact. For example; Following good working practices, always turning off electric plugs, leaving nothing on when we were not there or having our own fire extinguishers nearby, especially when welding.
Although we have never seen or heard from him since, I have no blame for the tenant whose workshop the fire started in. I can empathise with him right now, I would not want to have that weight on my shoulders.
A lot of us have lost everything here and nearly all had no contents insurance including ourselves(couldn’t get it)
The main point is nobody was physically hurt other than a minor case of ‘smokey’ lung.
What followed was all the stages of PTSD, shock, loss/grief eventually moving on to acceptance.
Tribe of Mog has lost everything and I mean everything.
ALL our kit, this included the festival/market stalls various set-ups indoor and outdoor, backdrops, decors, ALL performance character including ‘dress up’ costumes with there props, 6 pairs of professional stilts, ALL the environmental education tools/equipment and materials.
Collectively both Sadie and myself lost our entire finished art stock, thousands of hours work, ALL the unique natural materials collected over 20+ years from our travels all over the globe, ALL fair traded or personally collected semi-precious stones/crystals(most crumbled to ash) and 95% of our work tools.
Personally I have physically lost not only my victorian taxidermy and my beloved own made ‘crap’ taxidermy collection, an extensive unique Curio-naturalia collection, the ‘dead studies’ collection.
My entire Faetopian cryptozoology collection which is a 30 year collection of creations pulled from my imagination and thousands of work hours later manifested into physical forms, note books with their stories…Now vaporised and sent back to their worlds.
I had over 30+ twisty staff ‘blanks’ waiting to be made into unique bespoke ceremonial staffs, walking sticks or meadow ticklers and many boxes of beautiful wood I have collected from my days has a tree surgeon and woodsman.
So many pieces of work…..
But the deepest cut for me was this workshop/studio was a sanctuary, my place I called sanity…All Cleansed by fire!
We have accepted its all gone. In the end it’s only ’stuff’, attachments holding us back. Change is constant and being able to adapt is what carries us forward and makes us stronger.
Also I am no stranger to loss, had my fare share of that especially over the last few years. Nether is it it the first time I have started from nothing, back to the teenage Jack sleeping rough to the present day.
Its not my first big fire experience either, although it’s a first time for me it claimed everything…I have never lost so much matter that mattered in one hit.
On the bright side this particular violent shipwreck called life now passes and we managed to swim to safety, no hands were lost.
For now at least we still have a warm shelter(Mog), lots of home grown food, a few tools left, a few to salvage/repair and for me more importantly the greatest treasure I value the most still stands by my side, Sadie Shrub.
Although Shrub suffered also, she held it together for us both here. Standing strong holding tight the metaphoric compression bandage stopping all my emotions from bleeding out, holding my head up when I needed it, my shining star, beacon and rock.
We are both survivors and will survive this.
So now we start a new chapter, we still have wits and skill.
The future is uncertain in many ways and change is constant.
Our lovely friends set up a ‘Go fund me’ page to help with the setting up of a new workplace, which is now semi-operational and solar powered.
I’m a daily creator and too long in the tooth to know I will not have all that time again to replace what was physically lost, nevertheless will keep creating art wether anybody likes it or not and am doing so.
Shrub the multi-talented will also not stop her making and weaving ways. She also has a new horizon and path to walk, A hard path she has been treading for 4 years now becoming a qualified Iyengar yoga teacher. (Book your beginners class now, she is good!)
We have plans on a few musical endeavours, also writing, educating more on our low impact lifestyle and experiences.
We’ll probably not be around the national festivals or events, markets and fayres as often as before. It may only be within our local community in-keeping with our lifestyle living closely with the Earth…From the ground we work upwards.
On the back of this epic download We are feeling the love radiating at us, both Sadie Shrub and myself send out our gratitude, heart felt love with lots of hugs to all of you out there who have supported Tribe of mog over the years, we truly, truly value you all, without you we are only singing into our own lunchboxes.
Keep in touch…
The last of the Tribe of Mog are still out there.