Founded in 1991 as an underground Neo-Pagan newsletter, evolving into an arts and crafts wandering business, “Tree Leaves” eventually mutated into a cooperative / collective of folk enthusiasts, folklorists, artists, musicians, religionists, and culturalists who seek to preserve folk and tree lore, culture, ways, religion, art, music, and beliefs. As a cooperative, members network together, share ideas, theories, concepts, art, techniques, and lore to help one another preserve traditions, knowledge, and beliefs that have been generated in the past, present, and future. Tree Leaves sprouted from an entity known as “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle”. (The Tree Leaves’ Oracle started as a community newsletter and grew into a journal. It became an organization, a store, a company, and was reduced back to a journal offered by the Folk Fellowship to it’s membership. From 2007-2008 it became a faerie and art store in historic Manitou Springs, Colorado.)
When “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle” started out as a Tallahassee Florida publication in 1991 it very quickly shifted into a nomadic arts/crafts/oils/ and herbal sachets nomadic peddling business founded at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon that same year. In 1993 a not-for-profit special-interest group was formed for the study of folklore and the offering of folk artist networking as a avenue for drum circles, talent shows, classes, and discussion groups. This special-interest group became known as “The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship”. Tree Leaves soon took off on it’s own and escaped the financial support of “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle”. In fact, as the “The Tree Leaves Oracle, Inc.” collapsed as a corporation, the Folk Fellowship was still holding activities and networking several hundred enthusiasts of folk culture (and a membership base of a couple hundred). The Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship was officially born and founded as a separate entity in November of 1995 with conceptual activities sprouting in 1994. Through membership dues and support, the fellowship offered it’s collective a bi-annual journal called The “Tree Leaves’ Oracle”, a quarterly newsletter known as “Tree Talk”, an annual membership directory, a web site, and a board of Directors and volunteers who actively organized activities, events, and question/answer support for those seeking answers about folk culture. Because of difficulties with volunteer support, The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship closed it’s person-to-person activities and community support on September 1st of 1998. By October 1, 1998 Tree Leaves had mutated into a internet organization that operated on a strictly cyber-basis. (although Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship forest groups still held activities in their local areas) The official organization stopped holding events, printing paper publications, and no longer offered telephone or person-to-person guidance & support. After careful consideration of the expenses involved in becoming a non-profit tax-exempt organization, Tree Leaves decided to remain not-for-profit and allow other organizations to donate support and funding for it’s operation and existence. The journal, website and former newsletters were shortly made available for free online. Their folk journal is sporadically still published online for free viewing by anyone with internet access. From 1998 to 2000, Tree Leaves was adopted by the research and design firm known as “Leafworks, Inc.” (a company now defunct). From the death of Leafworks, Tree Leaves operated under the wings of Wandering Leaf Designs. Reproduction of all cyber published materials was available for a nominal printing or reproduction cost through copyright held by Wandering Leaf, LLC. (now defunct)
By October of 2000 Tree Leaves was shaken by the dissolution of the two volunteer Directors, Tom and Hena, who ended their relationship in divorce effectively in June of 2001. Tom had started to revitalize the organization and began the process of relocating the organization back to it’s original soil in the Pacific Northwest. By October of 2001, Tree Leaves’ had been relocated to the Pacific Northwest. It’s headquarters bounced around from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Point Roberts, Washington; Salem, Oregon; and Eugene, Oregon. The Council of Lore at the time chose Point Roberts, Washington as its main headquarters. By May 2002, Tree Leaves’ fell back into becoming a virtual organization with headquarters in Point Roberts, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia taking on a nomadic gypsy-like existence. The virtual organization had revitalized its folk art collection and was once again offering subscription/memberships. It was also in this year that Tree Leaves’ started hosting the Faied Fellowship, a special interest group around Faeries. From June to October of 2002, the Tree Leaves’ Oracle / Fellowship / and Faeid Fellowship went nomadic, travelling from Vancouver, B.C. to the Pagan Spirit Gathering (Ohio); National Rainbow Gathering (Michigan); Blue Heron Music Festival (NY); Ragnarok Tolkien Re-enactment Festival (Ohio); Sirius Rising and Starwood (NY); Dragon Dance (Missouri); Venice Beach (California); Los Angeles (California); and re-planted itself in the sunny palms of Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, Tree Leaves relocated to Seattle, Washington. By October of 2004, Leaf McGowan spearheaded a project to resurrect Tree Leaves through a Witches Faerie Ball Fundraiser held in old Seattle and set up shop in the Hanta House Artist Collective in Gastown. While financially did not make any profit, the Ball demonstrated that there was still an interest in the need for the organization. By March of 2005, Leaf McGowan proposed bringing back the Tree Leaves’ Oracle folk journal and potentially holding member meetings, classes, and activities in the Seattle region. The new evolution of Tree Leaves’ offered a discussion list on folk culture at yahoogroups (email@example.com), A Livejournal Community, and a new web site at treeleavesoracle.com (now defunct). These online groups allowed members to meet other members, find out about events, activities, news, items of interest, share music, files, chat, and many other activities. By 2007, the arts and crafts business was resurrected as the Tree Leaves’ Oracle and the Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship headquartered as a storefront located in an old historic funeral home/recording studio converted into a folk shop nestled in the heart of historic artsy Manitou Springs, Colorado (124 Ruxton Avenue – now closed). Here, the Tree Leaves’ Oracle and Folk Fellowship hosted classes, workshops, movie nights, events, potlucks, and created an outlet for local artists and folklore enthusiasts until 2008. Due to lack of sales and pre-occupation with archaeological work for the government, the owner no longer had time to operate the shop. After closing its doors, Tree Leaves returned to being a sporadic nomadic arts and crafts business that would travel around to various festivals in the nation as well as sponsoring Zombie crawls in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. As Tree Leaves enters 2011, it has plans to re-start events, activities, and bring back to life its publication and arts. In addition since 2004, Tree Leaves has sporadically set up a Bodypainting Art Station at Burning Man.
For 2011, Tree Leaves went global – exploring events throughout the world, as well as setting up a theme camp station with it’s Folk Fellowship tent renamed as “Camp Tir Na Nog” as a bodypainting station, and a location for the Irish CORE Effigy camp; and vended at the Faerieworlds Harvest 2011 Celebration in Eugene, Oregon. Tree Leaves’ is now exploring Ireland and the mythology the magical isles hold …
As of November 2, 2011 – Tree Leaves’ is 20 years old!!! Happy Birthday!!!