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Creation Without Destruction in the New Land of Milk and Honey

Apr 26, 2010

by Alison Feldmann handmade and vintage goods


I first came across the wondrous New Land of Milk and Honey collective while drooling over Annie Lee Larson’s too-good-to-be-true patterned knits. The Cosby-esque clothing reeled me in, for sure, but Annie’s cooperative artistic mission with the New Land of Milk and Honey group captivated me. I knew I had to learn more about their vision (potlucks and jam sessions and happiness and the aforementioned knits!) and communal lifestyle. Here’s Annie and Brett.


What is the New Land of Milk and Honey?

It is you, and us, and our friends! We are all together! We are one! We are united in our creative energy through independent practice and collaboration endeavors, in fantasy and real life.

Our mission is to create out of happiness, to create on a personal scale, and to help each other be autonomous through creation. It is this goal, shared, that allows us to abandon our jobs to support ourselves through our imaginations and talent. It is an ideal we frame as Creation Without Destruction. In the NLMH, to be a “self-sustaining craftsperson” means that each individual has a continuous source of motivation, to sustain the joy of living and working. Motivation flows from friends, our source of inspiration. This is achieved through being together in our minds, sharing a common love, and nurturing critique and conversation. This way of life is not protected from the everyday responsibilities of paying bills and getting by. We are not a business, or an institution, but an assembly of individuals devoted to sharing skills (craft).

Our collective mindset blossomed from communal workspaces and living arrangements. In creating art and craft in close proximity we watched each other generate ideas and objects. We found ourselves deeply engaged in each other’s creative processes, helping to inspire ideas through conversation and shape projects through critique. These conversations have crystallized into a community ideology that venerates individuality and collective expression. Imagination realized in creation is MAGICK! We are each teachers, and we are each willing students. We have named ourselves the New Land of Milk and Honey in mind of the Midwestern hippies before us, NLMH_ADD_feast.jpgexploring a utopic and autonomous rural mindspace. There is a long history of communal, spiritual, and creative collectives in America and the NLMH works for similar ideals without being hampered by nostalgia. We embrace innovation. We embrace technology, realizing that it provides potent tools for autonomy. The communication power of the Internet allows us to remain decentralized and independent while still connecting our products, art, and ideas to a global audience.

The NLMH has hosted several events in the past year to promote our ideology of skill-sharing, unity, peace, and love. As winter set in upon us, we greeted our season of introspection with a bountiful Harvest Feast. All in attendance brought a dish to share, highlighting individual culinary specialties. Song and dance preceded dinner in the crisp autumn sun, and the community meal was celebrated through various rituals, group harmonics, and a passionate toast by our master of ceremonies. “Raise high your drinks! Yes, the answer is you!“

In early 2010, the NLMH hosted a second event, The Ritual of the Metamorphosis of Solids, at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, MN. This audio-visual event-horizon was a multi-faceted culmination of many crafts combined. Countless contributions were made through video, body movement, photography, construction, knitting, grammar, art, New Gyroscopics, song, tamales, graphics, speech, and more. We welcomed over 500 community members to participate in The Ritual of the Metamorphosis of Solids. The primary facilitators of this event were Adrian Freeman, Ann Marie De Lathouder Freeman, Brett Smith, Erin Smith, and Annie Larson.


The NLMH Bazaar, held only a few weeks ago, was an all day and evening event designed to engage all five senses through activities in the Zen Center, Activity Center, Creation Center, Inspiration Center, and Exploration Center. Open to all community members, over 400 people joined us throughout the day to participate in various activities hosted by stewards of the NLMH. Some of the programmed activities included: community quilt, group yoga, miscellaneous body movement, tarot, community flavors pot-luck dinner, tie-dyeing, trance tents, weaving, knitting, and so on. The evening concluded with a grand celebration in music, animation, performance, dancing, and skateboarding.


The culmination of these events has gathered together the talents of our friends and community; it has exposed our ideal of creation and promoted of the importance of ideas and energy. On the surface, the New Land of Milk and Honey is a collaborative art project, but in our hearts it’s as real as we have made it. All praise, we encourage all fellow soul-soldiers to taste the richness of the collective experience. Create, and help each other create!

Learn more about the New Land of Milk and Honey through member websites and blogs:

 Brett and Erin Smith (Installation, Object), Annie Larson (Knitted Wears), Adrian Freeman (Video Art), Eric Carlson (Agitprop, Harmonics), Annika Kaplan (Weaving, Essential Oils, Jewelry), Baby Skateboards (Skateboards), Aby Wolf (Harmonics), Aaron Anderson (Mixed Tapes, Harmonics, Croix Clayton (The Voice), Crystal Quinn, Soothing Almonds Collective (Harmonics, and More!), Skoal Kodiak (Harmonics), Moonstone (Harmonics), Hooliganship (Harmonics, Animation, Performance), Soap Factory (Gallery)

Or write to them to receive more information about the organization:

New Land News
P.O. Box 3754
Minneapolis, MN 55403


NLMH in the News From the Craft + Style Blogosphere | This Handmade Life

MOTHER'S DAY SALE sprout anatomy brooch
MOTHER'S DAY SALE sprout anatomy brooch
White Sage Smudge Wand . For Cleansing and Clearing the Home of Negativity, Spiritual Cleansing, Banishing, Protection,
White Sage Smudge Wand . For Cleansing and Clearing the Home of Negativity, Spiritual Cleansing, Banishing, Protection,
Marblewood Pocket Wizard or Witch Wand Just for Fun
Marblewood Pocket Wizard or Witch Wand Just for Fun
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Mystical Mushroom Fairy Maypole, OOAK 1-12 scale Fantasy Miniature
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Deep Black- An intense soap experience
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Premium Lavender - Smells AMAZING - 3x4 bag


  • Ebruk

    Ebruk said 6 years ago

    Interesting article, thank you

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 6 years ago

    Yay create!! Great article!!

  • simplyworn

    simplyworn said 6 years ago

    what a cool read... love the energy and creative presence each of the group members brings to the collective. thanks alison

  • DeweyDecimalCrafts

    DeweyDecimalCrafts said 6 years ago

    Love the colors and patterns of the images

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article. It's great that they focus on being motivational and inspirational to one an other.

  • matouenpeluche

    matouenpeluche said 6 years ago

    Inspirational! I adore all those striped knitted jumpers and shorts they are wearing in the photos too!

  • SuppliesbyAyca

    SuppliesbyAyca said 6 years ago

    So cool! Great article!

  • WonderTurtleSoaps

    WonderTurtleSoaps said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the great article! Very cool and inspiring!

  • bedbuggs

    bedbuggs said 6 years ago

    Great Article! =)

  • silkstory

    silkstory said 6 years ago

    Fantastic comunity, it is the way how young people should live in peace. I hope it will grow in big comunity. Respect to these people! Thank you for sharing this Alison!

  • mshoney42

    mshoney42 said 6 years ago

    hey where did the custom page go? I loved reading what other people wanted us here on Etsy to make for them?

  • BetaBoutique

    BetaBoutique said 6 years ago

    oh, how nice is that!

  • awkward

    awkward said 6 years ago

    Neat article! :)

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 6 years ago


  • pinguim

    pinguim said 6 years ago

    Alison come over

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    Nice as it undoubtedly is to see a few pagan inspired picks, especially in the run up to Beltane, I fail to see how they're relevant to the article. There's no mention of this group being pagans, let alone witches, & I'd hate to see my religion causing offence by being highlighted next to anyone who doesn't share it.

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey said 6 years ago

    Interesting article. Great images to go along too

  • rarebeasts

    rarebeasts said 6 years ago

    This is such a cool idea, we need it everywhere.

  • PenFelt

    PenFelt said 6 years ago

    I'm so glad you featured Annie Larson---I have been coveting her knits for a long time. And her blog is great! Yay for Cosby sweaters.

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

    i thought they were making friendshio bracelets.... my new obsession. but dream catchers are way cooler!

  • elemegibere

    elemegibere said 6 years ago

    Wonderful! Thank you

  • MinceCo

    MinceCo said 6 years ago

    your mission sounds wonderful. nice work

  • handmadepretties

    handmadepretties said 6 years ago

    I think I'd live anywhere that people wear so many rainbow patterns.

  • tomatored

    tomatored said 6 years ago

    good stuff-thanks

  • MyWagonette

    MyWagonette said 6 years ago

    i'm crushing!

  • VintageScriptPress

    VintageScriptPress said 6 years ago

    Super article great stuff

  • CositasSeriasVintage

    CositasSeriasVintage said 6 years ago

    Amazing! Wonderful article!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    communal living is the return to the 60s-70s era. Great way to go!

  • thequirkycat

    thequirkycat said 6 years ago

    Wow! Pretty neat to see all that's behind those colorful sweaters. Thank you for embracing life and your fellow person!

  • VelveteenHabbit

    VelveteenHabbit said 6 years ago


  • bayousalvage

    bayousalvage said 6 years ago

    this is so freaking cool it simultaneously blows my mind and floats right over my head

  • blueflowervintage

    blueflowervintage said 6 years ago

    love those knits and the related items

  • SewnNatural

    SewnNatural said 6 years ago

    your collective soul-enriching, supportive and inspiring experiences sound really neat. love the idea of a day to work on waking up all of our 5 senses - we ignore so many on a regular basis. thanks for this great article!

  • thenewblackmarket

    thenewblackmarket said 6 years ago

    the pictures are beautiful, fantastic story!!

  • hankietankie

    hankietankie said 6 years ago

    WOW! Thanks for making my day!!! So thrilled to know these super groovy people exist! I am a fan!!! Wonderful photos make me feel like i'm in some existential Swedish love movie...XOXOXXO

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 6 years ago

    Brings me back to my youth! Fun piece...

  • RetroLane

    RetroLane said 6 years ago

    Interesting article!

  • RetroLane

    RetroLane said 6 years ago

    interesting article!

  • KatsKube

    KatsKube said 6 years ago

    i didn't think people lived like that anymore. liked the colors and crafts.

  • rainpeople

    rainpeople said 6 years ago

    ...hooray for such lovelies!!! thanks for making the world a caring, hopefull, colorful & happy place!!! XOXO

  • YouAreYou

    YouAreYou said 6 years ago

    Somebody set up some etsy shops for those crafty hippies! I want some cosby leggings

  • ancientfuture

    ancientfuture said 6 years ago

    i want to go to there

  • styleforlife

    styleforlife said 6 years ago

    Such a great article. thanks for sharing! XO Emily

  • Mireloom

    Mireloom said 6 years ago

    I love this story and the ideas inside!

  • martice

    martice said 6 years ago

    :) love it :)

  • SixSkeins

    SixSkeins said 6 years ago

    groovy baby!

  • lolaAlexander

    lolaAlexander said 6 years ago

    Like it a lot

  • Metamorphosi

    Metamorphosi said 6 years ago

    I wish I was there with them and have a very happy creative happening!Thank you Etsy for sharing!

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the great article! Very cool and inspiring! Fantastic community , yay !

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Cool article, I've been thinking about joining a real world craft team outside of etsy to meet new people and gain the support of others.

  • breadandroses

    breadandroses said 6 years ago

    Love the brightly patterned knitwear! Reminds me of sweaters I knit for my kids when they were wee ones (and have kept as heirlooms). When creativity & focused work meld, it doesn't feel like work.

  • OhMafelt

    OhMafelt said 6 years ago

    fun ideas for building community....inspiring story

  • Aught

    Aught said 6 years ago

    Great read!

  • sacredsuds

    sacredsuds said 6 years ago

    Oh wow, these guys are near me! I wish I wouldn't have missed their bazaar :-( Great post - thanks for spotlighting this group :-)

  • grandmamarievintage

    grandmamarievintage said 6 years ago

    Great article! Collectives are so amazing and I absolutely love the knitwear!

  • sculptedlight

    sculptedlight said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the article. Wonder if there is something like this in my community...

  • VirtuoSew

    VirtuoSew said 6 years ago

    Very interesting! Thanks-

  • sockmonster

    sockmonster said 6 years ago

    This is to cool I want to start something like this ware I live!

  • thestapeliacompany

    thestapeliacompany said 6 years ago

    I love all those bright colors!

  • genisepark

    genisepark said 6 years ago

    Really cool.

  • POUTfits

    POUTfits said 6 years ago


  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 6 years ago

    really cool stuff~

  • StarRedesigns

    StarRedesigns said 6 years ago

    Very interesting!

  • boutiqueseragun

    boutiqueseragun said 6 years ago

    interesting, thanks

  • hungryknife

    hungryknife said 6 years ago

    Collective living is so rewarding. It has enabled us to step out of the cube and get back to making art!

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 6 years ago

    wonderful concept

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 6 years ago

    though i was just a wee thing in the 70's this article reminds me of that time, especially the last two pictures. and that is a good thing.

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 6 years ago

    What an amazing group!

  • metroretrovintage

    metroretrovintage said 6 years ago

    So inspiring -- thank you for sharing this wonderful collective! Sure wish I was at that Harvest Feast as well, lol!

  • VintageTribe

    VintageTribe said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 6 years ago


  • vantiani

    vantiani said 6 years ago

    whoa! what an inspiring idea! thanks much for sharing, alison!

  • harvestmoonbyhand

    harvestmoonbyhand said 6 years ago

    Enjoyed reading about all the interesting activities. It was an inspiring article to read!

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