Unless you’ve somehow missed the influx of IG posts involving heavily decorated fir trees, the cloying scent of pumpkin spiced lattes in the air (#redcup!!!), or the fact Mariah Carey has been declaring you as the only thing she wants for Christmas for approx. six weeks now, you’re probably fully aware the festive season is well and truly upon us.
Artist and fashion designer Claire Barrow is thinking beyond December 31, though, and looking well into the new year with her latest project. Teaming up with four other female creatives (photographer Eloise Parry, Paris-based designer PZ Opassuksatit, hair stylist Kiyoko Odo, and make-up artist Anne Sophie Costa) Barrow presents 2019 The Year of the Pig – a handy Zodiac calendar ideal for the astrology-obsessed person in your life. Or not, as the case may be.
“I’m totally sceptical of all that stuff to be honest – I guess it could be true, but also it totally might not be,” says Barrow of astrology. “All this stuff: what’s your birthstone for this horoscope or that horoscope – like, who made that up?! Or when people use their star sign to explain away bad behaviour, like ‘oh, I’m such a Capricorn’ or whatever. It’s fascinating. The calendar is very tongue-in-cheek. It’s not saying this stuff isn’t real, but it’s also questioning it.”
The calendar itself features a unique cast of models wearing jewellery that represents each month’s sign, including huge red claw-like earrings (Scorpio), a soft, shearling-esque helmet (Aries), and a dramatic gold metal headpiece (Sagittarius), which Barrow made using her signature polymer clay, velvet, faux fur, and crystals. “It was so nice working on the jewellery,” she explains. “Usually I don’t get to do so much art, my life is just admin and sorting myself out most of the time. But with this, I managed to dedicate a big chunk of time to it. I was so into it I wasn’t sleeping or anything, I was just cracking on and cracking on.”
Featured on the calendar are handwritten notes detailing that all-important life stuff, like who your ideal love match could be, your lucky numbers and colours, what star sign your perfect boss would be(!), when the full moon falls, and, of course, when Mercury goes Retrograde.
“I love how big a thing stuff like that’s become,” says Barrow. “I spend a lot of time in LA and as soon as you meet someone it’s like ‘OMG what’s your sign?!’ People are searching for something more than what there actually is, aren’t they? We live a very surface existence right now, always on our phones, slaves to our capitalist overlords. I guess it’s nice, being able to blame your misfortune on the stars. I was brought up religious, so I kind of understand how that feels. It all changed when I discovered punk at 16, though, and was just like ‘fuck this!’”
So, now Barrow and the Year of the Pig team have bestowed the ideal gift for the astrologically-conscious person in your life upon the world, what’s on her own list this Christmas? “I’ve asked my grandma for a Brita filter because I’m paranoid about what’s coming out of the taps now. All this stuff on the news about how it’s dangerous, and the fluoride conspiracy and everything,” she laughs, tongue firmly in cheek. “The other day, my dentist gave me toothpaste with a higher fluoride content in it which he wants me to use. He’s obviously in on it as well.” Could next year’s calendar be a month-by-month guide to conspiracy theories? Watch this space.