An artist, musician, and carpenter, Jean-Baptiste Christopher Matthew Stowell was born in a cabin in the woods in Albermarle County, VA. Growing up in Brooklyn and Queens, in New York City, he began his musical career jangling out tunes on sidewalks and in the back rooms of bars. Later, wanting to escape the daily grind of the city, he moved back to the mountains of Virginia. Soon after he met his future wife in Richmond, and has been there ever since, working towards their mutual goals of a simple, hard-working, and sustainable life.
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Griffyn McKenzie was born in Richmond, VA and has lived in several community households and homesteads. He loved raising chickens and ducks, and helps his mommy in their home gardens. He loves making art and music with his family, and going on adventures.
We are a group of individuals brought together through our mutual passion for a more direct, honest and fulfilling way of life. This is based on a core of community values, voluntary collective interactions, and a reliance on and respect for sustainable agricultural knowledge and practices. Between us we share a broad range of life experiences, skills, passions, and practical knowledge that when brought together encompass the ability to make such a dream possible. We believe that with hard work, accountability, and a great deal of creativity, a community can be built that fosters a strong sense of family and tribe while still granting each individual their personal freedoms.
The rough idea is to obtain a large tract of land, comprised of pastures and forest, at least one reliable water source, and as many various housing structures and outbuildings as possible. Once accomplished, this will be built up into a small neighborhood of sorts, wherein individuals and families can be responsible for modifying and maintaining their own living spaces, based on their own comfort needs and requirements. This can range from single-family homes to communal shared housing, tiny houses, shipping containers, and everything in between. There will be larger communal spaces such as a schoolhouse, workshops, a certified kitchen, and gathering hall. The collective will be supported by expansive gardens ( culinary and medicinal ), orchards, greenhouses, apiaries, and by the keeping of farm animals such as chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, alpacas, and more. The collective will further be supported by networking with our larger community to host workshops, rent studio spaces, and through the sale of agricultural and handmade goods.
While there is still much work to be done on the exact mapping of the community guidelines that will make it all flow, the concept is that each individual will bring to the collective that which is most useful to the whole and brings them the most personal satisfaction. It takes all kinds to make this work, and there is a place for everyone to fit in. It could be a green thumb, a knack for handling bees, the skill set to teach our children or give aid to the elderly, or even maintaining an outside job to help pay the bills, everyone has something to offer. We feel it is vital to return to a system that includes all ages, genders, and ability levels in a way that is productive and satisfying for everyone. We believe that through a voluntary exchange of products, time, and talents within the collective a balance can be found and maintained that will bring the most joy to all.
So just what is The Clockworks Collective, anyhow?
“Take now the clockworks... The clockworks, being genuine and not much to look at, don't generate the drama of an Earth-tilt or a flying saucer, nor do they seem to offer any immediate panacea for humanity's fifty-seven varieties of heartburn. But suppose that you're one of those persons who feels trapped, to some degree, trapped matrimonially, occupationally, eductionally or geographically, or trapped in something larger than all those; trapped in a system, or what you might descrbie as an "incresingly deadening technocracy" or a "theater of paranoia and desperation" or something like that. Now, if you are one of those persons... wouldn't the very knowledge that there are clockworks ticking away behind the wallpaper of civilization, unbeknownst to leaders, organizers and managers (the President included), wouldn't that knowledge, suggesting as it does the possibility of unimaginable alternatives, wouldn't that knowledge be a bubble bath for your heart?” ~ Tom Robbins
Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Courtney Elizabeth is an artist, photographer, seamstress, sideshow and burlesque performer, as well as a full-time mother, homemaker, and homeschool teacher. She has lived on a number of homesteads, and studies traditional wisdom and lore. She lives with her husband, Jean-Baptiste, and their son, Griffyn, studying and striving to obtain goals of self-sufficiency, honest and hard work for her family, and creative expression of all sorts.