Reads: Moon Lists by Leigh Patterson

At Glasshouse we love discovering innovative, likeminded brands and projects from across the globe. US based Moon Lists is one such brand that instantly caught our attention with its unique concept. Originally a newsletter series, the Moon Lists brings together strangers from across the globe each sharing a response to a series of personal questions and prompts. Having been subscribed to the newsletters for a while, we were delighted when we heard that founder Leigh Patterson was taking the concept one step further and turning it into a physical workbook.

Full time, Leigh Patterson runs Lucca Studio, a creative branding studio focusing on words, images and ideas for clients such as Cereal, COS and J. Hannah Jewellery. The Moon Lists are a side project for Leigh, a true passion project for which she exerts the same care and dedication that she puts into her clients’ work. The new book combines seamless design by Natasha Mead and meaningful content designed to guide readers through the practice of making a ‘moon list’ and experiencing life in a new way.

We asked Leigh some questions about the project and the book to find out a little more about the purpose of a moon list and how it can be a tool for self-care.

Images: Cydney Cosette
Images: Cydney Cosette

Can you tell us the story of how Moon Lists came to be?

It initially started from reading an interview with photographer Sam Abell, a former National Geographic photographer with a 35-year career who now lives in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. In the interview, he mentioned a personal project called The Moon List. In his words: “Every full moon, my wife and I construct something we call the Moon List — about 25 questions that have evolved over 10 years or so to reconstruct the past 30 days since the last full moon.” I wrote to Abell, requesting to see the other questions on his list…and for permission to recreate his idea through the perspectives of different contributors. Originally this existed solely as an interview series, where I would ask different women to respond to prompts based on their last month. More recently this has evolved into a workbook that more broadly explores rituals that can allow for a life experienced more deeply, using deceivingly simple prompts, list-making exercises, and sensorial inventories to invoke conversations, connection, and personal awareness.

Each Moon List question is designed to prompt reflection. Why do you think it is important to consider the past rather than always looking to the future?

I don’t encourage dwelling too long in either of those places! All of life is the present; I consider The Moon Lists to be a useful tool for gaining perspective and allowing you to see what’s in front of you with clearer eyes (along with many other practices; this just happens to be the one that works for me).

In an increasingly digital world, do you feel that there is something significant about physically writing things down on paper?

Maybe. One of my first jobs was working for an archivist where I’d spend hours buried in literary works where you felt the power of the what it means for something to be “made by hand”; the presence of the creator was palpable. This cosiness is less palpable via screen! That said, I’m no Luddite. Do what works for you!

Image: Cydney Cosette
Image: Cydney Cosette

Moon Lists has a continuing theme of ‘circle’ imagery. What is the reason for this?

Circles are symbols of wholeness, no start and no finish, the unknowable origin of time. The eternal. Source of life, destination of uncertainty. They signal repetition, movement within constancy, gateway, the centre of focus. A signifier of equality, equidistance. Oneness.

As the Moon Lists is not your full-time role, how do you balance regular life with this project?

This project is very much a side gig that — like anyone’s passion project — often gets slotted into late night weekend work sessions or bookended into whenever I have random pockets of spare time. I find I work on Moon Lists a lot on planes?!

I think its ethos (cultivating a regular practice of noticing the present) is intrinsically in opposition to working on it for the sake of busyness or “progress” or status. I am not great at balance in many ways but I think I am good at maintaining a healthy enough distance from this specific project… I do not feel any pressure to make it something it is not.

Images: Cydney Cosette
Images: Cydney Cosette

What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care is the ability to detach from my autopilot mode and production-driven monkey mind: maybe that comes through in a walk or a bath or a nice tea moment. Maybe it comes through in spending time with my friends or supporting my community in other ways. The deepest care I give myself is something that ultimately does not end in selfish progress but supports growth in levels that go beyond my life and narrow experience.

Do you believe that “The unexamined life is not worth living.”?

It’s certainly easier to not examine. But I think if we have a responsibility to do anything it’s to not keep our heads in the sand.

You can visit the Moon Lists website and subscribe to the monthly newsletter here or purchase the Moon Lists book for yourself here.

All images photographed by Cydney Cosette Holm for Moon Lists.

Words: Phoebe Grace Ede

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