Holy Sponge! is a queer femme-run (that's Janeen below) business based at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on occupied Nisenan land. We offer environmentally- friendly alternatives to commercial disposables.
Janeen discovered sea sponges back in 2011 when she was in the deep throes of her Saturn Return. At the time, she didn’t know what a Saturn Return was- She simply thought she was having an early mid-life crisis. Around age 28, she began to shed the religious structure of evangelical Christianity, heteronormativity, her marriage, and the expectations put upon her to take care of others at the expense of herSelf.
During this process, she became intuitively more drawn to earth-based practices. She quit her job as a therapist and set out for California, where her purple haired aunt lived. On her way there, she became more and more disgusted with tampons, didn’t want to use the cup because it is synthetic, and couldn’t afford organic tampons. She picked up Inga Muscio’s book, Cunt, while staying on 1,000 wild acres in New Mexico, and learned about sea sponges. They come from the ocean, have a hxrstory of being used medicinally-containing compounds being used to cure the very cancers that dioxins (found in tampons) cause, AND they are compostable.
Intrigued, Janeen tried them for her next cycle and fell into a kind of ongoing trance and fascination with the beautiful, holy sponge. There is no other blood collector that shapes to the interior landscapes of the body. And that was a metaphor for how so many people socialized as females and femmes adapt to what is there- even hard, rigid, toxic cotton wads in our most tender areas. The experience of a piece of nature shaping to move with one’s curves and unique shaping was a breakthrough in many ways!
Bridging Janeen’s history within patriarchal religious structures (which often shamed and reduced womxn) and the power of the ocean and sea sponge, she felt that the sacred and playful naming of this adventure- “Holy Sponge!” was the perfect way to take back power and connection to the earth for people who bleed. Since discovering sponges, this work has expanded to offering a wide array of kitchen, bath, and body reusables. Our goal is to care for bodies and care for the earth at the same time, reducing single-use, landfill-bound trash.