Archive of ‘elsewhere’ category

Yarnomancy

Shapeshifter-shawl

Shapeshifter shawl available from Morph Knitwear

Today over at Dirge Magazine I discuss my own personal “yarnomancy”, and the ritual connectedness of crafting by hand with Morph Knitwear’s Angela Thornton.

Bad-Ass Knitting Magic: Angela Thornton of Morph Knitwear

One of my favorite pieces from Morph Knitwear is the huge, open knit Shapeshifter shawl. (And come to think of it, I probably should add that to my winter uniform!) Curious as to how one might style this wooly behemoth?  I’ve a few suggestions for you, below. As always, click on the image to find more details on the items within each ensemble.

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15+ impossible wardrobes dreamed in 2015

I have a weird habit wherein every time I write something, I feel compelled to design an outfit around it. Obviously in the virtual sense – my wallet could not possibly withstand this peculiar compulsion!

Below are 15 (okay, it’s actually probably more like 20-30) ensembles created in 2015, including links back to the articles, essays, or ramblings that inspired their creation. As always, click through the image to find details on the items included.

15 things I did in 2015

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15 things I wrote in 2015

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15 things I liked in 2015

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Merry Hexmas to you!

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The New Faces of Death

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Kintsugi

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Alchemical Catharsis

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Queen of Hearts

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Travel Journals: Portland

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Feral Mysticism

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Terrible, tragic beauty

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but I brought you flowers!

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les neiges d’antan

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Darkly Dreaming

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Krampusnacht 2015

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Perfume of the Dead

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Hag Couture

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Summer scents for those who shun the sun

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wind & stone, fire & bone

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The Scent of Evil

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Vögguvísa, or: There is much that darkness knows

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DARKLY DREAMING: A Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Course Guide.

Trio copy

I recently had the distinct pleasure of writing a course guide for the uninitiated and those new to the splendors of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and their myriad, wonderful fragrances. You can find it over at Haute Macabre.

And because I don’t know how to be brief and possess the uncanny (and not at all annoying!) ability to make a long story even longer, you will find it broken down into three installments, for easier reading:

It gets a little personal, I’m afraid. I find it difficult to separate a beloved thing from the experiences I’ve had while adoring that thing -so there are more than a few anecdotes and opinions. It cannot be helped!

I have loved Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, their people, and their fragrances for a very long time now and I do hope I’ve done them justice with my words.  Let me know what you think! Have I missed anything?  What are your favorites scents and collections?  Favorite BPAL memories over the years?

 

How to wear a haunted castle

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Let’s talk Fall 2015 fashion trends, shall we? Do you really care how to wear this season’s car wash skirt or that godawful psychedelic fringed poncho? Is someone, somewhere, still trying to make those drop-crotch harem pants a thing?

Do you really care about what’s trending sartorially, anyhow? Personally, I feel like none of it is the slightest bit relevant to me or my experience.

You know what is relevant to me and my habits and personality? Dripping stone walls and overgrown graveyards. Trap doors, secret dungeons, and locked tower rooms. Footsteps creaking upon staircases and fingers clutching dusty candelabras. Howlings and shriekings, groanings and gibberings, and the clanking of chains. Drafty turrets, swirling mists, and sudden winds.

Do you follow me?

Haunted castles, my friend.  Haunted castles are a vital part of my Fall/Winter 2015 fashion scene.

I have put together three full ensembles (with accessories!) in which you can cloak yourself  as you traverse ghostly passageways alongside insubstantial spectres and white-haired women turned lunatic and raving.

You prefer haunts crawling with vampires and bloodhounds and vanished corpses, you say? Worry not, we’ve got you covered there, as well. From creepy keeps to cursed citadels, your haunted castle wardrobe needs are well-met with frocks from ghoulish  designers and macabre baubles to match.

Inveraray Castle

How to wear a haunted castle (4)Sarmi vintage dress $680 // For Love & Lemons bralette $122 & panties $38 // Bloodmilk mini lorraine cross earrings $210 // Macabre Gadgets Arche ring $600 // Julia Deville death & lilies ring $9800 // Rituel de Fille lipstick, “cipher” $23 // Diptique Oud Palao perfume $75 // Bernard Delettrez spider clutch $1960 // Jeffrey Campbell Psyche booties $189.95

Oravský Zámok (Orava Castle)

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Erdem Finola gown $1931 // La Perla slip $668 // Alexander McQueen clutch $4595 // Gianni Barbato boots // Diamond Tooth Taxidermy hat // Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents & nail lacquer $10-$23 // Corvus + Crux Skeleton Key necklace $65 // Antique jet mourning fob $140 // Antique vulcanite hair comb

Neuschwanstein Castle

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Arletta dress $175 // Fleur of England bra $118 & thong $126 // Valentino Cuff Bracelet & Ring Set $745 // Patricia Nicholas spiderbat earrings 97€ // Maison Michel Flower Veil Mask // Kathula blackened ring $100 // Diane Von Furstenberg clutch $368 // Kat Von D Everlasting liquid lipstick, “witches” // Chloe lace up boots $1,175 // Alexander McQueen ring $345 // DSH Perfume Paradise Lost $98

Bill Crisafi: artist, dreamer, feral mystic

Crisafi

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Crisafi;in addition being a marvelous, magical artist, he is one of the nicest humans I have ever had the opportunity to chat with. Thanks so much, Bill! This interview was originally published at Dirge Magazine.

An artist’s ability to not only move with ease between mediums, but to transcend them, is a rare talent. Illustrator, photographer, and sculptor Bill Crisafi is adept in this regard. In summoning his uncanny inner narrative and powerful visions, Crisafi draws inspiration from nature, feminine strength and energies, and the, “remaining echoes of the Victorian era that haunt the landscape” of his native New England.

He shares this otherworldly imagery with the viewer through a variety of lenses, both literal and figurative. Feral witches and their familiars frolic, mystical woodland rituals are illumined, and the deeply dreaming, fog-shrouded forest holds sway over all in his starkly surreal, whimsical illustrations and eerie woodland photography. These themes can also be found in the earthy mysticism of the jewelry he creates for Burial Ground, with long-time friend and collaborator Jamie Mooers.

I recently caught up with Crisafi and chatted about his melancholic art and dark obsessions, the eternal autumn otherworld he inhabits, and his deep love for the magical New England landscape.

Bill Crisafi Atop The Brocken

 As an illustrator, photographer, sculptor, and jeweler – and soon to be a tattoo artist – you’re very much a visual storyteller. Where do you conjure the dark tales that you share with the world from – can you talk about your influences and inspirations in this vein?

Yes! I am apprenticing with my good friends who own The Black Veil Studio, that’s opening very soon. I am beyond lucky to be learning the trade from these guys.

I think I am most directly influenced by, but not limited to, film & folklore. When I was in college at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, I substituted all of my art history courses for film history. Among those courses, I was able to study the work of Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, as well as take a course on German film & the Grimm Brothers, where we compared films to the tales. These courses fueled my obsessions with darker themes. I loved learning about the uncanny and German Expressionism and it has stuck with me.

It’s hard to say where my true heart is. I love all mediums for different reasons.

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I’ve read that you attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NY for a time but the call of the wild brought you back to the woods of your native New England. Can you talk about how this woodland yearning shaped your path as an artist? Do you feel any influences from your time in the city and with FIT creeping into your work – how do you reconcile those two somewhat opposing influences?

A lot of my work at FIT was directly influenced by the New England landscapes I left behind. I have one clothing collection in particular that I illustrated which was heavily influenced by my walks through Maudslay State Park in Newbury, MA. Among my ‘fabric swatch page’ was an assortment of specimens from the park: milkweed, twigs, dead flowers, etc.

I think the aching I had to be home, in the woodland environment, made me obsessively keep it alive and breathing through my work when I had to be in the city. This theme lives on today in Burial Ground. All of the twigs & natural elements used are found in places that are sacred to Jamie and me.

I was never keen on illustrating as I was instructed to at FIT. I’ll never forget a project where we had to draw a collection for J. Crew and it resulted in big headed models with frizzy orange hair that had deer antlers jutting out of their heads.

Bill Crisafi The Coven

Crisafi Bat
Your illustrative work focuses quite a bit on witches, ritual, and all manner of creatures/familiars/shapeshifters haunting both land and air – ­spiders, bats, wolves, etc. It’s all imbued with this sense of feral mysticism. Can you talk about these obsessions ?

There is a drawing at my parents house I did in 2nd grade that is a book of “What I liked doing the most during the year” and one page says, “I liked it when we worked on the witches,” and my drawing to accompany that is a naked hag with white hair, standing over a bubbling cauldron

I remember as a child rolling around the forest in the fallen leaves by myself wearing a cloak, mixing potions at the kitchen sink, and making frequent trips to Laurie Cabot’s store in Salem to beg my parents to buy me a book, a wand, or something that I could use to conjure magic. Those are some of the best memories I have and feel like there is a dialogue between myself and nature that magic helps me communicate.

I also see a connection with these ideas and my mother. She is honestly the hardest working and strongest person I know. I see the presence of female strength, sacrifice, and wisdom in witchcraft and it is really comforting to me.

It wasn’t until I was 19 or 20 that I did really start to address it in my work and use it as a tool for communicating my beliefs.

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What can you share with us regarding your work space where you create and cultivate these mythic, melancholic narratives? What sorts of objects do you surround yourself with? What’s the most vital, invaluable item in your studio?

I was spending my days in the upstairs corner of the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem drawing on a couch that had a window overlooking the grand ballroom. I love it there and will probably still utilize that space from time to time to get work done. I finally purchased a desk so now I can draw right in my bedroom.

My space is very important to me and directly determines my drive to make work. I hope to turn my room into a mixture of a Sabbath scene from the film Haxan and a Victorian treehouse, then I’ll never have to leave! I will forever be obsessed with Victorian objects, particularly mourning ones. The most invaluable item would probably be the human skull Jamie’s grandmother gifted me on my birthday some years ago. She is also an artist and used to use it as a reference when drawing. I do think it may be a close second when I pick up the taxidermy still-born goat I have been making payments on.
As you can tell, my priorities are in order.

Crisafi-Burial-GroundIn 2014 you and longtime friend and collaborator, Jamie Mooers, re­launched Burial Ground with “The Way of The Mystic” collection, which, as you state, “reflects our shared path and the symbols that captivate us.” Brimming with earthy mysticism, these pieces wonderfully echo the motifs seen and felt in your other works. As your paths forge forward, what can we expect to see in future collections from Burial Ground?

We have a small collection of jewelry set to debut in just a few weeks. Our first collection focuses on familiar symbols with concrete meanings that are easy to resonate with.

As we move forward from that, we are still working with casting twigs from areas that are sacred to us, but trying to create a dialogue between the wooded sculptures and the stones we set in them. Some pieces transform from twig into limb, referencing our connection to nature. We are also branching out­ – we will be offering photographic prints, illustrations, patches, and even some really exciting housewares.
There are also some collaborations in the works that we have been dying to get started as well.

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Bill Crisafi and Kris Hatch. Photographer: Courtney Brooke

Speaking of collaborations and collections, you work with some really fantastic artists who are relatively well-­known in their own right. Courtney Brooke of Lightwitch, for example, is the first who comes to mind. She shot the look book for The Way of the Mystic and quite frequently shows up in some of your own photography. Can you tell us about your relationships in this community and the almost collective vision that you seem to share?

I feel like I am a chip off of the same block as Courtney. She is one of the most inspiring and true humans I have the pleasure of knowing. There are some people that you meet who don’t even really need to be given an explanation of what you’re going for creatively and they already get it. Courtney is that person.

The Way of the Mystic lookbook is a prime example of a dream collaboration day. It was our first time working with the makeup talent, Steffanie Strazzere (@sstrazzere), and the combined skillset she has with our art direction, Courtney’s vision, and Kris Hatch’s modeling was the most magical thing I’ve ever seen.

I think there is an understanding for artists from New England that are into similar things as us. It goes back to the rich and haunting history of Massachusetts, and although it resonates differently in each of us, I think there is a bond from that we share. I wouldn’t trade New England or its people for anything.

Find Bill Crisafi: website // Instagram // Facebook

Bill Crisafi Lantern Dreams Bill Crisafi Witch Hill Crisafi Queens of the Moon

Elsewhere: La Castiglione on Haute Macabre

My guest post on La Castiglione is up over at Haute Macabre today!

DRAMA QUEEN & CULTIST OF PERSONAL BEAUTY:
VIRGINIA OLDOINI, COUNTESS OF CASTIGLIONE

And because I am nutty and can’t write about someone without wanting to dress them up myself (or even play dress up AS them) here are two interpretations of some modern day Countess of Castiglione ensembles!

Queen of Hearts


Beauty Cultist

 

Elsewhere: Smell a Little Evil with these Five Horror-Inspired Perfumes

{image: Three daughters of King Lear by Gustav Pope}

Recently I had the opportunity to write for Dirge, a dark fiction market and entertainment magazine, which revels in the beautifully grotesque. Right up my alley, right? And I chose to write about perfumes, which of course surprises exactly no one.

Please to enjoy! “Smell a Little Evil with these Five Horror-Inspired Perfumes” 

Are there any horror-inspired perfumes that you love? Do tell!

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