Archive of ‘magics’ category

Occult Activity Book Volume Two Available For Preorder

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We are incredibly excited to share the final cover reveal for our greatly anticipated Occult Activity Book Volume Two. Both the book itself and the deluxe version featuring exclusive, spooky goodies are now available in the shop for pre-order!  

Brimming with all manner of completely new arcane arts and activities from our coven of brilliant contributors, the book will be ready to ship the first week in October…just in time for the *best* time of year!

Just a head’s up, friends, fiends, and phantoms – the first volume sold out completely in a very short period of time, so be sure to grab a copy while you can! Once it is gone, it is gone forever…

this, that, and the other thing {xxvi}

4a81688fc04e53b6b70186aad9c60585Stunning knitted portraits are made of yarn and generated by an algorithm

luisacasati-banner-textGreat Moments In Historical Sluttery: Marchesa Luisa Casati, Living Work of Art

secret1 Gothic Cinema in the ‘40s: Doomed Romance and Murderous Melodrama

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Mailing things just became way more awesome with the immortal Amazon glory of the Wonder Woman stamp. (h/t Archie McPhee)

For folks who loved the Stranger Things score…

bc571st …and a reading list for everyone who is now obsessed with Stranger Things

California-Pipevine-Swallowtail-Butterfly-Tim-WongSan Francisco man singlehandedly revives a rare butterfly species in his own backyard (h/t Angeliska)

13707776_1232872423422588_1905765554343510684_nPoetweet makes lovely poetry from your ridiculous tweets! Well, “lovely”. (h/t Melissa)

MakeupAltarforDirge Makeup Magic: Beauty as Ritual, Empowerment, and Reclamation

A poem about your lipstick
Spinning, Seiðr, and Witchcraft (h/t Dawn)
Color palettes based on classic films
A fragrance so delicious you could drink it: perfumed cocktails
10 haunted Florida cemeteries (h/t Dustin)
The Demonization of Empress Wu
Trick Photography: Photo Manipulation Before Computers

 

Make The Most Of Your Weird Library With The Arcane Art Of Bibliomancy

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Amongst my acquaintances it would seem that we all appear to have a similar predicament with regard to the printed word: that is to say, an intense, almost obsessive acquisition of books. Whether for pleasure, research, or keeping up our nerdy/witchy Instagram appearances, we acquire stacks and piles of bound, printed matter much faster than we actually read through them.

No doubt if I were to quiz one of these friends at random they will admit, with a strange sort of embarrassed pride, that they have shelves upon shelves of unread novels–and yet there is an Amazon Prime parcel on their doorstep, a small press delivery on the way, and their virtual cart is brimming with another order ready to be placed. Oh, and they’ve just come back from a stroll through the musty, dim-lit shelves of a local used bookstore, and hey look, what a surprise–here’s a few more books.

What if I told you that you could use these mountains of books as more than doorstops and spider-squashers? What if I revealed to you a use for that collection of charming, old-timey ghost stories that has been gathering dust and cobwebs on your nightstand? Yes, yes, I know–you are going to read it eventually, and I do appreciate that sentiment: I’ve got the same book next to my bed that I’ve been too sleepy or too busy looking at my Twitter feed to actually pick up and peruse.

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You are no doubt familiar with the practice of divination, or, the seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means. One can foretell the future through cards, clouds, drops of mercury, even a pile of steaming entrails. Today, however, we are hitting the books for our divinatory purposes! Divination from books or verse is an ancient process known as bibliomancy and is sometimes used synonymously with the terms stichomancy (divination from lines) or rhapsodomancy (divination through a random passage of a poem).

There are, of course, different schools of thought as to how bibliomancy works. Originally, it was a means of seeking divine answers, and the most popular book used for this practice was American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (just kidding! It’s the Bible)–though this is not the only text that’s been used for this purpose. Other popular texts included the Aeneid of Virgil, the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, and The I Ching has also been used in a similar manner. Seekers of illumination would meditate upon their questions and blindly select a passage in the book, which supposedly would impart to them the divine wisdom they needed for the solution to their problem. In this theory, it is believed that one is led deliberately to their answers by some sort of higher power, or perhaps an angel, spirit guide, or aliens.

Other folks see it as more of a psychological enterprise—a means of communicating with your own damn higher self. Meaning, we most likely already contain the answers to our problems, we just can’t always easily tap into them due to all of the “mental filters” that we have built up through our lives and experiences, clouding our ability to see the issues clearly. By this ideology, it’s not really the book that contains any special or wondrous answers; you already know the solutions you seek, and the chosen passage just acts as a tool to help you access them.

But back to the books– you mustn’t feel compelled to use one of those “sacred” texts to practice bibliomancy. All that’s required is a book that speaks to you at that moment. This could be from the library, a new book you’ve purchased for this inaugural divinatory occasion, or something from your own bogged-down shelves. It could be a spiritual book, fiction, nonfiction, that smutty romance novel that sits on the back of your toilet, or even your beloved, dog-eared, 30-year-old stolen library copy of Harriet The Spy. The books you adore will have had an enormous influence on who you are and your beliefs. These beloved writings will have caused you to examine your own depths, encourage you to think in new ways, and eventually become part of who you are, which is why they are great vehicles for shedding light on the questions to which you are seeking answers.

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Let’s get started, shall we? In preparation for a bibliomantic ritual, give some thought as to the kind of question you want to ask: are you seeking romantic resolution or perhaps repairing a relationship? Or maybe you’re all like,”Love? Fuck that horseshit! Where did my great-great-grandpa bury that hidden treasure?” Perhaps you just want guidance on what to make for dinner tonight, but somehow opening an actual cookbook seems too mundane. Words taken out of their larger context could trigger something deeper than you imagine is possible. This could be the most amazing Monday night supper you’ve ever made!

Focus your question and find your book. Trail your fingertips along the spines of those lonely, mostly unread books (again, no judgment) and see what calls to you. The titles themselves can often reflect how you are feeling, or coincide with a situation you have been dealing with. Maybe the embossed detailing tickles your fancy. Maybe the cracked, faded lettering on your dear copy of The Complete Grimoire of Pope Honorius makes your innards go all cozy and it just feels right. Go with it!

Sit with your chosen book in a quiet space and close your eyes. Clear your mind and try to not focus overly much on the emotions attached to the question you need help in answering. What you are aiming for is a state of “calm expectation.” When you feel comfortable, relaxed, and emotionally and spiritually in a good place, ask your question– out loud if you don’t feel too weird about it, or quietly in your mind, if you prefer. Take a few seconds to allow your question to be heard and absorbed. Then pick up the book.

Close your eyes and let your fingers meander through the book’s pages, lingering over the paper wherever you may feel compelled. At some point while doing so, you will intuitively feel the “right” place to stop (or your finger will get tired, that’s a good place to stop, too.) Place your finger on the spot you are drawn to.

Read from where you finger is resting, be it for a few words, a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire passage if you’re into it. At first glance, the words may have no bearing on your question. “What the fuck is this nonsense?” you may wonder, “I asked if my girlfriend is cheating on me and this asshole is talking about cherry blossoms. Thanks a lot, Basho!” Give it some time. Look at the words you are reading: what do they have to tell you about your situation? Do they offer any guidance or inspiration? Do you connect emotionally with what you have just read–did it leave you gleeful, frightened, peevish? Repeat the passage aloud or write it down by hand–your higher mind has deliberately selected these words to help you in some way and eventually you will understand their importance and meaning.

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Some mystics suggest for this exercise that if you’re left even more confused than when you started and you require more clarity, try it again from the start. Pick a book that seems to fit your question, and then merge your chosen answer with the last passage. It is said that sooner or later you will be able to see what the words are trying to get through to you. Or you’ll go crazy. Because I’ll be honest, at this point I am thinking of a freaky Jorge Luis Borges’ Library of Babel scenario involving infinite permutations of all these passages mashed together and it’s sort of creeping me out.

There you have it, bookworms! Since you’re clearly not ever going to read anything from those dangerously teetering, towering book stacks, why not harness the power and the magic of those beautiful, potent words contained within to get some questions answered and get your shit together?

Okay, okay, I poke fun, but I get it. I am one of you, truly! I just checked out eight books from the library but I’m still plowing through a pile of books I bought two years ago. And yet, somehow I just purchased four more books for Summer Reading 2019? How does this even happen? It’s a sickness.

So let’s do this for a start. Read through the above thoroughly, and as your first foray into the arcane art of bibliomancy, I want you to think long and hard on this question. Meditate, roll it around in your mind, choose your title from your shelf and ask aloud of the angels, aliens, your intuitive brain-meats, and who/whatever else…

“What book shall I read next?”

Photo credit: Maika Keuben / @liquidnight

And, as always–a bonus!  How to wear a bibliomantic ritual.

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Bathing Rituals For Ablutophobes

Photo credit, Mika

Photo credit: {Mika, flickr}

If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I’ll be honest with you here–I’m closer to Divine than The Divine when it comes to wallowing in my own filth.

Simply put: I hate bathing.  Or spelled out even simpler than that: I hate being wet.

OK, so maybe the title of this post is a little misleading.  I am not an ablutophobe, per se– that is, I am not afraid of bathing. And don’t misunderstand me, I like the feeling of being clean and nice smelling and having hair that doesn’t fall in a dank, greasy mess across my face, but I absolutely detest the process it takes to get there. The prospect of undignified, soggy nudity and a sopping wet, 50-pound mop of tangles on top of my head that takes all day to dry is one that I dread and avoid for as long as I possibly can get away with.

No doubt if I polled my friends regarding when they showered I would  hear things like “oh, every morning”.  Or “oh, at night after I work out”, or sometimes even twice in one day (you weirdos).  For me, it prompts a rather different question, “when did I last shower?” Was it 3 days ago? 4? Hmmmm.

Clean clothes, clean underwear, deodorant, and perfume go a long way in upholding my decent citizen status.  Most of the time I even receive positive commentary on how lovely I smell! But I know, I know–there’s the question of hygiene. I mean, I guess there is…right?  That’s what people seem to think, anyway. Personally, I like to think me and my bacteria are great friends, so I am not overly troubled by it.

I would probably never, ever set foot inside the shower if I thought I could get away with it, but sometimes you have to get cleaned up for work, or family, or maybe it’s been a really hot, sweaty Florida day and the soapy angel on my shoulder is giving me a really hard time about it. The dirt devil on my other shoulder is like “eh, whatevs!” but my swampy butt-crack and I know that we have to do the right thing.

So I trick myself!  That’s right. Like a toddler that you are bribing with candy or shiny toys, I too must be lured into doing the thing I just don’t wanna do. Fancy soaps, shower gels and lotions are my incentives of choice to entice me into the cleansing waters and I usually end up making a bit of an evening of it.  I’ll light some incense, play some soothing music and generally turn it into a ritual of sorts, like I’m sacrificing my dirt and funk up to the gods.

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Below I’ve listed for you some of my favorite ritualistic ablutions:

Tom Ford Oud Wood shower gel is, at $68, no doubt the most expensive shower gel you could ever buy, but it smells like woods and incense and secret forest temples and is totally worth it.

Atelier Vanille Insensee soap has a lovely, clean vanilla scent. Very mild and tempered with some citrus and woodsiness. Nice for hot weather, actually. Not a bit foody or too cozy smelling. I don’t like equating a cozy feeling with the process that serves up stinging needles of water on my skin anyway, so this is a fragrance that works fine for this purpose.

Villainess Peal Diver soap is nice and scrubby with Irish moss, dulse and kelp to thoroughly exfoliate, and a scent that’s not quite tropical, not quite spa-like, but conjures visions of standing on your 5-star ocean-side hotel room balcony and gazing out at the vast, black sea at midnight, the moon low on the horizon.

Madame Scodioli’s soaps are a wee luxury I picked up at Carmine Boutique in Orlando; both are on the perfumey-musky side but Oracle has a bit of spice and lush, dark fruit, whereas Widdershins has a sweet, smoky quality.

Haus of Gloi Troika pumpkin butter is made from shea butter and pumpkin seed oil and despite its heavy appearance goes on quite nicely, non-greasy and sinks right in.  Troika smells of “a trinity of soft milks: almond, oat and coconut, lashed with sweet agave nectar and the ethereal scent of clean whiteness” and really that’s exactly what it smells like, I can’t do any better than that. Haus of Gloi is a totally vegan company.

Ether body butter made exclusively by Naked Eye Beauty for Sisters of the Black Moon has a different texture than the previously mentioned pumpkin butter.  It seems…spongier…somehow?  I think it takes a little bit longer to sink in, but I obviously adore it since I am now halfway through my second jar of it–and I’ve got to like something quite a bit for me to buy it a second time.  It’s got a light, powdery musky scent that makes me think of a “stripper with a heart of gold” character from a bawdy comedy.  I also think Stormer from the Misfits probably smells like this. That probably makes no sense to anyone but me.

Cinnamon Projects incense is designed to “create transformative space”, with the various scents offered to portray an infinitely inspired day. On a whim, I chose 2AM, which is scented with cedarwood, cinnamon, honey, and vetiver, and is utterly gorgeous and somehow magnificently restrained.  It’s warm without being overly spicy, it’s sweet but not cloying and it’s strongly scented–but not suffocating.  It’s perhaps the most perfect stick of incense I have ever burned.

Blackbird Violet Hour incense made for Catbird NYC, on the other hand, is smoky and potent and just this side of harsh. These are no demure shrinking violets…they are violets who have set themselves on fire in protest, smoldered in revolt, and their sooty purple petals are going to haunt you for the rest of your life.  I am not certain if this particular scent is still available anymore on the Catbird site but Blackbird makes all sorts of intriguing scents (both incense and perfumes)that are for sale on their own site, and they are worthy peeking in on.

And finally, I did mention candy, didn’t I? Persephenie’s Rose and Frankincense heart opening candies, made with ingredients like cane sugar, rose water, wild Harvested frankincense, and vanilla, seem like old world magic and a terribly special sort of treat. I could certainly do to keep my heart open to the wondrous possibilities that spring from a proper cleansing, so there’s that too, I suppose.

Do you hate to bathe as much as I do? It’s okay, you can admit it here, you are amongst stinky friends! Do you have any special treats or bribes that you must resort to rouse yourself to do the things you don’t like to do?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

 

 

 

A Year in Fragrance: Witch’s Workbench

FragranceA friend assured me recently that the chaos in my perfume cabinet was not, in fact, a hot mess and a poor reflection of my character–but instead that it was pretty cool and it reminded her of a witch’s workbench.  Actually… she only voiced the latter half of that thought, and so I’m choosing to extrapolate the rest of the sentiment because she’s a thoughtful person and that’s probably what she meant.

A witch’s workbench! I loved that. And I love thinking of perfume in that context–after all, the transformative powers of fragrance are myriad and a sort of magic of their own. Fragrance has the ability to transport us to another place or time, be it a memory, a wish for the future, or even a dream. It conjures phantom loves and losses, those whom we adored and those we mourn. It intoxicates, bewitches and holds our admirers rapt, enthralled. It allows us to slip into the skin of that which we would wish to be–the femme fatale, the ingénue, (or, if you’re weirdly specific like me, “Morticia Addams tending a poison garden at midnight in late summer, moments before fearsome thunderstorm”).

Some perfumes though, as least as far as I can tell, just feel like magic. Perhaps they don’t exactly remind you of anything from your past and maybe they don’t make you feel like Audrey Hepburn or Seven of Nine or Siouxsie Sioux or whoever it is that you channel to feel special or beautiful. Perhaps their mere presence on your shelf causes a shimmer in the corner of your vision; a certain slant of light at the right time of day cascades through the faceted glass bottle and creates a kaleidoscopic prism against the wall. Maybe the cool heft of a particular flacon cradled against the warmth of your palm feels grounding and reassuring. Perhaps to simply gaze upon your collection and deeply inhale the exotic aroma of all the fragrances combined is a small ritual on its own.

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I have a few scents in this vein that hold their own magic; they smell as though they may induce a trance, or open a portal. Some demand a sacrifice of the wearer, and some bear unexpected gifts. Some smell of soothsaying and powerful prophecy, whereas others might sit quietly on the skin, unnoticed, a charm against unkindness or ill-will. I own all of these and they speak to me in a secret language of their own, a scented murmuration that no doubt only I understand…though I am very happy to share with you a handful of my loves. Make of their mysteries what you will!

Mississippi Medicine from DS & Durga opens with an astringent, peppery cypress, and gives way to a pine-crackling, smoky fire, sweet birch, muddy grass and scorched leaves and dries down to a sweetly herbaceous, woody, resinous scent. This tells the story of waking with strange incense in your hair and the vague dream of descending into the dark, dancing and divining with ancestors, and having been part of rituals older than you can imagine. A scent of potent magics, both sacrificial and healing.

Norne from Slumberhouse smells of black night forests frozen in time; tarry, resinous pines and greenest firs and crisp midnight air, tiniest pinpoints of starlight. Woodsmoke and loam, lichen and fern, and musty mosses creeping, creeping over fallen logs and worn stone paths. Spiders webs tangling high in the branches, dust settling on the strands. Time has slowed and finally stood still in this forest while the world outside advances and evolves and moves along as is the world’s habit whether one interferes or not. This is a still, solemn, forgotten wood, without any birth or growth, and yet undying.

10 Corso Como is all dry, lofty sandalwood, smoky desert resins, and earthy, weirdly off-kilter – almost alien or at least otherworldy- florals. It calls to mind a mysterious, aromatic wooden chest, unearthed by a strange sandstorm. At once both sensual and spiritual, and without a doubt a very, very handsome scent, I find myself frequently craving it and nothing else will do.

Heely’s Sel Marin conjures a dim lit sea save, illuminated by phosphorescent crystals clinging to salt crusted walls. Mossy rocks, worn smooth by time and tides and the wind, which echoes eerily through the subterranean stone chambers. Bits of driftwood and seaweed and perhaps small animal bones littering the damp chamber floor. A sea priestess lain dormant, waiting for a dark ritual to conjure forth from slumber. This is a Dion Fortune novel in a bottle.

Amir from Laura Tonnato is a deeply hypnogogic scent, all dark, narcotic myrrh and nocturnal resins. A midnight philtre, thickened with age and swimming murkily at the bottom of an ancient crystal flacon, tucked away in some moth-eaten velvet robes. This is the scent I imagine one of the visitors wearing during that infamous summer in 1816 at the Villa Diodati with Byron and Polidori.

Serge Lutens’ De Profundis opens with the scent of big, lively chrysanthemums, in the fall -brisk, slightly spicy and musty. Delicate, dewy violets and damp loamy earth follow shortly thereafter, along with a cool metallic chill that calls to mind a brief wind, rising from nowhere, a shadow that suddenly falls across your path. This is the scent of a pensive cemetery stroll in late autumn, crushed funeral wreaths beneath your feet, the veil of the sun struggling through the clouds, the lingering wisps of incense from morning mass.

this, that, & the other thing {xxii}


Kulning: The haunting, beautiful Swedish herding call that’s also a song

 

800px-Old_Winnetka_Log_CabinTypes of American Folk Magic From New Orleans to the Ozarks

 

here-is-the-scariest-urban-legend-from-every-state_1The Scariest Urban Legend From Every State

 

whatisawitch_456x608-456x600 (1)“What Is A Witch” an illuminated manifesto on witchcraft by Pam Grossman & Tin Can Forest

 

gothic-to-goth-4“Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy”

 

Medusa-Delville-LThe Flowers of Evil: Satanic Feminists of Bohemian Paris

 

Poison-catsNoxious Dollops and Opium Tonics: Poisonous Victorian Home Remedies

 

MourningPortrait1 (1)Michael Berkowitz Mourning Portraits

 

girl-who-stood-on-grave-e1458051452386The Monster in the Mirror: On Horror, Disability, and Loving Both at Once

 

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Great Moments In Historical Sluttery: Aphra Behn, The Mysterious Exploits of Agent 160

Chase and Scout Q&A and Giveaway

IMG_1962Austin-based Chase & Scout creates beautifully crafted jewelry for those for those who walk a path between the dark and the light.  Blending ancient symbology, natural objects, and modern design aesthetics, designer and creator Elle Greene creates jewelry for kindred spirits, pieces that she hopes will resonate deeply with the wearer. Inspired by meditations on nature and the possibilities of unseen realms, these adornments are designed with an appreciation for the past while always looking forward.

Today I am thrilled to be sharing a recent interview with the lovely Elle Greene of Chase & Scout and hosting a giveaway over on Instagram for one of her gorgeous pieces, a stunning oxidized, sterling silver and labradorite pendant.

Read on to learn more about Elle and her creations and a chance to win!
…and P.S. there’s a 20% discount code for Unquiet Things readers at the bottom of the page, as well!

Mlle Ghoul: Tell us about Chase & Scout – the company, the aesthetic, and the vision.

Elle Greene: Chase and Scout was created in 2008, and is based out of my studio in Austin Texas. It’s a bit of a one woman operation. I conjure up, design, and hand craft every piece in the C&S collections. It’s very important to me that each component of my work be made from raw materials and by hand. There is a certain coldness to machine manufactured jewelry that is cranked out by the 100’s. I want the people who wear my work to feel its depth. Each piece has been in my hands, on my bench–it’s a closeness that I hope resonates with anyone who holds or wears my jewelry.

Aesthetically, I’m naturally drawn to the dark, but I let a little light in, as well. The mystique of ancient symbology, botanicals, and modern design are all aspects of my inspiration. I tend to steer clear of obvious inconology so that each wearer can ascribe their own meaning. A little mystery can be very powerful.

When you look back at the primitive roots of jewelry, it was used not only for physical adornment, but to announce tribal affiliation or provide spiritual protection. I see much of my work in this way. I am creating amulets and talismans that are charged, not only with what I have put into them, but also with what the owner brings to it. My vision is that these pieces become fixtures in their wardrobe and part of their daily armor.

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You mention that your jewelry is “with a bit of light and a bit of dark”, and that in your pieces you like to “ explore the duality of our own nature” – these are fascinating concepts and I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this and how it relates to the adornments that you create.

For me, it’s about the depth and breadth of the personality I am designing for. Personally, I like quirky and weird; I dig dark humor but not gore. I lean more towards a Victorian Gothic sensibility over graphic horror films. I think that the people who gravitate towards my jewelry have that same broad sense of attraction to all facets of this style. The term “Gothic” is too often dismissed as “all gloom, all the time”, and that’s simply not the case.

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You also refer to an appreciation for the past and an interest in ancient symbology with regard to your jewels – what are your influences and inspirations in this vein and can you give us an example of how you might incorporate them into a design?

I was really fortunate to grow up in an artistic family. My father was an archaeologist and we always had a museum’s worth of cultural relics around the house.

I gravitate towards items used in funerary rites and burial customs. All cultures have a series of mystical rites that need to be performed and objects ascribed solely for funerary use. One of the attractions to ancient cultures is that almost every object created contains decorative elements of form and function.

Ceremonial knives are quite beautiful, every tribe has at least one style that is specific to the region or era and I find a lot of inspiration in them. In New Guinea the warriors would carry these elaborate fighting clubs with shark teeth embedded along its edges: a seriously evil-looking object. The shape of that club, combined with the shape of the federal shield (iconic during the US Civil War and Victorian era) came together in my Skull and Shield earrings.

Shield Earrings

The Frida earrings from the same collection are derived from the Incan tumi axe. The tumi was used for ritual use in burials, and was also used in sun worship ceremonies. Your average passerby will simply see a pair of cool feathered earrings, but the owner knows they’re wearing an interpretation of a 2,000 year old sacrificial knife.

Frida Earrings

I know that you’re getting ready to release a new mini collection -what can we look forward to with this?

Mini collections are a lot of fun for me! It’s less pressure than a full line, which allows me to play and try out new ideas. Right now, I’m creating a small group of orchids and flora, just in time for the spring. For me, orchids carry a real presence that tiny flowers just can’t convey. Capturing something as fleeting and fragile as a flower in metal is definitely a technical challenge. I’ve found a Japanese alloy that allows me to achieve a deep patina in the metal. This Black Flower collection currently consists of pendants and earrings. I’m really excited to bring this collection to life!

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Where can we find your creations for purchase?

My website is the best place to find my current designs and collections. Anyone can visit Chaseandscout.com and purchase their favorite pieces directly from the site. Should you find yourself in Austin, stop by Blackmail Boutique on South Congress Ave. to see a selection of C&S jewelry in person.

Follow me on Instagram (@ChaseandScout) for a peek into studio life at the bench and my daily inspiration.

Thank you Elle, for graciously answering my questions, and for offering this generous giveaway!  Be certain to follow, tag, and repost for a chance to win!

P.S. Get 20% off of everything at Chase & Scout with code: UNQUIET now thru 3/20.

IG giveaweay

Hexmas cards for fiends and family

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It’s getting to be that time of year again. That time wherein you, with growing unease and guilt which will soon turn to a strange resentment, realize that it’s the eighth year in a row you’ve promised yourself that you wouldn’t forget to send holiday cards out to friends and loved ones and yet here you are waiting until the very last minute and it’s very likely that you don’t even have all of the addresses that you need.  You certainly don’t have any actual cards handy.

(And speaking of cards, your cousin sends out cards in a timely fashion every single year, and she even hand-makes them for God’s sake.  Why can’t you be more like your cousin?)

When it comes to store bought greeting cards, if you are anything like me, you most likely don’t care overly much for the dopey, saccharine offerings immediately available in your Barnes & Noble or Hallmark or where ever normal people do their shopping for such things. Babies in mangers and wise men and red nosed children building snowmen? UGH. GROSS.

In this vein I’ve* put together a Hexmas card list brimming with dark themes and weird imagery from artisans whose aesthetics I greatly admire.  Below you’ll find humor and beauty and even a bit of naughtiness; Krampus and ghosts and cats – a little bit of something for everyone! Or, well, at least folks like us.

And of course, if you think there is something/someone I have missed – please let me know in the comments!

*with thanks to Becky, Jamie, and Kate for your suggestions!

 

Caitlin McCarthy Art

 

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Heretical Sexts

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waronchristmas-shop

 


Dana Glover

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Kat Philiben

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Poison Apple Print Shop

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Haunting Impressions

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The Conjurers Kitchen
 (You can eat them! Made with luxury rice paper & edible ink)

Krampus pack 1-2dead birds pack-1

 

 

Near Zennor

Near Zennor from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new @8tracks playlist, inspired by Elizabeth Hand’s work of short fiction, “Near Zennor”. Image via landtraces.com

Tracklist:

Prologue, Richard Moult | Oracle, Paper Dollhouse | Enchanter’s Nightshade, Eternal Tapestry | Morgiana, The Hare And The Moon | The Stone Steps, The Soulless Party | His Arm Has Grown Long, Alexander Tucker | The Wind That Cracks The Leaves, In Gowan Ring | Don’t Break The Curse, Hexvessel | The Faery Round, Drcarlsonalbion | Black Mill Tapes, Pye Corner Audio | Black Butterfly, King Dude

Summer Reading 2016

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I am just now diving into the books that I gathered for last summer’s reading {standouts thus far being Errantry by Elizabeth Hand and Revenge by Yoko Ogawa}, so I thought in the grand tradition of biting off more than I can chew, I will go ahead and make a list the other items I intended on reading this summer…but will probably not pull down from the shelf until Summer 2016.

If you are keen on short stories,and tales of the weird/fantasy/speculative fiction/magical realism/horror…then you I imagine you will find a few treasures here for your own shelf. And please feel free to share what you are reading this summer…or future summertimes!

 

The Vorrh by Brian Catling

“Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes  memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse.”

The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls

“Master anthologist Ellen Datlow has assembled a list of beautiful and terrifying stories from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Seanan McGuire, Carrie Vaughn, Pat Cadigan, Tim Lebbon, Richard Kadrey, Genevieve Valentine, and Jeffrey Ford. The collection is illustrated with photographs of dolls taken by Datlow and other devoted doll collectors from the science fiction and fantasy field. The result is a star-studded collection exploring one of the most primal fears of readers of dark fiction everywhere, and one that every reader will want to add to their own collection.”

 

Japanese Gothic Tales by Izumi Kyoka

“Resisting the various forms of realism popular during the Meiji “enlightenment,” Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939) was among the most popular writers who continued to work in the old-fashioned genres of fantasy, mystery, and romance. Gothic Tales makes available for the first time a collection of stories by this highly influential writer, whose decadent romanticism led him to envision an idiosyncratic world–a fictive purgatory –precious and bizarre though always genuine despite its melodramatic formality. The four stories presented here are among Kyoka’s best-known works. “

 

Gifts for the One Who Comes After by Helen Marshall

“Ghost thumbs. Microscopic dogs. One very sad can of tomato soup . . . Helen Marshall’s Shirley Jackson Award-Nominee and second collection offers a series of twisted surrealities that explore the legacies we pass on to our children. A son seeks to reconnect with his father through a telescope that sees into the past. A young girl discovers what lies on the other side of her mother’s bellybutton. Death’s wife prepares for a very special funeral. In Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Marshall delivers eighteen tales of love and loss that cement her as a powerful voice in dark fantasy and the New Weird. Dazzling, disturbing, and deeply moving.”

Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck

“Enter the strange and wonderful world of Swedish sensation Karin Tidbeck with this feast of darkly fantastical stories. Whether through the falsified historical record of the uniquely weird Swedish creature known as the “Pyret” or the title story, “Jagannath,” about a biological ark in the far future, Tidbeck’s unique imagination will enthrall, amuse, and unsettle you.”

 

Short Dark Oracles by Sara Levine

“In her vivid hyper-real collection, Short Dark Oracles, Sara Levine paints her way into even sharper and more dangerous corners. The fictions are an impasto of primed primary colors, prose that cuts a swath in brilliant swatches of saturated power that pops, punches, turns every turn into a fat flat facet, hard as a side of diamond, steel still-lives, glittering, metallic, distilled. “

 

The Lord Came at Twilight by Daniel Mills

“In the foothills of the Green Mountains, a child grows up in an abandoned village, haunted by memories of his absent parents. In a wayside tavern, a murderous innkeeper raises a young girl among the ghosts of his past victims. Elsewhere the village of Whistler’s Gore is swept up in the tumult of religious fervor, while in rural Falmouth, the souls of the buried dead fall prey to a fungal infestation. This is New England as it was once envisioned by Hawthorne and Lovecraft, a twilit country of wild hills and barren farmland where madness and repression abound. The Lord Came At Twilight presents 14 stories of doubt and despair, haunter and haunted, the deranged and the devout.”

 

Nevers by Megan Martin

“Every character in Nevers is having a better time than the narrators.  And everyone, according to these narrators, is an asshole.  Megan Martin’s collection is comprised of shorts of almost uniform length and uniform theme.  Each is voiced by a narrator who has had enough.”

 

North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

“Nathan Ballingrud’s Shirley Jackson Award winning debut collection is a shattering and luminous experience not to be missed by those who love to explore the darker parts of the human psyche. Monsters, real and imagined, external and internal, are the subject. They are us and we are them and Ballingrud’s intense focus makes these stories incredibly intense and irresistible.”

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