Archive of ‘unquiet things’ category

Currently {August 2018}

raritan

August arrives, as it always does, thrumming with the ceaseless drone of cicadas, the looming threat of hurricanes, and a recurring, tender ache in my heart. A strange, soft, sadness for something that never was, wistfulness for certain places best left to exist in memories, a nostalgic sentiment for a timeline in which I, myself, should never have existed.

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These photos were taken almost seven years ago, as I was packing up bits and scraps of a life I’d never fully settled into, preparing a return to a place I never believed I would call home again. Nostalgia is a funny thing, strange and sad, wily and dangerous. Even as I was snapping these photos, I was already seeing the place, and my memories of it, through rose-colored lenses. But that rosiness was never a true thing. Good times did not happen here. I look at this fence today, and recall the beauty of the river beyond, and it’s so easy to think, “how lovely is the lazy current, the fiery glow of August’s setting sun”, and it occurs to me, stark and sudden, how often I despaired, and imagined throwing myself in that very same river. These are terrible, melancholy thoughts, and I have learned throughout the years that nostalgia is no true friend of mine.

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Mathyld (whose loveliness and talents I have recently written about, here at Unquiet Things) fashioned this Lionhearted talisman for me, back in 2011, when I knew I must make a decision that would change –everything– for me. Containing bits of labradorite, rutilated quartz, turquoise, and blue chalcedony, I clutched it for luck, I cradled it for protection, and I channeled all the confidence and strength that I could glean from its tiny, glimmering contents. It took no small amount of bravery and fortitude to walk away from that life, and I needed every bit I could get my hands on.

In the years that have passed, in the place that I am, I have found more love and wonder and satisfaction than I ever dreamed I’d have the courage to grasp. It’s funny to think that this situation, too, may change. That sooner or later the August shrieks of ancient insects will be too distant for my ears to discern, that I may trade the stunning semi-tropical savagery of annual hurricanes, for…well, whatever comes next. What is next? Where is next?  I’ve got some thoughts, but we’re not quite there yet.

cannisters saws

Meanwhile, I’m not going anywhere immediately, so that means we’ve got time to enjoy some rusty old treasures in the form of my late grandmother’s ceramic kitchen canisters, which we finally dusted off and filled with, well, you can clearly read on the canisters themselves what’s meant to fill them. And who am I to defy the word of Canister?

Also recently installed is my late grandfather’s workbench in our garage! Which I will probably never use, though it is wonderfully comforting to know it is nearby. But why do we have so many saws? Yikes. Better not ask too many questions, I reckon.

nobody pool

Typically I like to spend at least one weekend every summer at my sister’s house, during which I do nothing but luxuriate in her swimming pool from the first light of dawn (which is sometimes difficult to gauge through her black out curtains) until midnight –and quite frequently, beyond. In times of yore I drank margaritas all day to celebrate my one day of #mermaidlife hedonism, but as I’ve gotten older, the cocktails have become more and watered down until we’ve simply decided that our middle-aged bods and their glitchy digestive tracts prefer just plain water and ice as accompaniment to our aquatic interlude.

Schedules throughout this June and July were too crazed for our pool date, but I’d be damned if I let the summer go by without it! Thankfully it finally happened this past weekend, although, sadly, the weekend was mostly rainy. I did get in some night swimming, and got to swan about it my Nobody dress, which is probably not intended as a bathing suit cover-up, but eh, whatever. You can’t see it underneath, but my swimsuit is this one, in black, from Modcloth; I’ve had it about four years now and it’s held up pretty well–but considering I only wear it once every 365 days, it had better!

Dragula

Last month my BGF came to visit for a weekend, during which time we lazed about in our pajamas, ate a massive amount of junk food, and watched season two of Dragula in its entirety. Oh my lord, the insane alien baby realness in episode four! It was the perfect stay-in-and-make-poor-decisions weekend, and, as a bonus, she introduced me to Claws, which after having watched Sons of Anarchy, Peaky Blinders, and at least one season of Vikings, was exactly what I wanted. I’m so tired of seeing these shows about men and their macho gangs, doing all sorts of terrible, testosterone-fueled shit to keep their families together–I wanted to see a gang of strong females doing all kinds of terrible shit! I didn’t expect that it would come in the form of feisty co-workers at a nail salon, but that’s what makes it so unexpected and great. I believe that Claws may be what I was hoping for…and the bonus is that the show’s setting is Manatee County, and it contains all of the dumb craziness that could only take place in Florida. (I realize it’s actually filmed in New Orleans, though.)

I haven’t been keeping track of the visual media I’ve been consuming as thoroughly as I have in recent years, but here’s a quick rundown of some other things I have seen over the last month. If I were doing one-word reviews, I’d give them all a yes, even the bad ones (you can tell by the list which one that might be) because I think sometimes there are just things you kind of have to see. Atomic Blonde and Inside Out were my standout favorites, for what it’s worth. And The Great Mouse Detective, though a little silly, was worth it, just to hear Vincent Price as a villainous singing rat.

-The Disaster Artist
-The Room
-This Is The End
-Sharp Objects
-Atomic Blonde
-Antman and the Wasp
-The Great Mouse Detective
-Inside Out
-The Incredibles
-Coco

It’s just that time of year, I guess. Summer, for myriad reasons–some which return yearly, and others always in flux- always just gets me to feeling some kind of way. I’m muddling through, though.  We’ll get there. Where “there” is no longer summer, I guess.

“What I Can’t Live Without”

Julius Bramanto, Market Maiden

I have a confession: I’m a little bit obsessed with celebrity shopping, and the things famous people purportedly “can’t live without”. Amongst other outlets which probably report on such crucial issues, NY Mag has a recurring column about this very thing, and from this I can find out what kind of stuff that notable individuals such as Salman Rushdie or Tituss Burgess or Rupaul love– from the luggage they travel with (and they all seem to have an opinion on luggage) to the superior $50 toothpaste they use, or even learn that they buy bulk Shirataki noodles (ew!) and Crystal Light (really??) and Glade plug-ins. Wow. I mean, what’s the point of even being rich if you are still buying Glade Plug-ins?

I remember thinking, when I was younger, that I wish someone would ask ME what I couldn’t live without. At the time it was this horrifyingly green, kiwi-flavored gloop from The Body Shop called “Born Lippy”, which apparently they still sort of sell, but at a deep discount; probably because it’s really gross and no one ever buys it anymore. It turns out that in the span of time since that initial musing, no one, ever, not even once, as asked me what I can’t live without. Can you believe it? Super rude, right? To be passed up for such a thing?

I decided I’m not waiting any longer, and I’ll share with you right now the ten things I love and can’t live without (in no particular order). Take that, NY Mag! One day you’ll be sorry that you overlooked this lady and her goldmine of interesting stuff!

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1. My feet are always cold, so I’m perpetually on the hunt for super cute socks. Featured here are my current faves, some Totoro socks, found on Amazon.

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2. Dermalogica Ultra Calming products. I know I’ve mentioned this several times before, but it’s taken a while to find something that (mostly) works for my skin, and works mostly consistently. Somewhere in my mid-30’s, my skin went from being slightly oily but mostly well-behaved to very sensitive, easily irritated, and red/inflamed and kind of a pain in the ass. I’ve found a few things over the years that seemed to work well…until they didn’t. The Dermalogica line is one I have been using for two years now and seems to do the best job that it can.

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3. Vanity Fair high cut briefs. I have the occasional fancy bra & panty set, but for the most part, my unmentionables are not something I need to be bothered with. I want black, I want bulk quantities, and I want to reach into my underwear drawer in the dark and know that every time I am going to get exactly what I want. I also sometimes want to go twenty days without going laundry, so I buy A LOT of these things at once.

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4. Punjammies from Sudara. I have a weird relationship with pajamas. I love the bottom portion, but the top portion feels like it’s trying too hard. Or maybe I feel like I’m trying too hard when I wear a full pajama set. I’m just not that person. I feel like pajama people probably use their planners religiously and are super serious about scrubbing their toliets. Nope, not me! I usually end up wearing pajama bottoms and a favorite, worn-in oversized tee to bed at night, and in a weird instance of actually being interested in a Facebook advertisement a few years ago, I learned of the sari pajama pants from Sudara, a company who has a really good story, and whose products I ended up loving so much that by now I have four or five pairs.

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5. While I would not say I am candle-obsessed, I am certainly fragrance obsessed, and ever since moving away from my childhood home (which smelled like an unfortunate combination of cat-pee and cigarette smoke) I vowed I would always have living space that smelled nice. And the Baies candle from Diptyque is the nicest smelling candle I have ever had. “The scent of a bouquet of roses sweetened with black currant leaves” is how it is described, and it’s kinda weird, because I don’t typically like rose-scented items, but this is a fresh, ghostly rose, and if I could only have one candle for the rest of my life, this would be it.

 

Dracula and Rebecca

6. Dracula by Bram Stoker and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. There are few few books that I can read over and over and over again, but these two are definitely at the top of the list. The cover art shown here graces the copies I have on my shelf, though I am ashamed to say that the Dracula book I have also contains Frankenstein– and I have never read Frankenstein all the way through. I am especially sorry to admit this to those whom Frankenstein might be on your “I can read this book over and over” list.

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7. Interesting jewelry. Ever since I was a small child, dressing up in my grandmother’s costume jewelry, shiny adornments were very important to me. I figured no matter how plain and boring you might feel in the faded Sanibel Island tourist tee shirt that your mother made you wear to school that day, the opal pendant you swiped from your Mawga’s jewel box and which secretly hung beneath the cheap cotton material made you feel glamorous and special, and very, very, pretty. I put it back, FYI. I felt awfully guilty about that. I have a roving eye when it comes to gems and treasures, but some of my favorite artisans are Flannery Grace Good, Chase & Scout, bloodmilk, and Arcana Obscura, and I am rarely without a trinket or talisman from at least one of these jewelers on my person.

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8. Perfumes. I realize these itemizations are going slowly going from very specific product recommendations to more open-ended concepts, but as a further to no. 5 on this list, I well and truly could not live without perfumes and fragrances for reasons I have written about here and which I further discuss here. I am always trying new things and finding new scents to love, and here is a grouping of both recent favorites and long-time beloveds: The Holy Mountain by Apoteker Tepe (discontinued), Comme des Garçons ‘Series 3 Incense: Kyoto, Morocco from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and Laveau from Seance perfumes (I know this is a photo of Dearly Departed, but it’s what I had to work with!)

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9. A black tee shirt. Or, well, several dozen, if you peek into my drawers. (I write more on this, here.) A black tee and jeans/skirt is my basic uniform, and if I am not wearing that I’m probably wearing a black tunic/dress and leggings. I especially love when my favorite artists produce wearable versions of their creations and I’m always quick to grab one. This tee from Bill Crisafi, however, was a gift that someone else grabbed for me. Thank you, BGF, you know me so well!

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10. Honey Crisp apples. Wow, what a boring thing to talk about, right? But I was wracking my brains to think if there was anything I ate everyday, and food is a super important part of any list that I might be a part of, or putting together. And it’s true, I do eat an apple every day. I generally don’t care for fruit because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Apples, for whatever reason, are the only fruits I can tolerate, and the honey crisp ones are my favorites. I eat them because I figure even if I’m making horrible nutritional choices the rest of the day, well, at least I ate an apple? Also, I read that apples are helpful for those who experience acid reflux, something about them being a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and it is thought that the alkalizing minerals may help relieve symptoms of acid reflux. Are you also a boring old broad who suffers from this affliction? Aside from medications (which is really a last resort for me in any situation), how do you remedy this?

Becky Munich

Bonus material! I asked my partner what he thought were some of the things I couldn’t live without, and his responses were so perfect. I guess he knows me pretty well.

  • Art . Aw, man, how could I forget that? Pictured above are some strange florals I just purchased from Becky Munich
  • Rainy, gloomy days.
  • Spooky stories. I told him I already listed Dracula and Rebecca, and he was like, “who’s Rebecca?” O_O
  • Popcorn. YES! This is my anti-apple treat. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Polyvore (RIP). Or sites that let me play with fashion that I can’t afford. Right now it’s URSTYLE
  • Music. Right now it’s the Atomic Blonde soundtrack, and I’m sure he’s heard me singing aloud I Ran by A Flock Of Seagulls for weeks now

I’m thinking of making this a regular column and perhaps harassing some of my favorite people to tell me about their favorite things! What do you all think?

Non Fiction For The Senses

Royal Art Of Poison

Last week in a brief discussion spurred by a book about the bizarre digestive by-product from whales used as a fixative in fine fragrances, Tanya and I came to the enthusiastic conclusion that we needed an outlet wherein we could discuss this weird little gem and other such titles.

Out of this discussion, a new book club was born! Non Fiction For The Senses is “a virtual book club to indulge in non-fiction books about all things relating to the senses, mostly focusing on the history, lore and science around them, as well as books celebrating obsessions with anything like perfumes, potions, intriguing sounds, textiles and textures, and delicious foods. (No cookbooks, though, unless almost exclusively narrative/historical, with barely any recipes.)”

Since we both had our eyes on The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul, we decided that would be the one to kick things off, and we’ll most likely get discussions underway in the next few weeks. Perhaps around the beginning of August, to give everyone time to procure for themselves a copy of the book.

Do you have an infectious curiosity concerning precious things, fancy obsessions and sensual fascinations? If so, peek in on our Goodreads group and request an invite–we’d love to read some fancy books with you!

Support And Honor Women: Fuck Cancer Benefit Auction Today!

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Women are the gateway:
Guardians of the heart,
Keepers of the hearth,
Weavers of the womb,
Sisters of the moon,
Healers of the bones,
Holders of the tomes.
Women are the world.

When I learned that my creative friends were coming together today with a benefit auction to support artist Heather Jean Skawold’s (@Callunajean on instagram, and of DellamorteCo.) mother in her fight against Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer, I thought that the very least I could do was give it a signal boost over here at Unquiet Things. I lost my own mother to cancer back in 2013 and know the feelings of frustration and helplessness that families, friends, and loved ones experience when someone beloved to them goes through such an ordeal. Anything you can do, even the smallest things, are helpful in keeping those feelings of hopelessness at bay…and if you are supporting a worthwhile cause, well naturally, that’s even better.

Elle of Chase & Scout jewelry (featured previously at Unquiet Things) shared the following with me about this wonderful endeavor…

“@Callunajean has been sharing posts about her mother who had just been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, including sharing posts of shaving off her own hair in support. For those that don’t know @callunajean, she is the art director for @dellamorteco and the artist and designer behind @saintcalluna. When Calluna posted about her mother’s diagnosis, another friend had just wrapped up a benefit auction on her IG and I was in the process of putting together a milestone giveaway – I realized I’d much rather do something with true impact. I asked Calluna if she’d be comfortable with it, and we decided to try it out. Calluna and I reached out to our own friends in the community whose artwork resonated with us and I think we have put together a fantastic package.”

Included in the auction are:

+ From the heart, Calluna hand applied silver leaf to a @dellamorteco anatomical heart vase, it’s one of a kind and truly spectacular

+ Signed silkscreen prints of powerful and magical women from @poisonappleprintshop

+An absolutely gorgeous velvet dress collar by @inthechalkgarden

+Pin and a pair of those-to-die for snake-handled scissors from @thecreepingmuseum

+An amethyst and sterling adjustable snake ring from @chaseandscoutjewelry

Starting now, just place a bid in comments of this instagram post (I’ve already bid, come say hi!) and they will be accepting bids through Saturday night. The highest bidder will be contacted with an invoice, and once paid items will ship via fedex ground with signature. The donation will be made to Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance.

Donate to a worthy cause and bid to win a collection of art you’ll love for life!

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Currently {7.12.18}

Cereal

I feel myself sinking into my yearly bout of summer malaise and The Morbs. All I want to do is sit on the sofa with a bowl of cereal and a glass with more ice than iced tea, and a big stack of books. I’m feeling less than productive…though truly, if I look at the past three weeks, I’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished. Perhaps I’m pushing through the ennui and heat-induced existential angst, even if it doesn’t feel like that’s what is going on.

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Usually when July rolls around, it’s time for our yearly re-watch of The Lord Of The Rings series. We curl up on the couch with the AC running at full blast, and we watch little Frodo and Samwise and Gandalf and all of their adventures, even though we know them by heart after these many years. The only other movies I can do that with are the Harry Potter series–and while I wouldn’t really consider these my favorite movies, they are the only ones that I can watch over and over and over again. I find them immensely comforting for frazzled nerves and burnt out synapses.  I guess I can also re-watch Soapdish and Hedwig and the Angry Inch on loop forever, but they don’t provide the same soothing experience. Do you have any films on your shelves that you could watch once a year for the rest of your life and never grow tired of them?

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Speaking of things that soothe of comfort…lately I’ve dipped my toe (or my waist, really, hur hur) into corsetry. Earlier this year when I stuffed myself into a pair of strangulating Spanx, an interesting benefit beyond flub containment was that I found the torso-pressure really comforting. Like a firm, prolonged hug. Fast forward a few months, and a few of my close friends mentioned that they had purchased corsets, and in the process of seasoning them, (the initial, light and brief wearing of them to get them to nicely conform to your body) they noticed similar mental health benefits. Naturally I couldn’t be left out of Corset Salon, so I purchased one as well, to give it a try. Pictured above is the Mesh Waspie C-201 from Orchard Corsets. I can’t find much in the way of scientific evidence touting corsets as a method of anxiety control –although I suspect it works similarly to the very popular Gravity Blanket in this regard–but what can I say? It works for me. I do notice that I’m able to slow down and breathe (ironically) when I am corseted up. My heart isn’t pounding a mile a minute, like it usually does all day long for no immediately discernible reason. For some reason it calms me. If you’ve got an explanation, I am all ears.

books

Though I did not revisit my side-quest reading challenge from last summer, I have come up with another idea to keep up the pace in my goal to read one hundred books this year. I discovered an email from 2016 wherein I shared with my friend Maika the books I planned to read that summer. Looking back, I maybe read one of them, and no doubt that’s because I was still catching up on the summer reading I had planned for the previous year! My mission this July, should I choose to accept it, is to read the following books that I listed in that missive from June 13, 2016. The Joan Aiken book is a funny thing; I had originally seen a mention of Joan Aiken in the Weird Fiction Review Blog’s review of The Monkey’s Wedding. I was terribly intrigued but then shortly thereafter lost the link to the blog, forgot the blog’s name and definitely forgot both the title of the book, as well as the author. This blog is one I find and lose again quite frequently over the years, and for some reason it never occurs to me to bookmark it, which is silly, because it is a vast treasure trove of future reading ideas! You should remember to bookmark it for yourself.

 

Hypnopompic

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From the “man I wish I had a time machine so that I could travel back to 2013 and know about this artist and his works at an earlier time but I guess it’s better later than never thanks to instagram user @siobhan.waters bringing him to my attention today”: the hypnopompic works of Kustaa Saksi

Kustaa Saksi is a Finnish artist and designer, based in Amsterdam, and a master of graphic storytelling through patterns, textile art and installation. Hypnopompic, a collection of eight limited edition jacquard tapestries, are woven from mohair and alpaca wool, cotton, and synthetic materials such as phosphate and metallic acrylic thread and were inspired by a member of Saksi’s family who suffers from hypnopompic hallucinations – a state of sensory confusion leading out of sleep, when the state of awakening gets mixed with the dream world into a surreal reality. On another level these surreal landscapes also refer to optical art, as Saksi explains: ‘The vivid textures and colours create new, radiant, psychedelic worlds.’

Through his medical research, Saksi has managed to link the state of ‘hypnopompic hallucinations’ with a view of the history of art and design. ‘I refer to scientific studies of the subject in my search for inspiration,’ he says. ‘The hypnopompic state has also been affiliated with visual delusions caused by migraine. These graphic patterns, designs and textures are thought to have contributed to the traditions of ornamentation, mosaic and textile.’

Saksi’s works have been exhibited at Victoria & Albert Museum, Cooper Hewitt and San Jose Museum of Art as well as galleries in New York, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Singapore, Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Lima and Tokyo. Saksi has produced commissioned artworks for companies such as Nike, Issey Miyake, Ferragamo, Lacoste, Marimekko and Swedese.

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Erdem Resort 2019

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Most Resort collections are a milquetoast pastel snoozefest, but I am currently quite keen on the evocative romance of Erdem’s flowy fabric and dark, dreamy watercolor florals. And look at all of those dear, sweet ribbons and wreaths and ruffs and fluffs and gloves! Very high tea in a haunted English garden with your dangerously eccentric auntie, and I am here for it.

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Beautiful Objects Imbued With Profound Meaning: Under The Pyramids Interview & Giveaway

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[EDIT: A winner has been chosen! Congratulations to Pauline!]

Life is so funny sometimes! How one connection sparks the next, how distant souls find one another, how reading a stranger’s words, late one lonely winter’s night, can lead you to peeking into the life of a brand new stranger–a life of haunting elegance and filled with beautiful objects and exquisite creations–and, as it happens, a stranger who is a genuinely beautiful human, and who, over the years, becomes a very dear friend.

That is how I came to know Mathyld.

In her Parisian atelier, Mathyld handcrafts potent jewels and portable magicks as Under The Pyramids, inspired by nature, magick, lost civilisations and times immemorial. Working with sustainable, locally recycled silver, each and every creation is entirely handmade, every step of the way – sawn, soldered, hammered, stamped, oxidised, polished, etc. Each jewel is thus slightly different than the next, making them all individual and unique vessels to imbue with your own, personal magic and intimate enchantments.

We have kept in touch these many years, checking in with each new project, always curious as to what the other was up to, and eternally full of support and love for one another. Mathyld is a gem and a treasure, and I am so happy to know her. And I’m especially thrilled that she has agreed to do an interview for Unquiet Things, so that you can get to know her, as well!

I do hope you enjoy reading more about this wonderful creator and her extraordinary creations, and what’s more, she has generously agreed to a giveaway, as well! Please leave a comment on this post to be entered for a chance to win an Algiz Amulet, conjured by Mathyld herself, just for you! A winner will be chosen for this runic symbol of protection, one week from today, on Friday June 22nd.

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GIVEAWAY! Algiz Runic Amulet (chain 42cm / 16,5 inches) – recycled sterling silver.  Algiz is a powerful rune, symbol of protection.

Unquiet Things: You call your works “portable magicks”– I love the idea of  enchantments and charms that travel with you! Can you tell me more about this concept and how it ties in with your own practice and guides your artistry?

Mathyld: If you were to open my bag, you would find many gems and crystals, neatly tucked into little pouches, as well as other tiny items I consider like talismans – a sterling pendulum, a vial of water I collected in a cave, a black miniature Swiss Army knife my brother gifted me when we were teenagers, as well as a rose-wood knife Thomas Cowgill / King Dude offered me. I instantly feel better knowing that they are with me. I have always been like that.

I gather energy from within the things I can see and feel. The seasons, the elements, the cycle of the Moon… All of these things have a huge impact on our lives and I try my best (not to influence them) but to respect them as I know that they are the forces that feed me.

The sort of Magick that we practice – I do magick with my husband – is very simple. We mostly do protection magick, using candles, resin incenses, gems and organic herbs.

So, when I started crafting jewels, it was necessary for me that they had, not only a visual elegance, but to also infuse them with a meaning and properties.

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I’d love to hear about your most recent collections – the runic amulets and, separately, the handfasting cords? Are new collections inspired a by personal need for such things, or external influences/customer requests?

Some pieces were indeed inspired by bespoke jewels I have crafted. But they were never completely new pieces, rather evolutions. For example, I used to craft any Rune from the Elder Futhark alphabet and Medieval Runes of Healing and Magick. One day, someone asked for a Bind-Rune (a symbol constituted of the association of two or more Runes). I then considered adding this option to my collection.

That being said, in the vast majority, my creations do come from a personal need. Everything started with the urge to find Runic pieces that would be both elegant and discreet. I looked and couldn’t find any and so, decided to create my own. Many a time have I dreamt to visit Scandinavia and wander among the stones, discovering the petroglyphs. I was first fascinated by the runes, then came the symbols and this is how my Petrolgyph collection was born! After daydreaming about these little ships, suns, elks… I decided to bring them « to life » and within a week-end, they were born!

The handfasting cords were also the consequence of a personal need. For our handfasting ceremony in the woods, Jef and I originally planned to use a handspun yarn to which the spinner was going to incorporate some elements we sent them. These consisted of chosen gems and antique-looking charms I crafted and stamped with our favourite runes. However, said embellished yarn got lost in the Post…

At that time, far away from everything and everyone, I had an Epiphany and remembered a gorgeous yarn that my friend Drucilla spun for me many years ago. Off-white with some delicate splashes of very light celadon blue (“Something olde, something new, something borrowed and something blue”) … It just made sense! The night prior to the wedding, we embellished it with our gems and charms. We couldn’t have dreamt of a better cord!

I contacted Drucilla a few months later with this idea in mind. I wanted to offer this option to others. Handfasting echoes with nature, yet beautiful handcrafted cords made of natural materials are so hard to come by!

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Photo by Helena Aguilar Mayans

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Photo by Ellen Rogers

You have worked with some extraordinary creators over the years -photographer Ellen Rogers, and musician King Dude, for example. What was that like? How do these collaborations come about?

I am utterly lucky! (Maybe it’s all this Portable Magick I always carry).

I met Ellen through my best friend, Diane Schuh (an astounding artist herself) and was thrilled that it led to an opportunity for us all to collaborate together.

For King Dude, I once woke up in the middle of the night to find out that Thomas (KD) ordered a Nauthiz Vördr necklace from me. I was ecstatic as I had been following his work for years. When we met, he told me that the necklace already was one of his most precious possessions. I will always treasure that memory. I then asked him if he would be interested into a little collaboration and was blessed by his acceptance.

Finally, new pieces, coming soon, will be inspired by one of my favourite bands.

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Photo by Ampelopsis Photography

What’s your studio like? Do you prefer to create in a private quiet, or do you need some sort of stimuli (conversation, music, maybe a movie playing in the background?)

My bench is antique, made of dark, solid wood. I ​bought it second-hand from a jeweller who was retiring and I renovated it myself. The smell of turpentine oil and wax was intoxicating. My favourite hammer is also made of beautiful wood and belonged to my late father. I have that profound need to surround myself with beautiful, meaningful objects. The scent of resin incense or essential oils often fills the air and candles can be found burning from time to time. My studio is no different than any other room in the flat in the way that dried bouquets are scattered everywhere.

Concerning the soundscape, I definitely couldn’t create in a private quiet. However, it is difficult for me to focus on precision or dangerous tasks – like drilling, soldering, stamping… – while listening to something. I have a very intense reception to music, so most music I like tends to drive me a tad too over excited and sadly, if I try to follow a podcast my mind instantly wanders. So that leaves me with series or films that I have already seen and love. Strangely enough, series seems to work ideally. I usually don’t mind missing details because, if I truly enjoy them, I know that I will watch them again with my husband!

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Photo by Helena Aguila Mayans

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Photo by Helena Aguila Mayans

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Photo by Helena Aguila Mayans

Aryhadne

Photo by Aryhadne

You note that your adornments are inspired by “nature, magick, lost civilisations and times immemorial. mist and forests, ruins and megaliths”. I’d love to hear some more about these passions! Can you give us specific examples to give us a feel for these soul-stirring inspirations? Art, literature, film, places local to where you live?

Reading about folklores and legends is one of my fondest thrills. Ancient civilisations – Native American, Egyptian, Pre-Colombian, Norse, etc – fascinate me and in particular the similarities between symbols found across different cultures. I recently got the chance to re-visit my mother’s breath-taking homeland, the Eastern Townships (Québec, Canada) and New-England. I felt an instant, deep connection. New pieces will be inspired by the history of these lands. I strangely get the same feeling of connection when I visit the UK, especially the Lake District, where the nature is tremendously beautiful. Old English lore is also truly fascinating. Ellen Rogers recently introduced me to a text that already inspired a new piece.

I also tend to get very emotional in museums, whenever I come across a piece that really touches me – usually XIXth century art, Pre-Raphaelite and suitors, Arts & Crafts movement – I start shedding tears. Art has that powerful effect on me.

Film-wise, one of my heroes is Guy Maddin, especially his work in the 90s, very early 2000s. I have admired his work since I saw Careful back in 1996.​ His style, inspired by German Expressionism, his painting over the negatives technique, his surreal yet elegant decors made of paper mache… Everything in his work was responding to questions I never realised I was asking myself.

That said, I also love to travel and discover areas that are closer to me, museums, house museums, caves, ruins, old Castles, churches, parks, etc. Coming from Paris there are indeed many fascinating places to visit. But I try to favour the less known, quieter places.
I recently took my husband to the French Kings & Queens’ Necropolis, in the Basilica of Saint-Denis. The crypt there is painfully eerie. I love house museums, too. There is that little house and garden museum, not far from where I come from that I absolutely adore. XIXth century entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre lived there. All his life he studied nature, collecting insects, shells, plants, minerals… His house is filled with his collections, notebooks and sketches. A personal Natural History Museum nested inside a tiny Provençal house, complete with a quiet, sheltered garden. A true gem!

Not far from my husband’s hometown is a breath-taking cave. One walks through many different caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds and even an atoll… One of the most otherworldly experiences I’ve ever encountered.

Brittany is another area that never fails to mesmerise me; the megaliths are glorious, the ocean moody and the nature so very lush…

I am unsure how all of this translates into my work, but some details are rather evident: ​the importance to create everything from scratch, ​symbols from ancient ​civilisations, natural history & antiques collections ​(vials Talismans ​filled with gems and elements found in nature) etc.

I am unsure how all of this translates into my work, but some details are rather evident: ​the importance to create everything from scratch, ​symbols from ancient ​civilisations, natural history & antiques collections ​(vials Talismans ​filled with gems and elements found in nature) etc.

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More Cringes And Complaints

“What fresh fuckery is this?” by Félix Armand Heullant

I try to hold kindness and compassion in my heart for people and their foibles and foolishness, but you know, sometimes it’s all too much and I have to make a complaint. To whom? I don’t know. I guess it’s sort of an “open letter to the universe” type of thing. I used vent these snarks on Facebook, but I think more people read my facebook posts than my actual blog here and I have to keep up appearances that I’m, you know…a nice person. Which means that I must keep myself in check on the old book of face, and instead, funnel my grievances and gripes over here. I guess it has become a bit of a secret spot for such things. Let’s keep it between us, eh?

Ok, so two things currently driving me nuts…

I am the first person to say, “OH I HATE DRAMA,” but you’d best believe that, when there’s some internet drama going on, especially in the outer rings of my social circles, I am all over that spectacle. My gripe has to do with people who can’t express their drama eloquently, articulately, and with proper punctuation. Your run on sentences take me, as a reader trying to suss out the complexities of narrative and timelines, right out of your epic breakup saga with the person you only met a week ago! I’m over here trying to pay thoughtful attention to your crazed rants and your breathtaking public meltdown, but your tenuous grasp on how written language works is a very real hurdle. Now, I am not trying to be a grammar dictator; I mean, a few missing commas isn’t the end of the world or anything–especially in the heat of the moment when you’re pounding out your desperate diatribe about how everyone’s out to get you, or whatever–but you know you can go back and edit that shit, right? Your Facebook posts are editable, people. YES. They totally are. Don’t leave your misspelled ravings on your facebook wall to haunt me, in perpetuity, as people continue to comment on your mess (probably with unsolicited advice or to call you hateful names) and I continue to receive notifications about it.

Thing number two. The buyers on all these “sell your old stuff” sites like depop or poshmark or tradesy or eBay. They are really kind of awful, and that’s why I no longer sell on these sites. I just can’t deal with their nonsense. They’re either asking you to knock down the price on your $300 piece of jewelry, to like, $7, and I mean…that’s pretty nervy, you know? I would be too embarrassed to even think of asking something like that, but these folks are shameless. And if they’re not trying to get you to sell them something for pennies, they are asking you to hold an item, because maybe they don’t get paid until next week and they don’t want someone to snap it up from underneath them in the meantime. So, you take the listing down, you reach out to the person a week later to get them to pay…and they ignore you repeatedly, and you realize this jerk just wasted your time and potentially cost you some money. And because the community in which you sell the certain items that you have to sell is pretty small, sellers talk amongst themselves, you find out that it’s always the same scammy, scummy people who are trying to talk you down in price or get you to hold items for them and then disappear, or who come back later and say they can’t afford it because grandma died or whatever and it’s like goddamn, how many grandmas you got there? Because your story is starting to sound very familiar (and boring– get a new story, FFS.)
So, no more depop, etc., for me. Thanks a lot, cheapskates and ghosters!

Want some more complaints? I can help with that.
Previously: A List of Reasons For Which I Have Unfollowed People On Facebook 

Ex Libris Group Show At Recspec Gallery

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Tenebrous Kate, Judith 1933

I know I am a little late to the party on this one (how did I not know about this?) but Austin folks, you are in for a treat! Our friends at Recspec Gallery have curated a group show featuring new interpretations of the long-standing tradition of the bookplate. EX LIBRIS is a collection highlighting the work of 22 artists, and will be on display through June 9th, 2018.

Annie Alonzi, Read Books, Get High

Annie Alonzi, Read Books, Get High

Kimberly Kwan, Texas Wildflowers

Kimberly Kwan, Texas Wildflowers

Abi Daniel, Pythonissam

Abi Daniel, Pythonissam

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