Hello, friends! The Art of Fantasy: A Visual Sourcebook Of All That Is Unreal has been out in the world for a little over two months now! Let’s mark the occasion with a giveaway!

Let’s also gaze upon these glorious glamour shots that Alyssa Thorne created in celebration of the book! A fantastical floral woodland scene wherein one may stumble upon a strange tome, brimming with magical, wondrous art and imagery, offered up in the arms of a bewitched tree.

Here is a lovely page, frilled by a fairy wing breeze, featuring the art of dear Brett Manning, whose captivating creatures fiddle, strum, and tootle through the twilight!

If you would like to win a signed copy of The Art of Fantasy, please follow this link and do what it says to do!

One winner –US ONLY– will be chosen and contacted on Friday, October 27

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Were you a youngster who was obsessed with the Golden Girls and the Guardians of the Gemstones toys, and did you long for one of those National Geographic rock tumbler kits? As an adult, did you fall wistfully in love with the colorful whimsy of Steven Universe and his staunch protectors, Pearl, Garnet, and Amethyst?

When visiting a natural history museum, do you make a beeline for the glittering treasures of the gem and mineral rooms? Is Splendor your favorite board game because you love hoarding the jewels like a greedy dragon, and truly you don’t give a fart about the mechanics and strategies of gem mines, trade routes, or gaining wealthy patrons? Is that too niche a reference? Are you still with me?

Smithsonian’s mineral and gem collection at the National Museum of Natural History. My photo.


Steven Universe, created by Rebecca Sugar

Have you ever gazed into a stone and wondered as to the stories it stores? The powers it possesses? In her fascinating book, Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones, Hettie Judah explores the hidden history of these lithic marvels, from their role in ancient cultures to their modern-day influences and uses.

An absolute feast for the senses, the book itself feels very much like a collector’s treasure hoarded wunderkammer of mythic and mysterious curiosities. It is split into six sections (Stones and Power, Sacred Stones, Stones and Stories, Stone Technology, Shapes in Stone, and Living Stones), and each section reveals a chapter devoted to unearthing an individual stone with imaginative, artful descriptions and a pretty wild, or wildly fascinating story connected to each stone.

It’s a stunningly presented and designed book, with color-coordinated pictures and beautiful illustrations by artist Nicky Pasterfield for each stone, evoking the charming pictures in old geological and scientific publications.


Referencing science, history, chemistry, physics, literature, philosophy, and pop culture, Lapidarium is an extravagantly storied chamber of stones, the next best thing to having a secret sparkling cache of curios at your fingertips. Writing with humor, compassion, and wit (I cackled out loud more times than I can count), Hettie leads us sure-footedly on our craggy journey down a glittering path of 60 mineralogical eccentricities, ancient souvenirs of deep-Earth drama, and travelogues that cross the strata of time as well as space.

Amongst these essays exploring how human culture has formed stone and, conversely, the roles stone has played in forming human culture, one will read of the Meat-Shaped Stone of Taiwan, a piece of banded jasper that resembles a tender piece of mouth-watering braised pork belly, There is the soap opera melodrama of Pele’s Hair, golden strands of volcanic glass, spun into hair-fine threads by volcanic gasses and blown across the landscape. And not to mention the hysterical metaphysical WTFery of angel-appointed wife swaps in the chapter of alchemist and astrologer John Dee’s smoky quartz cairngorm, as well as, the mystical modern-day TikTik moldavite craze vibing amongst those of the witchy-psychic persuasion. I cannot even tell you how many times I paused in my reading to open a new Google tab and research, thinking, “holy fake crystal skulls/malachite caskets/pyroclastic flow rap lyrics! I gotta learn more about this!”

From the elegance of emerald moons to humble fossilized feces, from violent lunar origin stories to simple earthen pigments, Lapidarium is richly abundant with interesting facts, poignant stories, and weird anecdotes about stones. And though I read this book straight through from start to finish, this is absolutely the sort of bibliomantic tome that one might flip through at random, choosing a chapter based on mood or whim: learn a weird rock fact, let it lodge in your brain like a wayward pebble in your shoe, and allow it to guide your energies for the day.



After finishing Lapidarium, I realized I could have happily spent loads more time in the terrestrial spectacle of those enigmatic realms, but once you get to the acknowledgments, that’s pretty much the end of the line (I read them all, anyway!) Not yet ready to leave this post-book mental space now lit crystalline and glittering with the fruits of the earth thanks to Hettie’s heady prose, I thought I might ask the author and art historian a few questions–which she kindly answered for me, below.

Unquiet Things: I’m curious whether you started this book with a favorite gem or stone in mind, but after your research and writing, you perhaps had some markedly different favorites.

Hettie Judah: I guess when I started, I was thinking more in terms of stone objects and artefacts – I’d probably have told you my favourite stone was a black opal from Lightning Ridge in Australia. In working on the book I became more interested in the way stone forms not only landscape, but the cultural expression that has played out within that landscape – whether that’s the standing stones of Avebury and Stonehenge, most of which are huge sarsens that used to lie around that landscape like flocks of sheep, or the marble of Paros and Naxos that established a specific aesthetic for temple building in Ancient Greece. When people ask me my favourite stone I usually tell them it’s the limestone under the Yorkshire Dales, a beloved piece of the British landscape – beauty of a different order to that of a ruby or moonstone.

Unquiet Things: In the vein of your research, what was one of the most surprising or strangest things you learned while digging into mineralogical science, history, legend, and lore?

Hettie Judah: The quest for the mythic philosopher’s stone crops up in a few different stories in the book. Alchemists got up to some pungent activities – Paracelsus suggested you could grow a human being by ‘placing’ semen in a flask, then burying the flask in a pile of warm horse manure and, after a set period, feeding it with a specially treated form of blood. The alchemical language of proto-chemistry was very much one of sexual intercourse – the male element reacting with the female element to produce a new substance – some of the language we use today still derives from these ideas. We talk about finding a crystal in a rock ‘matrix’ – as though the plain old ‘mother rock’ had given birth to a gemstone.

I love the legend of the Indian Valley of the Diamonds, said to be an inaccessible crevasse, the floor of which glittered with gemstones. Diamonds are lipophilic – they stick to fat. So the legend went that gem hunters would lob pieces of fatty raw lamb into the valley, and eagles would swoop down to pick them up and fly back up to their nests with gems embedded in the fat. The eagles would eat the meat, leaving the diamonds, which the gem hunters later retrieved. The legend was so well established that the symbol for India on European maps used to be the eagles carrying diamonds up from the valley.

Unquiet Things: There were many times I found myself giggling at a playful turn of phrase or peculiar fact while reading; there’s nothing I appreciate so much as learning and laughing at the same time. Looking back, is there a particularly weird or wacky excerpt, sentence, or even an entire paragraph that you find yourself thinking, “Well, I never imagined that was a thing I’d write about rocks!”

Hettie Judah: The early 19th-century geologist and theologian William Buckland was a magnificent source of wild stories – he was zoophagous, and apparently attempted to eat his way through the animal kingdom (and once authoritatively identified bat dung by taste). He was also fascinated by coprolites – petrified poo – and commissioned a decorative pietra dura tabletop to be made from his collection of fossilised fish turds.

I was determined to get kryptonite into the book – how can you have a collection of stories about stones without one on kryptonite? My editor was adamant that I couldn’t include it because it wasn’t ‘real’. So finding a great story about moldavite – basically ‘real’ kryptonite – was such a gift. I really enjoyed writing that one.

Overall, in every facet, Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones is a brilliant must-have for anyone who has ever been fascinated by stones, either as a child or as an adult today. And as it happens…I have an extra copy of Lapidarium and am happy to share it with one reader of this blog post.

Not that I believe you need any convincing at this point, but …

💎 If you love stones, then this book is a treasure trove of information about all sorts of stones, from their scientific properties to their cultural significance.
💎 If you’re interested in history, then you’ll love learning about the role that stones have played in human cultures throughout the ages.
💎If you’re looking for a book that will transport you to far-off lands,  Hettie’s stories will take you to the mountains of Appalachia, the beaches of South Wales, the caves of Mexico,  Russian palaces, and Brazilian churches–and everywhere between and beyond.
💎 If you’re longing for writing that will make you think, you will enjoy pondering the author’s explorations of the philosophical and spiritual dimensions of stones, and our relationship to the natural world.

If you would like to win this copy of Lapidarium, please leave a comment in today’s blog post with your favorite stone or “rock fact,” and I will choose one winner from amongst those comments on Friday, August 18th. Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is limited to US readers only.



If you would like to support this blog, consider buying the author a coffee?




First off, it never gets old, seeing a book that you’ve written on a shelf–whether your own shelf or someone else’s or in a bookshop or the library or wherever! I haven’t been to a bookstore since 2019, so seeing The Art of Darkness on my own shelf will have to do for now I guess. (Ok I just remembered that’s not true. I went to *one* but they didn’t have my book.)

But secondly …it’s time for a giveaway! Wouldst thou like to win a signed copy of The Art of Darkness: A Treasury of the Morbid, Melancholic and Macabre AS WELLS AS a print of the phenomenal cover art, Antiquity V, by Alex Eckman-Lawn?

See my Instagram post for details!



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Happy birthday, The Art of the Occult! You, my first published book, are now officially a year old!

Is there anything horror-related within its pages? Well…not really. Not in a spooky, Halloween season way. We could argue that esoteric knowledge and arcane philosophies form the backbone of quite a few horror stories. Ceremonial magics gone wrong, demons conjured and gone amuck. That sort of thing. And of course witches and witchcraft–you can’t have 31 Days of Halloween with at least one witchy film, right? I mean, as far as I am concerned, you can barely have a story of any sort without a witchy character moving things along.

Here’s what I write in the Potions, Persecution, and Power portion of The Art of the Occult, wherein I begin by quoting another favorite and famous witch that you may know….

‘Witches have always walked among us, populating societies and storyscapes across the globe for thousands of years,’ writes Pam Grossman in Waking the Witch, a reflection on women, magic, and power. And it’s true – can you conjure forth a single folk or fairytale, myth or legend worth its salt circle that doesn’t contain a witch or some witchy archetype stirring up trouble and sowing supersensory seeds of discontent? The witch provides the element that surprises, startles, and scares, provides struggle and strife, a snag in the story, a shift in the narrative.

This fascination for witches has long gripped artists, both of the classical and contemporary ilk– the witchly archetype being an evocative canvas onto which some of the greatest artists have projected their most intensely bizarre imaginings. Many continue to draw inspiration from the dark and cruel origins of the classic image of the witch, and the tragic history of the witch continues to instill fear and provoke anxieties in contemporary creators today.

Here’s a handful of my favorite witches on canvas, inspiring and powerful artworks steeped in magic and superstition. What are some of your favorite visual representations of the witch?

And sneaking this in here, which means you had to read this whole post in order get to this point: wouldst thou like to win a delicious, signed copy of The Art of the Occult in celebration of its one-year anniversary inhabiting our earthly realm? If so, leave a comment! Tell me about your favorite witches! Artful, literary, cinematic or otherwise. A winner will be chosen and contact one week from today!

The Witch Barry Windsor-Smith, 1978.


Circe Invidiosa John William Waterhouse 1892


Les Sorcières Leonor Fini, 1959


La Sorcière, Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, 1897


Morgan-le-Fay Frederick Sandys, 1863


Witches Sabbath Rik Garrett, from Earth Magic (Fulgur Press, 2014).


From Songs For The Witch Woman, Marjorie Cameron, undated



29 Dec


Today I am over-the-moon thrilled to cozy up with the extraordinary Lisa Marie Basile for a magical, mystical year-end giveaway! If you are interested in ritual, the occult, history, writing magic, poetry, journaling, or magical symbols, this little book bundle is for you! 

One winner will take home THE ART OF THE OCCULT & THE MAGICAL WRITING GRIMOIRE, courtesy of Quarto Knows. This giveaway is limited to North America at this time. 

Peep over at @lisamariebasile’s Instagram account this afternoon for giveaway details! 

(In the meantime, if you’d like to read my interview with Lisa Marie Basile, author of The Magical Writing Grimoire, click here!)



A few years ago, at the request of Sam over at Haute Macabre, I wrote up a little primer/course guide for folks who were looking to dip their toes (or dive straight into) the mythical, mystical, magical catalog of fragrance oils offered by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

Shortly afterward, I came on board as a staff writer and have written all kinds of stuff about all kinds of things for the Haute Macabre blog since that time, but this week they are again sharing that BPAL guide for curious newcomers to the brand–along with a giveaway of some of my favorite scents that I give mention to!

Hop on over to Haute Macabre for a chance to enter and win each of the above scents!

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Peeking in post-storm to share some reviews for the Solstice Scents Later Summer collection that I wrote up for Haute Macabre, as well as the opportunity to win some of these scents for yourselves!

Do you want to smell of an ice cream sundae enjoyed in the murky seaside town of Innsmouth? Or perhaps strange desert visions? Or nostalgic Spring Break make-outs with your high school boyfriend? Leave a comment over at Haute Macabre and tell us which scent you’d most like to try!

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FG Bleeding heartsAs a young girl it was my dearest wish and highest aspiration to swan about in glittering piles of jewels; to own an actual, honest-to-god treasure chest, full of glowing pearls and shimmering gems and all manner of rare, sparkling baubles.

As an adult, not much has changed and I am well on my way to this goal (I’ll get that treasure chest for it all one day, mark my words!) but I have found that in my vast array of frips and finery, I really only wear a handful of things from three or four of my favorite jewelers.

Flannery Grace Good is one of these artists.  I originally learned of her work a few years ago through another beloved artist, Meredith Yayanos, who praised Flannery as “…a phenomenal maker of bespoke, commissioned pieces,” and I have been utterly enthralled with her creations and her unique, beautiful vision ever since. I vowed right then and there that I must get to know this brilliant human, and that one day I would adorn myself with her jewels.




I learned immediately that to collaborate on a custom piece of jewelry with Flannery is to trust your heart and guts and sketchy ideas with a fabulous human who is not only a consummate professional, but a genuinely empathetic, compassionate and infinitely creative soul who has the ability to craft tangible, magical works of art from your most nebulous, ridiculous dreams.

This custom ring possesses an eerie stone, a picasso jasper, that reminds me of an autumn forest at dusk. The mysterious moth lady is a fever dream of Flannery’s own creation, based on a bit of preliminary correspondence we had.

moon phase front moon phase back

My second custom piece that Flannery dreamed up for me was a stunning moonstone necklace with lunar phases engraved on the back.

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This is a custom night vision “monocle” designed to help one see in the dark, with translucent white banded agate and topped with an electric yellow sapphire. I can’t quite recall how the idea came about, I think I was beating myself up for not seeing something or something for what it was, and the idea of a talisman for which to see in the dark was born! We chose the stone because it looked like an eerie, milky blind eye; more specifically it reminded me of that iconic image of the creepy blind woman in Fulci’s The Beyond. Etched on the back is “et vident in tenebris” my best approximation of “to see in the dark”, in Latin. (If I got it wrong, don’t tell me.)


If you can dream it, Flannery can coax it to life in her own, inimitable style. (Which, if pressed, I would describe as one part mystery, one part whimsy and all heart.) And that’s not just hyperbole–if there is any artist I know who pours her entire heart and soul into each and every one of her creations, it is without a doubt, Flannery Grace Good.

Born on the day of the dead at the instant of moonrise, Flannery Grace Good has integrated these facets of her persona into the narrative of her creations; in her hands, these eerie instances take fantastical form as one-of-a-kind rings, earrings and pendants, cuffs and bangles, incorporating astonishingly gorgeous hand-picked gems in every hue of the spectrum. Often these works are imbued with extra bits of symbolism and magic, inscribed with emblems and enchantments, sacred scribbles and divine doodles.

Having entered her 20th year of making jewelry just this summer, Flannery shared with me a bit of her history and experiences with the craft. After some initial lessons and silver experiments with her beloved uncle Bubba in New Mexico, she attended college in Colorado to continue her education and training, where she graduated in three years and was valedictorian.

To finance a solo show she is currently working on and which is scheduled for 2017 (“I went looking for you”, dealing with themes of mental illness and addiction, loss and grief) Flannery opened up an Etsy shop this past autumn where you will find all manner of magical adornments, all of them ready to ship!

spirit orb

Pictured above is one of the Spirit orb necklaces; this particular creation is is handmade from Argentium silver and set with a AAA quality labradorite. On the back of each setting is a hand carved symbol found in the Tigris-Euphrates area. It is an ancient symbol that is believed to be a map of the known cosmos at the time. It was drawn in Babylon either around 2300 BCE or 700 BCE.

And if you can believe it, we are giving away this breathtakingly gorgeous necklace! For the opportunity to win, please comment on this post and share a bit of magic with us. Whether it is a story, a spell, a bit of wisdom, a recipe, a poem–whatever kind of enchantment you want to pass on ! You don’t necessarily have to like/share either of us on Instagram, but why wouldn’t you? I mean, we are pretty interesting people! But for the purposes of this giveaway, leave a comment below and a winner will be chosen at random, one week from today, on Friday December 23rd.

In the meantime, find Flannery Grace Good: Etsy // Facebook // Instagram // Website


Cover of “A Blessed Unrest” by Ellen J. Rogers

Greetings, kind spirits. Pull up a seat. If you care to stick around for a spell, below you will read my humble ode to an incredible human being, an amazingly dazzling soul. You may know her too, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t also think she is pretty fucking amazing as well. And if you read a bit further still, you’ll be rewarded for your patience with a rare and remarkable opportunity … (hint: it’s a giveaway contest, the title of this post probably spoiled the surprise.) 

Not to be melodramatic or anything, but in 2010 I experienced a grand renaissance of the soul. For years I had been half-living in a fog of repression and resentment and misery due to circumstances I felt trapped in, a poison I willingly drank. It would be another year before I would realize “hey, I don’t have to be here anymore, and I just can’t even with this poison”, but in that dim, half-lit time between unhappiness and sudden joy I discovered Coilhouse, and the glorious humans who helmed the endeavor.

A “love letter to alternative culture”, the Coilhouse blog and magazine was stunning, subversive and absolutely unparalleled. Their writing on artists and musicians and various visionaries led me down so many marvelous midnight rabbit holes, of course leading to other wondrous discoveries–because that’s what happens when you are informed, infected, and inspired, as they heartily encouraged in their logo– while also emboldening me to begin looking more closely at my own obsessions and writing about them, myself.

Though my tenure there was brief, I was both privileged to to write alongside these extraordinary people for a time, and honored to have the opportunity to forge relationships with and begin getting to know the kindred spirits whose nurturing, support, and gentle encouragement to revel in and celebrate my own weirdness was a boon for which I am still thankful today.


Meredith Yayanos was one of those kind, clever, awe-inspiring women. Meredith’s writing was insightful and irreverent and beautiful, always, but it also made me slow down and think. I felt more mindful afterwards. She made a reader out of me who began more thoughtfully seeking meaningful context rather than pithy, shareable highlights. And most importantly, knowing this woman, this writer, musician, “monstrous feminist”, and “foul-mouthed harpy”, made me feel okay about my quirks and oddities and my habit of “making things weird”.

I’ve always felt, well, weird about how I might open my mouth and say a bit more than I intended to–and I don’t mean negatively, I am really not that kind of person–but more like… to friends and folks I really admire. Because I almost just couldn’t help myself. I used to long to tell people “I adore you and think you’re amazing, I truly do!” but you know, I felt that might be kind of weird to say to someone I’ve only been talking with for two days. And you know what, fuck that. Life is short, and sometimes brutal and I think people need to know when you’ve been impacted positively or touched by something they have said, or created, or maybe you just think they are an exceptionally luminous human being. I think it feels nice to hear these things about one’s self, and it certainly feels good to say them to someone else. I don’t try to stifle that instinct anymore, and I think, in part, that may be why I felt like things begin to change so dramatically for me in 2011.

Wax cylinder player photograph by Audrey Penven.

In 2012 Meredith released a kickstarter drive to fund her ghostly, atmospheric chamber music project, The Parlour Trick, an endeavor which she had originally began in 2006 after being compelled to “explore and unpack some of the creepier, more dysfunctional aspects of Victoriana.”  Along with fellow composer and multi-instrumentalist, Dan Cantrell, they conjured forth The Parlour Trick’s first full-length release, A Blessed Unrest, as a creative response to outmoded perceptions of female hysteria.  A “conjuring”, though. Hm. I suppose that’s an inaccurate take on this album. Perhaps it was less a summoning of spirits into existence and more a driving out of the demonic stuff. Meredith herself notes that the undertaking was, ultimately, “a failed exorcism.”

(On a personal note: when I heard a rough, unmixed version of what was to be the album’s second track, “Half-Sick of Shadows” that Meredith had posted on her tumblr, back in 2010, I was floored. I had never before heard music like this, and I felt it gave voice to all the haunted chambers of my heart. I recall telling her–and this took some bravery on my part at that time–that it sounded like ” the melancholy dead were singing to me but they haven’t got words anymore; they don’t know what they want. It’s beautiful and it makes me want to weep”.)

To sum up: the kickstarter was fully funded, an album of unearthly beauty was produced and available in both digital and vinyl mediums, and the vinyl completely sold out.

But have no fear, folks who have visited our home and wondered at the haunting sounds issuing forth from our gramophone, only to be saddened upon hearing the record is no longer available! Meredith is doing an independent repressing of this classically-tinged dark ambient record and pre-orders are still available! For now, that is. I would suggest you hie thee to the bandcamp page linked above, so that you do not miss out on her spectral masterpiece this time around.

Or…if you like, I have a proposal for you. Are you the musical sort, yourself? Do you tinker with madness and melodies? Do you dare summon forth some spooky sounds to share with us? Also…do you like to win things? Because if you dig all of these ideas, we have an enticing offer for you.

A competition, if you will! If you dare. Whosoever records the most chilling audio will win the “Theremina and back again Bindlestaff Hella Limited edition bundle”, worth $333. This includes the autographed album repress and “a meticulously assorted bundle of charms, artifacts, merch, and media culled from Mer’s vast personal Stash of Strangeness.” There is a more detailed listing of these glorious goodies on the bandcamp page, but dang– that’s a lot of text, so go to the site and check it out. 

…and what’s more, the chosen winner’s audio will be included in a future Parlour Trick track!

Send dropbox links of your creepy wavs and mp3s to [email protected]; you have until the Winter Solstice (December 21st), 2016 to sufficiently spook us with your deliciously disquieting sounds, at which point we will announce a winner sometime shortly thereafter.

Ah…but what’s that? Don’t steal away just yet, friends…can’t you feel it? A plucking at the sleeve,  an eerie murmuration on the wind. A shudder along the spine, evoking a frisson of fear, a shiver of anticipation:

Something is coming, it whispers. Keep the channel open…




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unnamed (3)Remember Ello? The social media site that, back in 2014, was predicted to be the next Facebook type thing? Or maybe people were hoping it would be, as it seemed to be a virtual utopia, built on promises of  “no ads, no data-mining, no algorithms that make decisions about what you should see, no turning users into products” — and perhaps the hype and the hope were helped along due to the fact that it came into being just as people were falling prey to Facebook’s ridiculous “real name” policy business.

Well, I remember it. If not only for the reason that if there’s somewhere on the internet to have an account and post your crap there, I want in on it. Unfortunately, it never really took off (at least as far as I can tell), and everyone still on Facebook. I think it’s a little bit like those those folks who are forever threatening that if this, that, or the other thing happens or doesn’t happen, they’re moving to Canada! No you’re not. You’re still on Facebook, just like the rest of us.

However, I do have a summer home on Ello, and I do peek in quite frequently because there are some amazing creators to be found over there. As a matter of fact, friends on facebook may recall that in March of this past year, I posted over on facebook of one such find: Rachel Dreimiller of YourGothicGranny.

I was immediately taken with Rachel’s work–embroidery is something I’d always wanted to “get around to”–and her spooky and subversive stitches totally captivated me. Her creations, a mixture of memento mori, sweet flowers + salty language, and general creepy weirdness, is an an aesthetic that is near and dear to my heart; it’s almost like she picked through the landscape of my ridiculous brain and stitched up what she found!

Actually, here is a great example of this: a dear friend of mine had, unbeknownst to me, commissioned a piece of Rachel’s work for my birthday this past year! If this isn’t totally me, I just don’t know what is…

“Get to the point, you long-winded weirdo!” is no doubt what you’re saying at this point. I get it. I know I ramble. It takes me a very long time to tell a story, and sometimes I never even get to the point. Thanks for putting up with me.

Below is an a bit of a Q&A with Rachel, who has not only graciously endured my intrusive questions but who has also agreed to do a giveaway at Unquiet Things for one of her pieces of embroidery! If Rachel were to pick through your brains, what story would her needle and thread tell from what she found? Leave a comment if you wish and let us know, and for giveaway details, check out Rachel’s Instagram!

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I initially saw your work via Ello, if I recall. Sometimes I feel like you and I might be the only two people over there, but I’m sticking it out. How do you feel the site has been for exposure and sales? Also, do you find interesting artists and inspiration over there, in the same way, I suppose, that I found you?

I really enjoy Ello. The creators are very active and super supportive of the artist community. They’re always adding more categories for artists to share their work, which makes it easier to discover new artists and pieces. I have been featured a few times which has totally helped with getting views and also some sales. Because they are so supportive I find a lot of artists, especially photographers that I had not come across on instagram.

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I’ve read that after a few years of experimenting with the medium, you fell into the style in which you create and design now. How would you, personally, describe your style?

I would have to say that my style is still developing, to be honest. Or that I am still working on it. I have a more set style for drawing and sketching, which I’ve been doing for years, but it never made the transition into the embroideries I’ve been making. I’m very inspired by line-work and pen and ink illustrations and engravings, like John Mortensen and Fritz Eichenberg. I would like to experiment more with working some of that style into my embroidered pieces. I love some of my more recent spooky ones that have very thin line work, I would like to stick to that style while still exploring more macabre subjects.


What do you get up to when you’re not creating spoopy stitches?

I really like going for bike rides or walking the trails in the woods by my house, especially with my pup. Recently I have been focused on organizing and tidying up my work space. My husband and I bought a house a few months ago, and now I have my very own room for arts stuffs. It’s so exciting, but time consuming. I’m looking forward to the cooler months and boarding myself up and getting a lot of work done while watching all the classic Spoopy movies.

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What are your current inspirations and how do they work their way into a new piece of embroidery? What imagery would you like to stitch that you have not so far?

I have been going through all the spooky movies and shows on Netflix to get inspired for Halloween season. I’ve watched Stranger Things twice now and keep scrolling through the B Horror flicks while I draw up ideas. Currently I’m working on the Inktober challenge to try and force myself into creating new ideas. Even doodling out simple sketches help, but it’s hard for me to make time to do them, so Inktober is really helping me set aside a little time every day to practice and draw. I would like to do larger pieces and try to get out of the confines of the embroidery hoop. I’m planning on doing some larger wall hangings over the winter months.

What’s your creative space like? What is your ideal environment like for this sort of craft? What sort of music or background noise do you like to have? Candles, incense? Night/day? 

I usually love to have movies on, the kind that you have seen a million times and can play in your head, or Buffy. I have a part time job so when I get home and if I have the energy to work on projects I will usually put on a movie and sit and work for a while. My actual work space is a bit cluttered while I ready myself and my work for a spooky market at Gypsy Warrior a few towns over.

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I understand that you live in NJ–I lived up there for 6-7 years! I moved back to FL in 2010. The autumns and springs are gorgeous there; I’m wondering if seasonal motifs end up amongst your stitches?

I love springs and autumns and the noticeable changes in the seasons. I wouldn’t say that my work reflects them though, but my mood and willpower totally does. I am much lazier in the summer months. I find it harder to focus and accomplish things, since all I want to do is swim, ride bikes and lay around. This will be my first winter out of the city (I lived in and around Brooklyn for a few years) and I am very excited for the peace and quiet that’s to come.

I know you also do commissions, as I was the recipient of something beautiful that you created for me at someone’s request. What’s the weirdest, most interesting thing that anyone’s asked you to create?

A family friend just asked me to try cross stitching for a gift for her mother. Something like, “I wish I was a guppy, because guppies eat their young.” That’s pretty strange, I’d have to say, but she had a smile while she was explaining it to me, so it seems like a fun thing to do. Besides that, the Nine Inch Nails lyrics I did, “God is dead and no one cares” was pretty great, but I got a few messages and emails from followers that did not care for that message. It seems it’s best for them to figure out what I am about sooner than later though.

Thanks so much, Rachel, for sharing with us and for the giveaway!
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