The Art of Darkness

Gossamer: Instant Atmosphere

September 14th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Purple Ivy GossamerHere’s a lightning-fast way to add tons of opulence, decadence, and many other words that end with -ence to a room without spending a lot of time or losing your damage deposit.

Gossamer is a lightweight, sheer, gauzy fabric that can be purchased cheaply in large bolts. It drapes and swags beautifully, and makes wonderful flowing bows. You can layer it for deeper, more opaque colors, or use a single layer for a sheer, wispy look.

Wrap it around columns, chairs, and banisters. Swag it from an inexpensive curtain rod for an interesting window treatment. Hot-glue it over plain white lampshades. It can also be hung from walls or ceilings: Britta transforms her entire house into a castle every Halloween with the help of gossamer.

Look for it at fabric stores, party supply stores and prom suppliers. You should be able to find deals after prom season and after Halloween.

Posted in Bad Things, Doom It Yourself | No Comments »


September 13th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Sock ZombieThis Etsy shop has sock zombies, sock unicorns with unexplained rashes, and much other silliness. Plus I like their ad copy:

You know what you need? A zombie made out of socks. It’s better than an ACTUAL zombie in so many ways! I mean, can you put an actual zombie in your backpack? Sure, but just that one time.

You could put your own spin on these by making a sock monkey or similar out of black lacy socks, but the shop’s offerings are inexpensive and great for those who aren’t crafty (or at least aren’t motivated).


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Coffin Quilts

September 12th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Coffin QuiltY’know what’s irritating? Trying to find a photograph to accompany a blog post and discovering that there’s a book by the same title that everybody and their cousin has written about. I slogged through 37 pages of “the Hatfields and the McCoys sure didn’t like each other” to find this photo for you. I hope you’re happy.


Coffin Quilts date from the days when people were rubbing up against death all the time, so it was treated a little more matter-of-factly than it is today. As with most other types of patchwork quilt, they appear to have originally been an American invention.

They were usually done in somber shades of grey or brown and consisted of a plain center (the graveyard) surrounded by either pieced blocks (star, nine-patch, etc.) or by appliques such as a picket fence. These quilts were sometimes also embroidered with vines, flowers, and other funerary symbols.

Now for the fun part: Appliques in the shape of toe-pincher coffins, each embroidered with the name of a family member, were loosely basted on the quilt’s border. When a relative died, the coffin bearing his/her name was removed and sewed permanently in the center or graveyard area, along with the date of death.

Yeah, that’d be a hoot, wouldn’t it? Going to visit Aunt Agatha and seeing the little coffin with your name on it, just waiting….

Anyway, if you like to quilt (or would like to learn–it’s truly less daunting than you think), this would be a fun project. It’s nicely morbid, but can claim real historical roots if anyone complains. Depending upon your skill level you can choose a simple block (stick with squares or triangles that make up squares, like Churn Dash) or can go nuts with the appliques and make your own cemetery, complete with wrought-iron gates.

There’s another couple of photos of the quilt above on Flickr.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

Mikel Robinson Art

September 11th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Mikel Robinson ArtI ran across this artist’s blog, which led to his site, and I am quite taken with his gorgeous, evocative artwork. His work involves vintage photos, amazing installations of light, and quite a surprising number of butterfly wings. It’s all got that mildly creepy, “I can’t put my finger on it, but this is somehow wrong” vibe that you get from things like Victorian death photographs. I particularly like his “Secret South” series, all stark and atmospheric.

Beautiful stuff! Go look!

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If Gorey Had Done “Star Trek”

September 10th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Lt. UhuraShaenon Garrity read an article about Edward Gorey’s fondness for Star Trek, and has done a most wonderful interpretation of “The Trouble With Tribbles” in the Gorey style.

She has so far not followed up on her implied threat to do a Gorey interpretation of “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.” :::whew:::

Link (via SF Signal)

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Creepy Wallpaper and Fabric Patterns

September 7th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Iguana Print WallpaperTimorous Beasties offers a variety of surreal wallpaper, fabric, and accessories with patterns both subtle and provocative. Here’s a quote from their “About” page:

By depicting uncompromisingly contemporary images on traditional textiles and wallpapers, Timorous Beasties has defined an iconoclastic style of design once described as “William Morris on acid.” Typical is the Glasgow Toile. At first glance it looks like one of the magnificent vistas portrayed on early 1800s Toile de Jouy wallpaper, but closer inspection reveals a nightmarish vision of contemporary Glasgow where crack addicts, prostitutes and the homeless are depicted against a forbidding backdrop of dilapidated tower blocks and scavenging seagulls.

The firm is located in the U.K., but they also have a supplier in New York: Holland and Sherry

(via Halloween Hotlist)

Posted in Bad Things, Paint It Black | No Comments »

Gothic Tale eBooks

September 6th, 2007 by Cobwebs

The World Public Library Blackmask Online is one of the most complete single online collections of classic literature. It covers everything from biography to science fiction, but it also has over 900 titles in its Gothic collection. Stories of the strange, the terrible, the macabre and the horrible by Bram Stoker, Margaret Oliphant, Algernon Blackwood and many more, all free!


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Rats as Pets

September 5th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Rat Dressed as a VampireThe Presurfer posted some photos of yawning rats from Rats Are People Too, leading me to reminisce about my pet rats. I had several of them growing up,* and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Quite aside from the obvious “Oooh, spooky pet” vibe that might appeal to some of my gentle readers, rats are just wonderful pets, period. They’re quiet, extremely clean, inquisitive, smart (you can teach them to do tricks!), gentle, and affectionate. That last is particularly nice: Unlike most other rodents, they seem to genuinely like people.

They’re a good pet for renters who aren’t allowed to have dogs or cats, too, since they’re small and live in a cage. Keep their litter clean and they’re virtually odorless. Also they don’t bark or claw the furniture. Plus they like to ride around on your shoulder, which is an excellent way to answer the door.

Hm. I think I just talked myself into getting another pet rat.

(Bonus: Lore Sj√∂berg’s Pet Rodent Rating is an amusing summary of what makes rats great pets.)

*I was growing up; the rats were mostly full-grown. Um. Just in case you were confused.

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Map of Strange

September 4th, 2007 by Cobwebs

The Map Of Strange Website lists anomalies, weird sights, and oddities from Google Maps and Google Earth. From chalk figures in England to a whale skeleton in a parking lot, the Map appears to be a wonderful place to waste a few hours.

Link (via The Presurfer)

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Gloomy Brushes for Photoshop

September 3rd, 2007 by Cobwebs

Photoshop BrushBrushes are fun tools that allow you to add images and patterns to graphics in Adobe Photoshop or Jasc Paintshop. There are many free brush sets available offer everything from spikes and chains to animals skulls. Check out some of these beauties for inspiration. (And google “Photoshop Brush Tutorial” if you aren’t sure how to use them.) Pretty!

Damned in Black
In Obscuro
Strange Angels

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